The Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari

ARTIST: The Beach Boys Surfin'SafariCover
TITLE: Surfin’ Safari
YEAR RELEASED: 1962
CHART ACTION: #32
SINGLES: Surfin’ (#75), Surfin’ Safari (#14), Ten Little Indians (#49)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: 409, Summertime Blues
LINEUP: Mike Love, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Nick Venet
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The debut album, mostly recorded over three days in the fall of 1962, and only recorded because “Surfin’ Safari” was a big hit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Somehow, “Surfin’” a quick independent recording, hit the Top 100, and then a demo tape made its way to Capitol Records. From that tape, believe it or not, they took “Surfin’ Safari” and “409” straight from that, released them as a single, and well, there you go.

Brian Wilson and his songwriting partner Gary Usher with some help from Love wrote a few more songs, they covered “Summertime Blues” and an instrumental. The Boys played their own music, supplemented by Venet.

It’s…rudimentary. A lot of it is schlock – well sung schlock, but schlock. Brian hadn’t developed his knack for melody or arrangement yet, and if he had I doubt if the rest of the group could deal with it. Except for a few songs, this isn’t worth having around, really, unless you’re a total die-hard collector.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Al Jardine appears on “Surfin’” but he left the group to go to college and Marks came in to replace him.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with three additional tracks that you really don’t want anyway. Unless, of course, you’re a die-hard.

GRADE: C-: You have to start somewhere. I think I kept four songs out of 12? The rest range from meh to embarrassing – like “County Fair”. Love sings lead on eight of the tracks, too.

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