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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really-Good-But-Not-Great Cousins To Pet Sounds...
I must admit that I've always been more of a Brian Wilson fan than a true Beach Boys fan. But Sunflower and Surf's Up, recorded largely without Brian, still sit very comfortably on the same shelf as the inspired, landmark Pet Sounds album.
Especially Sunflower, which has got to be one of the most underappreciated albums in pop history and is full of pop classics such...
Published on November 3, 2000 by John Orfield

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flashes of brilliance, a little inconsistency mark this pair
Historically, any Beach Boy CD post-"Smile" gets a rough treatment from critics. Only with time has the quality of these albums been allowed to lay their claim in the Beach Boys catalogue.

"Sunflower/Surf's Up/ is a worthy effort, but one can see where Brian's input is the strongest and what the band sounds like without his presence quite clearly, especially...
Published on December 19, 2005 by Scott Hedegard


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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really-Good-But-Not-Great Cousins To Pet Sounds..., November 3, 2000
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This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
I must admit that I've always been more of a Brian Wilson fan than a true Beach Boys fan. But Sunflower and Surf's Up, recorded largely without Brian, still sit very comfortably on the same shelf as the inspired, landmark Pet Sounds album.
Especially Sunflower, which has got to be one of the most underappreciated albums in pop history and is full of pop classics such as Add Some Music To Your Day, Brian's bouncy This Whole World, the beautiful All I Wanna Do, Brian and Bruce's Deirdre, Dennis's heartfelt Forever, and the simple, flowing Cool Cool Water.
Surf's Up is a little more muddled, a little more bizarre, and it never grabbed me as much as Sunflower did. There are so many contrasts here. On one hand you have two great Brian Wilson songs (the epic title track and the especially brillant, wide-eyed, sweeping 'Til I Die) and a handful of other good-but-not-great tunes like Bruce's wistful Disney Girls. But, on the other hand, you have Mike Love's horrid Student Demonstration Time which grates on you even a few seconds into your first listen and Brian's organ-drenched A Day In The Life of a Tree which is a fairly decent song that almost buckles under the weight of its own melancholy.
Members of my generation who follow Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush, The Apples In Stereo and the Elephant 6 collective would be remiss in spending all of their time memorizing Pet Sounds while overlooking these two albums, especially Sunflower. While these two albums don't have the same simple, earnest emotion of Pet Sounds, they come pretty close and would be a welcome addition to any pop collection.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two by Sun Or Sea, But None By Land, October 16, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
Getting these albums together is a great idea, since they're so important but also have big overlapping associations to each other. This is obvious in the good new interview with Brian included in the booklet (but, hey how come this is the only Capitol Brother reissue in which we get a Brian interview?) However, comments made by others on this page about the so-called "Landlocked" album project are incorrect. As the booklet accurately says, that name was under consideration for just a little while as a title for "Surf 's Up," but other theories about it were just fuled by dumb rumors and booklegs, the most recent in 1990. And one lineup circulated with an ad was a big hoax. As Bruce Johnston has admitted, fans have really taken some jokey remarks in interviews over the years too seriously. But the music always speaks for itself, and this music here is remastered now to a new level you couldn't hear on the vinyl copies, so it's truly fabulous to own.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Gem, July 25, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
What a shame this material has never before been available on CD!
If all you've got from "Sunflower" are the songs on the Good Vibrations Box Set, you're missing a few good ones - like ALL OF THEM. Seriously, "Sunflower" is a solid effort; a "lost gem" clearly among the Beach Boy's best, just as I'd heard.
Unlike the "sparse production," of prior albums, beautiful harmonies and rich vocals have returned in all their glory that is Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. Joyous, uplifting, and at many times, beautifully haunting, you can't help but listen to "Sunflower," and think, "this is the Beach Boys?" No album showcases the group's diverse musical talents as "Sunflower" does.
Included from the Box Set, of course, are the fantastic, "Add Some Music To Your Day," "This Whole World, and "Our Sweet Love." Dennis as an artist REALLY shines on this album, bringing us the wonderful ballad, "Forever," the bluesy "Got to Know the Woman," and the fun rocker, "Slip on Through."
And of course, there's more magic from Brian Wilson, including the haunting, "All I Wanna Do" - a fantastic collaboration with Mike Love - and "Dierdre," - a pleasant, melodic collaboration with Bruce Johnston that just grows on you. Other highlights from the album include the high-energy, Santana-esque, "Its About Time" - a great rocking tune by Carl - and the legendary "Cool Cool Water" - more genius from Brian Wilson.
