Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"

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Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released May 15, 1972
Recorded December 4, 1971 – April 13, 1972,
Brian Wilson's home studio, California
Genre Rock, soul, blues rock, rhythm and blues
Length 34:26
Label Brother, Reprise
Producer The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys chronology
Surf's Up
(1971)
Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
(1972)
Holland
(1973)
Singles from Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
  1. "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone"
    Released: May 15, 1972
  2. "Marcella"
    Released: June 26, 1972
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau C+ [2]
The San Diego Door positive[3]

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" is the eighteenth studio album by American rock band The Beach Boys, released on May 15, 1972. Initial pressings of the album included Pet Sounds as a bonus record. The album is frequently considered a transitional album for the band, with the addition of Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar on guitar and drums, respectively, and long-time member Bruce Johnston departing during its initial sessions.

It's been speculated that Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" was either scheduled to be released, or re-released, as a single album. A Warner/Reprise catalogue number, MS 2090, had been assigned to this single disc release, but nothing came of it. The album was released as a standalone album in Europe on Reprise Records.

The title of the album was a reference to an early band Carl Wilson had been in as a teenager. It was also the first album released under a new deal with Warner Bros. that allowed the company to distribute all future Beach Boys product in foreign as well as domestic markets.

Album history[edit]

In 1971, Carl (who served as the group's de facto musical director at this juncture) decided to spice up the structure of The Beach Boys by hiring third guitarist Blondie Chaplin, whose soulful singing brought a strong R&B element into the band's sound. Joining him was drummer and singer/songwriter Ricky Fataar (Dennis Wilson had suffered a debilitating hand accident). Both South Africans, Blondie and Ricky were discovered while playing in seminal South African band The Flame by Carl in London circa 1969. The album sees The Beach Boys entering a period of earthy arrangements, cycling through all manner of roots-based rock.

Brian Wilson sporadically contributed to the album's sessions, distracted by the production and promotion of the debut album of American Spring titled Spring. The extent of his contributions for Carl and the Passions - "So Tough" were his collaboration on the writing of three songs and the recording of both vocal and instrumental tracks. Two songs were written and sung by Fataar and Chaplin. Dennis Wilson also contributed two songs which he wrote with Daryl Dragon, hinting towards the sound of his solo debut album, Pacific Ocean Blue. Other songwriting contributions came from Jack Rieley (two co-credits), Alan Jardine (two co-credits), Mike Love (two co-credits), Tandyn Almer (one co-credit) and Carl Wilson (one co-credit).

Not long after the sessions began, Bruce Johnston had a falling out with manager Jack Rieley and left the band. Conflicting reports state that Johnston either quit or was fired. According to Johnston, he quit because he was unenthusiastic about Rieley's suggestion that the group adopt a hard rock approach and felt that Brian Wilson's prolonged lack of involvement had resulted in declining artistic quality. However, Rieley claims he fired Johnston, both to prevent him from voting in the group's democratic processes and because of the supposed disrespect and contempt Johnston was showing Brian Wilson at the time. Johnston's main writing contribution, an early version of "Endless Harmony" entitled "Ten Years of Harmony", was re-recorded and eventually released in 1980 on Keepin' the Summer Alive. Johnston confirmed that his only musical contribution on the released album is as a background vocalist on "Marcella."

The group photo on the inner sleeve was thought to have been doctored to show Brian with the rest of the Beach Boys, a fact confirmed when a picture featuring the same image of Brian appeared in a 2004 book by Keith Badman. This rare shot showed him surrounded by fellow band members including Bruce Johnston (in his final group picture), but not with either Ricky Fataar or Blondie Chaplin, both of whom are credited on the final album cover. This is the last known group photo taken with Brian before his massive weight gain.

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" was met with moderate commercial success upon release, reaching No. 25 in the UK and No. 50 in the US.

English Britpop band Saint Etienne used the title So Tough for their 1993 album as an homage to the Beach Boys. Likewise, they also named their compilation of the same year, You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone, after the Beach Boys song.

The LP was mixed for Quadraphonic reproduction (also compatible for Stereo). It was to be played back by using the long extinct Dynaco or EV Stereo-4 decoders. However, the recording (LP or CD) can be played back in Quad by most of today's audio-video receivers. The surround sound information can be extracted using the Dolby Pro Logic setting. The Surf's Up LP and some of the songs on the Sunflower LP were also mixed with this process.

Live performances[edit]

Seven of the 8 songs on the album have been performed live by The Beach Boys. Despite this, most of them were only performed following the albums release and none became concert staples for the band. Songs from the album that have been played live include "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone", "Hold On Dear Brother", "Cuddle Up", "Here She Comes", "He Come Down",[4] "Marcella", and "All This Is That". The last two have been the most often played songs from the album.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone"   Brian Wilson/Jack Rieley Carl Wilson/Brian Wilson (Harmony Vocal) 3:27
2. "Here She Comes"   Ricky Fataar/Blondie Chaplin Ricky Fataar/Blondie Chaplin 5:10
3. "He Come Down"   Al Jardine/B. Wilson/Mike Love Mike Love/Chaplin/Al Jardine/C. Wilson 4:41
4. "Marcella"   B. Wilson/Tandyn Almer/Rieley C. Wilson/Chaplin/Love 3:54
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead Vocals Length
1. "Hold On Dear Brother"   Fataar/Chaplin Chaplin 4:43
2. "Make It Good"   Dennis Wilson/Daryl Dragon Dennis Wilson 2:36
3. "All This Is That"   Jardine/Carl Wilson/Love C. Wilson/Jardine/Love 4:00
4. "Cuddle Up"   D. Wilson/Dragon D. Wilson 5:30

Personnel[edit]

The Beach Boys
Session musicians and production staff

Sales chart positions[edit]

Albums
Year Chart Position
1972 UK Top 40 Album Chart 25
1972 US Billboard 200 Albums Chart 50
US Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1972 "Marcella" US Billboard Singles Chart 110

Chart information courtesy of Allmusic and other music databases.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bush, John (1972-05-15). "Carl and the Passions - So Tough - The Beach Boys : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  2. ^ "CG: beach boys". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  3. ^ Crowe, Cameron (1972-06-22). Review: The Beach Boys - Carl and the Passions-So Tough. The San Diego Door. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  4. ^ "The Beach Boys Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Beach Boys Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit. 

Sources[edit]

  • Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"/Holland CD booklet notes, Elton John and Scott McCaughey, c.2000.
  • "The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience", Timothy White, c. 1994.