Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"

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Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 15, 1972
RecordedDecember 4, 1971 – April 13, 1972
StudioBeach Boys Studio, Los Angeles
GenreRock, soul, blues rock
ProducerThe Beach Boys
The Beach Boys chronology
Surf's Up
Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
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

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" is the 18th studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on May 15, 1972. 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.

The initial American pressings of the album included the band's 1966 studio album Pet Sounds as a bonus record. It has 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.

Carl and the Passions was Brian Wilson and Mike Love's high school band. This was 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.


In 1971, Carl Wilson, who served as the group's de facto musical director at this time, 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. Drummer and singer-songwriter Ricky Fataar also joined at this time, as Dennis Wilson had suffered a debilitating hand accident. Both South Africans, Blondie and Ricky were discovered by Carl while playing in seminal South African band the Flames in London, c. 1969. The album sees the Beach Boys entering a period of roots-based rock.

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 has said that his only musical contribution on the released album is as a background vocalist on "Marcella".[citation needed]


Recording sessions took place at various studios in Los Angeles, including Sunset Sound Recorders, Village Recorder and Brian Wilson's home studio from December 1971 and lasted through February of the following year. Following a brief tour of the east coast, the band reconvened for final sessions and mastering in April. An additional album outtake, "Out In The Country", was worked on during the sessions but remains unreleased. Additional titles which circulate include songs titled "Body Talk" and "Spark In The Dark".

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).[citation needed]

This LP was mixed for Quadraphonic reproduction (also compatible with stereo).[citation needed] It was to be played back using the now long-extinct Dynaco or EV Stereo-4 decoders,[1][page needed] or later, using the "360Surround" matrix decoder built by Stephen Desper and previously included with purchases of his limited-edition book Recording the Beach Boys.[2] 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, albeit imperfectly, due to the different matrix coefficients.[citation needed]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
Blender2/5 stars[4]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[8]

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" met with moderate commercial success upon release, reaching number 25 in the UK and number 50 in the US.

It was reviewed favourably[further explanation needed] in The San Diego Door.[9] And unfavourably[further explanation needed] by Robert Christgau.[10] Stephen Davis in a contemporary review in Rolling Stone felt that only four of the tracks were "acceptable", and that Brian Wilson's lack of genuine involvement hurt the album.[11]

Elton John penned liner notes for the 2000 CD reissue, writing: 'This is an album which I have loved for a long time... Carl and the Passions: So Tough has moments of breathtaking genius and experimentation. When this record was released, I remember how different and fresh it sounded. It still does'.[12]

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.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone"Brian Wilson/Jack RieleyCarl Wilson3:27
2."Here She Comes"Ricky Fataar/Blondie ChaplinFataar/Chaplin5:10
3."He Come Down"Al Jardine/B. Wilson/Mike LoveLove/Chaplin/Jardine/C. Wilson4:40
4."Marcella"B. Wilson/Tandyn Almer/RieleyC. Wilson/Chaplin/Love3:54
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Hold On Dear Brother"Fataar/ChaplinChaplin4:43
2."Make It Good"Dennis Wilson/Daryl DragonD. Wilson2:36
3."All This Is That"Jardine/Carl Wilson/LoveC. Wilson/Jardine/Love4:00
4."Cuddle Up"D. Wilson/DragonD. Wilson5:30

Track notes per 2000 liner notes.[12]


Partial credits per Scott McCaughey and 2000 liner notes,[12] except where otherwise noted.

The Beach Boys
Session musicians and production staff
  • Stephen Moffitt – sound engineer
  • Ed Thrasher – art direction
  • Tandyn Almer[19]
  • Billy Hinsche[20]
  • David Willardson – cover art
  • Daryl Dragon – Hammond organ, tack piano, sleigh bell, zither; piano on "Cuddle Up,"[17] horn and string arrangements on "Make It Good" and "Cuddle Up,"[17] conductor on "Make It Good" and "Cuddle Up"[17]
  • Tony Martin – steel guitar on "Marcella"[21]
  • Red Rhodes – pedal steel guitar on "Hold On Dear Brother"[17]
  • Doug Dillard – banjo on "You Need A Mess of Help to Stand Alone"[17]
  • Gordon Marron – fiddle on "You Need A Mess of Help to Stand Alone" [17]
  • Alex Del Zoppo — piano on "Here She Comes" and Hold On Dear Brother"[22]
  • Stephens La Fever – bass on "Make It Good" and "Cuddle Up"[17]
  • Frank Capp – tympani on "Make It Good" and "Cuddle Up"[17]
Strings on "Make It Good" and "Cuddle Up"
  • Bonnie Douglas – violin
  • Assa Drori – violin
  • Irving Geller – violin
  • Alfred Lustgarten – violin
  • Leonard Malarsky – violin
  • Jay Rosen – violin
  • Nathan Ross – violin
  • Sheldon Sanov – violin
  • Leonard Salic – violin
  • Spiro Stamos – violin
  • Dorothy Wade – violin
  • Shari Zippert – violin
  • Norm Botnick – viola
  • David Burk – viola
  • Joseph Reilich – viola
  • David Schwartz – viola
  • JoAnn Johansson – cello
  • Jan Kelley – cello
  • Nathan Gershman – cello
  • Victor Sazer – cello
  • James D. Hugart – double bass
  • Richard F. Kelley, Sr. – double bass
  • Meyer Rubin – double bass
Horns on "Make It Good"
  • Barbara Carlson – French horn
  • Vincent DeRosa – French horn
  • David Duke – French horn
  • George Hyde – French horn
  • Chuck Findley – trumpet
  • Ollie Mitchell – trumpet
  • Lew McCreary – trombone
  • Dick Hyde – bass trombone


Year Chart Position
1972 UK Albums (OCC)[23] 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.[24]


  • Desper, Stephen W. (2002). Recording the Beach Boys.


  1. ^ Desper 2002.
  2. ^ "RECORDING THE BEACH BOYS by Stephen W. Desper: book ordering info". 2002. Archived from the original on 2005-12-18. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  3. ^ Bush, John (1972-05-15). "Carl and the Passions - So Tough - The Beach Boys : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  4. ^ Wolk, Douglas (October 2004). "The Beach Boys Carl and the Passions: So Tough/Holland". Blender. Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). London: Oxford University Press. p. 479. ISBN 978-0-19-531373-4.
  7. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 84. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York, NY: Fireside/Simon & Schuster. p. 46. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ Crowe, Cameron (1972-06-22). Review: The Beach Boys - Carl and the Passions-So Tough. The San Diego Door. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  10. ^ "CG: beach boys". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  11. ^ Davis, Stephen (June 22, 1972). "The Beach Boys: Carl And The Passions: So Tough".
  12. ^ a b c McCaughey, Scott (2000). Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" / Holland (CD Liner). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records.
  13. ^,8454.msg141100.html#msg141100
  14. ^,8454.50.html
  15. ^,22555.msg585394.html#msg585394
  16. ^,9773
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j,8454.50.html
  18. ^,1146.msg28962.html#msg28962
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^,5157
  22. ^,9330.msg160247.html#msg160247
  23. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17.