Capitol, which had already released ten Beach Boys
albums in three years, was bugging the group for product that it could
release in time for the 1965 Christmas season. To buy time while Brian Wilson began conceiving the Pet Sounds
masterpiece, the group issued a set of covers, mostly of the '50s rock
and R&B they had listened to as schoolboys.
Packaged as if it had
been recorded at an actual party, it was in fact recorded in the studio,
with friends and romantic partners adding sounds and vocals to create
an informal atmosphere. With the exception of a bass guitar, all the
instruments were acoustic; the acoustic guitar-and-bongo arrangements,
in fact, give this a hootenanny campfire feel. In recent years, this
album has gone up a few notches in critical esteem, praised for its
loose, casual feel and insight into the group's influences.
Realistically, though, its present-day appeal lies mostly with dedicated
fans of the group, as fun and engaging as it is.
Others will find the
material shopworn in places, and the presentation too corny. It does
have the massive hit "Barbara Ann," which actually features Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean)
on much of the lead vocals; other highlights include "Mountain of
Love," an unexpected version of "The Times They Are a-Changin'," and three Beatles covers.
Personnel: Al Jardine (guitar, vocals) Bruce Johnstone (bass, keyboards, vocals) Mike Love (vocals) Carl Wilson (guitar, vocals) Dennis Wilson (drums)
Tracklist: 01. Hully Gully (Goldsmith/Smith) 2.22 02. I Should Have Known Better (Lennon/McCartney) 2.23 03. Tell My Why (Lennon/McCartney) 1.39 04. Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow (Frazier/J.Harris/S.Harris/White/T.Wilson/Wilson Jr.) 2.12 05. Mountain Of Love (Dorman) 2.47 06. You´ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (Lennon/McCartney) 2.47 07. Davoted To You (Bryant) 1.19 08. Alley Oop (Frazier) 2.53 09. There´s No Other (Like My Baby) 3.02 10. Medley: I Get Around/Little Deuce Cup (Christian/Wilson) 3.31 11. The Times They Are A-Changin´ (Dylan) 2.13 12. Barbara Ann (Fassert) 2.53