Sunday 24 September 2023

Surf's Up/Child Is Father Of the Man

The Beach Boys - Child Is Father Of The Man (1966) [Released 2018]
I haven't been paying attention to Beach Boys related reissues since the 00s when they re-released one of the holy grails: Dennis Wilson's solo album. People who read this blog probably don't even realise that I'm a Beach Boys obsessive. Aside from krautrock The 90s and early 00s were all about only one old band from the English speaking world and that was The Beach Boys. The Good Vibrations Box, The Pet Sounds Session Box and the cd original album remasters were some of the great reissue excavations of the 90s. On any given drunken night there was a high likelihood of The Beach Boys Greatest Hits getting a hiding. If I recall correctly I Get Around was best for dancing while Barbara Ann was best for singing at the top of your lungs to surely annoy the neighbours. Anyway the nostalgia spiral continues. It turns out five years back they unearthed an original 1966 mix of this here tune. A pieced together reconstruction had appeared on 2011's Smile Sessions Box.

I do recall in that Beautiful Dreamer Brian Wilson Smile doco from 2004, i think, that the young music director guy with the great standy up hair had found some bits of this tune which was very exciting. It took fifteen years to get it on a reissue though. Of course fans know this is a sort of prelude tune and a coda to the big tune that is Surf's Up. There are a stack of versions out there but this is the genuine what would have been on Smile  in 1967 version! Anyway I know this is only going to be interesting to Smile minutiae aficionados of which I sort of retired from being but now I'm back baby.

Brian Wilson - Child Is Father Of The Man (2004)
This is the 2004 version of the song by The Brian Wilson Band which is very bright and shiny.

The Beach Boys - Little Bird (1968)
This was their reworking where they rewrote and rerecorded the chorus and renamed it Little Bird for the 1968 LP Friends.

Wikipedia claims that Tune X from 1967 is also a re-recording but they are incorrect (What A fucking surprise) as that is a Carl Wilson penned instrumental that does not reuse any elements from Child Is Father Of The Man, Little Bird or Surf's Up.

I've forgotten how tricky and pernickety all this Smile stuff gets. It's an entire hobby of its own apart from being a music fan.

The Beach Boys - Surf's Up (1971)
This is why it's all worth it. This is spiritual music. Pop music at its most empyrean. Pretty moving. I realise you don't need another person out there to tell you this is the fucking it is though so there's that.

*See the coda here at the end of Surf's Up is based on Child Is Father To The Man which is also the preceding track on both the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's version of Smile. I'm pretty sure it was always intended this way. Having said that this version of Surf's Up from the 1971 Surf's Up LP appeared sans the prelude of Child Is Father To The Man.

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