Peaking at only #138 in the States after its release, this album went right over your head, America. Too busy rocking out to the Partridge Family and Cher, I guess.
I must admit, I'm not as much of a fan of "Surf's Up" - an even more eclectic album than "Sunflower" - but one that fails to pull it off.
Definitely NOT a cohesive album, many tunes are an awkward attempt to make the Boys "socially relevant," complete with political and ecological themes and lyrics. But it just doesn't sound or feel like the Beach Boys - and even the Beach Boys know it (Brian Wilson hated the tune, "Student Demonstration Time," for example, saying, "its just not the Beach Boys.")
If only America had embraced the wonderful "Sunflower" . . .
In any event, in addition to the lows, the album does have some incredible peaks - there's a revamped version of Brian Wilson's "Surf's Up," from the aborted "SMiLE" album and "`Til I Die," - two of Brian Wilson's most introspective and stunning works, if not his finest hour as an artist and songwriter. Also included are fan favorites, "Disney Girls (1957)" - from Bruce Johnston, and "Long Promised Road," from Carl Wilson.
Although all these tunes are available on the box set, its still worth having "Surf's Up," for the sake of owning it. You MUST buy this two-fer, its a classic - you can't beat the price and you get "Sunflower," on compact disc!
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beach Boys after the Good Vibrations, July 18, 2000
By 
Wes Saylors Jr. (Boone, North Carolina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
Both "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up" represent the Beach Boys most people aren't familiar with. Brian Wilson was, at the time these albums were made (early 70s), pretty much out of the picture, and the Boys explored the Brian-less decade without the need to resort to songs about babes, the beach, and hot rods. "Sunflower" may actually be the best album the Beach Boys ever did. ("Pet Sounds" is the best album Brian Wilson ever did.) Each member is highlighted and the songs are edgy, sweet, melodic, and goofy - all at the same time. That is not to say that the songs only work as novelties. Real rock n' roll is here. The standout, of course, is Dennis Wilson singing "Forever", one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever. Carl Wilson takes over the lead singing duties on most songs and proves himself a more soulful singer than brother Brian. "Surf's Up" is almost always remembered (if it is remembered at all) for the two Brian Wilson songs: "Surf's Up" and "Til I Die." They're good, but the best song is Bruce Johnson's "Disney Girls, 1954." It's the sort of song you hear and never know you are listening to the Beach Boys. But - as the 70s proved - the Beach Boys were more than just a car and beach band in Pendleton shirts. They were a talented and adventurous band who could rock with the best of them. "Surf's Up" and "Sunflower" (conveniently placed on one disc)will introduce a lot of people to a band that will not only surprise them ("that doesn't sound anything like Surfin' USA"), but delight them as well. Two great albums, all in one place.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully, this should bring the Beach Boys some justice, July 20, 2001
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
After a rocky 7-year association with Capitol Records, the Beach Boys said good riddance moved over to Warner Brothers to continue their exploration of new musical territory, in spite of the fact that they were considered anything but cutting edge at this point. Aside from a few stray hit singles, the Beach Boys had become "persona non grata" on the charts and with most of the "hip" music fans, so sadly, great albums like SUNFLOWER (1970) and SURF'S UP (1971) fell by the wayside without being given a fair chance. Now that these two great albums are widely available for the first time in several years, here's hoping that these uncalled for failures be recognized as anything but.
The story goes that after SMILE went bad, Brian Wilson pulled out of the Beach Boys altogether. That's just not true. After the strenuous sessions for SMILE, Brian had just retreated to a simpler, more organic method of both recording and living. Mentally, he had deteriorated almost beyond repair, but when he allowed, he could still let his musical genius shine through. And on SUNFLOWER, the Beach Boys' first album for Warner Bros., it's his songs that make up the high points of the album. Clocking in at just under two minutes, "This Whole World" is simply one of Brian's most beautiful recordings ever (which is saying a lot), and was deservedly revived for his recent solo tour. "Add Some Music To Your Day" is another great Brian production, and once again saw concert exposure on what most Beach Boys fans never thought would happen again: Brian Wilson on a concert stage! Those are the best-known off of SUNFLOWER, but Brian's other contributions are no small potatoes either. "Deirdre" (a collaboration with Brian's stage replacement Bruce Johnston, who also did "Tears In The Morning"), "All I Wanna Do" (not the rocker that was on 20/20), "Our Sweet Love" and "At My Window" are great entries on an even greater album that had to be one of the best-recorded "failures" in pop music history. But with Brian no longer master of the studio, it was up to the other Beach Boys to take up the slack, and they were more than able. Dennis Wilson continued to improve on his latent musical talents with "Slip On Through", "Got To Know The Woman" (a sign of the more rock-oriented direction the Beach Boys wanted to take at the time), "It's About Time" and what has rightfully been called his Dennis' best ever song "Forever". "Forever" has received all the accolades because its declaration of eternal love is nothing less than prayer-like in its execution. I'll bet this has been "the song" at numerous weddings ever since it first appeared. Aside from that, SUNFLOWER'S undisputed highlight is the closing "Cool, Cool Water". Yet another outtake from that fabled SMILE project, how it might have sounded back in 1967 could only be imagined by us. But the version that came to be on SUNFLOWER is just as mindblowing, making for 4 of some of the prettiest minutes ever recorded. When SUNFLOWER spent only 4 weeks on the charts, and peaked at a disappointing #151, the idea of staring anew on Warner Brothers was jeopardized. The prospects of hopefully a resurgence in favor for the Beach Boys seemed to slip away. But 30 years later, SUNFLOWER has begun to finally receive some of the respect it has always deserved as a really great album.
