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Atmosphere
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Duke Ellington With Charles Mingus & Max Roach
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Zion I
ZZ Top
Artist: The Beach Boys
Label: Capitol
Genre: Rock
Release: Jan 1988   My Rating: 0
Duration: 21:14
Summary: The cynic may question just how many Beach Boys greatest hits albums are enough. Everyone else, however, will appreciate what makes "Sounds of Summer" unique. This is the first single-disc collection to feature such a large cross section of hits from the group's entire career, spanning 1962's "Surfin' Safari" through 1988's "Kokomo." All 30 tracks, spanning several label changes, were "Billboard" Top 40 hits and are probably now as identifiable as the national anthem to anyone with radio or TV access. The fact that the tracks aren't in chronological order helps make for a fresh listening experience, as does the crisp digital sound. And yet these songs--even those that are more than four decades old--always sound strangely fresh and will likely remain so as long as there are beaches, young people, and that symbolic season of freedom and dreams. Which is to say that the title here passes the "truth in advertising" test. Perfect for those casual fans not yet ready to spring for the individual albums, "Sounds of Summer" is in many ways a better representation of this legendary band's art than "Elvis' 30 No. 1 Hits" and "The Beatles 1" were of the King and the Fab Four. "--Bill Holdship"


Artist: The Beach Boys
Label:
Genre: Rock
Release: Jan 1999   My Rating: 0
Duration: 44:15
Summary:


Artist: The Beach Boys
Label: Capitol
Genre: Pop
Release: Jan 2000   My Rating: 0
Duration: 72:40
Summary: If you need some pointy-headed pundit to sell you on the merits of "Pet Sounds", your money might be better spent on an ear specialist. Brian Wilson's gift to 20th-century music elevated this pop album into a beguiling musical and emotional cogency that still operates outside pop culture's fickle space-time continuum--and limited critical lexicon. There's never been another record to compare ("Rubber Soul", its inspiration, is close; "Sgt. Pepper's", its response, misses the point), and certainly no album has been as dissected, overanalyzed, and predigested for public consumption. In 1997 Capitol Records devoted an entire four-disc box set, "The Pet Sounds Sessions", to its thorough deconstruction. The techno-marvel centerpiece of that project--the album's first true stereo mix, painstakingly conjured out of multitape session sources by producer-engineer Mark Linett (under Wilson's supervision)--was at once heresy and revelation. Now the label has gratifyingly seen fit to offer both mixes on a single disc (along with alternate versions of "Hang On to Your Ego," the original title of "I Know There's An Answer"), an idea that should please the orthodox and heretics alike. And while the album has always clearly been The Brian Wilson Show featuring the Beach Boys, David Leaf's concise new notes attempt to be more inclusive of a wider band perspective. The result (three of the five band members claim credit for the album title) sometimes resembles "Rashomon". If "Pet Sounds" forever crystallized the band's various creative (in)differences, it also became Wilson's grand karmic joke on his band mates; its burgeoning reputation ("Mojo" magazine's panel of pop experts once elected it greatest album of all time) guaranteed they would sing its songs--and praises--until the end. And if putting two different versions of the same album on one disc seems like overkill, look at the bright side: it's a perfect excuse to listen to the glorious "Pet Sounds" twice. "--Jerry McCulley"