Dennis Wilson‘s solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, out of print since a crappy 1991 CD version, is being reissued on June 17 as a two-disc legacy edition with 24 unreleased bonus tracks (plus “All Alone” which was included on the Endless Harmony soundtrack). This is exciting news for Beach Boys fans and MOJO readers, as Pacific Ocean Blue is widely considered a lost classic and “the best solo album ever released by a Beach Boy.”
One weird thing about the reissue is that it contains one song (“Holy Man”) with a newly recorded vocal track by Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. Buddyhead talked to reissue producer Gregg Jakobson about how this came about:
Taylor was in town, a fan of Dennis’s. He’s also a family friend and interestingly enough has the same gravely, whisky, smokers voice as Den. They sound very much alike. We were in the studio mixing the Holy Man track, Taylor comes down to the studio, we hammer out a lyric, Taylor sings it. Perfect! It was meant to be. Destiny.
Buddyhead adds that Hawkins is also “a bearded surfing drummer just like Dennis.” So there you have it.
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue
In September of 1977 Dennis Wilson released what is still today, in my opinion, the best solo album ever released by a Beach Boy (yeah, sorry Brian) called Pacific Ocean Blue. After its initial release, the record was cut out in 1979 and while it appeared briefly on CD for a few months in 1991, it’s been out of print ever since.
Through the years I’ve had the pleasure of working on hundreds of albums that I love, but as a Beach Boys fan the one that I’ve always wanted to see reissued was Pacific Ocean Blue. If you’re familiar with the record then you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t heard it it’s like discovering a buried treasure. If you’re already a fan of this album then you’ve heard the stories of why it’s been out of print…it’s been tied up in litigation, labels fighting each other as to who owns the rights, the tapes were lost, the Beach Boys don’t want it out, Jim Guercio doesn’t want it out, none of which were true.
That’s not to say it’s been easy getting to this stage but that’s another story. The good news is yes, it’s finally being released on June 17 a little over 30 years after its original issue.
The best news of all is that it’ll have 20 previously unreleased tracks including several songs that have never even been bootlegged like Dennis’ version of “Only With You” (originally recorded by the Beach Boys for Holland), “Tug Of Love” (yanked off of the original album at the last minute in favor of “Farewell My Friend”) and “Holy Man” all newly mixed by John Hanlon who recorded many of the original sessions.
The first disc of our Legacy Edition will be the original album newly remastered by Vic Anesini from the 1st generation master tapes, which for whatever reason were not used for the ’91 CD, and the 4 bonus tracks listed below. Disc Two, Bambu (The Caribou Sessions), is a roundup of various tracks that Dennis recorded during his term as a solo artist for Jim Guercio’s Caribou Records. Bambu was to be the follow up album to Pacific Ocean Blue but was never completed. One point I want to make about the unreleased recordings is that we’re not saying this is what Dennis intended to be the finished Bambu album but a compilation of the best tracks he recorded during the POB/Bambu/Caribou period. The truth of the matter is that Dennis recorded constantly during this period and tracks that have been labeled as Bambu tracks over the years were started before and during Pacific Ocean Blue sessions. Who knows for sure what would have ended up on the final album but we do have the roadmap for where he was going. We’ll save all of the details for the liner notes but the bottom line is if you’re a fan you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not familiar with anything I’m yapping about then prepare to become a fan of a great lost classic album by a grossly underrated artist that hopefully will be rediscovered by a whole new audience. Or to put it bluntly as my dear departed friend Nick Venet once said to me, “You either get it…or you’re an asshole”
One other thing before you send me hatemail frying my ass for not including your favorite Dennis track (how could you leave off “Denny’s Drums”?) Keep in mind that the purpose of this set was to focus on a specific period of Dennis’ recordings and not present a full career retrospective. Hopefully this release will be successful enough that we’ll get to see a proper Dennis anthology in the future. That set would of course include “Lady”, “Sound of Free”, “Forever”, “Little Bird”, “Be With Me”, “San Miguel”, “Cuddle Up”, “Be Still”, “Slip On Through” and so many more on 2 CD’s at least. Last thing I want to say… in addition to Dennis, none of this would have happened without Jim Guercio. As I like to say he made it happen then and he made it happen again now. Jim really believed in Dennis as a talent in his own right outside of the shadow of his brothers and the Beach Boys. At a time when it probably seemed like a dumb idea to give a boatload of your own money to Dennis Wilson to make a record, he did and it ended up being better than even the most loyal fan could have ever imagined.
When we first spoke over a year ago Jim put together a team (Don Williams, John Hanlon and Gregg Jakobson) to work with us to ensure that this time a reissue of POB became a reality. There are many more folks to thank, all mentioned in the CD, but As Dennis said in the notes to his own album… Thank You Jimmy G.
Watch this space for future updates including a website, info about the Sundazed 2 LP set on Blue Vinyl and Taylor Hawkins version of Holy Man.