Its follow-up SURF'S UP was yet another fine work that wasn't given a close listen (or any at all), and because it was from The Beach Boys, now commercial pariahs, the name alone was enough to sink it before it had a chance. SURF'S UP had the Beach Boys adopting more of a political and social voice. While this may have been an attempt at becoming relevant again, it was still a brave and rather successful one. They take a look at the environment on "Don't Go Near The Water", college unrest on "Student Demonstration Time" (a Mike Love-rewrite of "Riot In Cell Block #9), and poverty on "Lookin' At Tomorrow". As social commentary, they might not have had much impact, but as good music, it's mission accomplished. After being absent creatively for the most part on SUNFLOWER, Carl Wilson makes a great comeback on SURF'S UP. "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows" (recently used in the ALMOST FAMOUS movie) prove once again that Carl had been taking lessons from older brother Brian and applying them well. Probably the least famous Beach Boy (because he was not named Wilson), Al Jardine also makes a considerable contribution to SURF'S UP on "Don't Go Near The Water", "Lookin' At Tomorrow" and "Take A Load Off Your Feet". From a big fan of folk music, the socially aware sound of those songs is natural coming from Jardine. Bruce Johnston's work is not as present as it was on SUNFLOWER, but his one song on here is more than enough. "Disney Girls" was his tribute to a simpler time and place far removed from the social turmoil that was going on in the early '70s. The literate, Van Dyke Parks-derived lyrics of "Disney Girls" could have easily fit on the forward-thinking SMILE, proving that Johnston was more than just Brian's replacement in concert. Speaking of which, Brian finally get his piece of the action at the end of the album with the final three songs. "A Day In The Life Of A Tree" is another appropriately childlike song from the fertile mind of Mr. Brian Wilson, but the heartbreaking "'Til I Die" was a sign that even Brian thought like an adult. His vocal performance is among his most beautiful ever, and if you don't shed a tear while hearing it, you may need a heart transplant. The remnants of SMILE were still trickling out, and SURF'S UP had the title track as its share of SMILE. Van Dyke Parks highly oblique lyrics are a wonder to behold when coming from the beautiful voices of the Beach Boys (most notable Carl Wilson), and one listen to that song may finally convince some of the skeptics who thought they could never sing about more than just girls and cars. Once again, had it been contained on SMILE, the production would have been even more astounding, I'm sure. But the version on SURF'S UP is an excellent one its own right.
While the commercial backlash against the Beach Boys continued, they weren't about to cave in and make re-writes of the classic "fun-in-the-sun" songs of their early days. The next two albums would further prove that the Beach Boys wanted to keep moving forward, even if their sometime leader Brian Wilson was beginning to fade from the picture once again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, September 21, 2000
By 
beth grossman (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
I was beyond ecstatic to find they re-released SUNFLOWER at last! I'm not one to use the word "brilliant" as I feel it's over-used - but this is Brilliant! The best of the Beach Boys!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beach Boys at their absolute creative peak!!!!!, July 5, 2004
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
It took an awfully long time but Capitol finally released "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up" as a two-fer package back in 2000. While I always enjoyed the music of the Beach Boys I became much more interested in them in the early 1970's when they tossed aside the formula hits they had been so successful with and began experimenting with more daring and intricate harmonies. "Sunflower" was released in the fall of 1970 and was met with a collective yawn by the record buying public. The album peaked at #151 on the Billboard Top Pop Album chart and the two singles released from the LP "Add Some Music To Your Day" and "Tears In The Morning" did not fare much better. But you will find a number of other fabulous tunes on this LP including "Slip On Through", "Our Sweet Love" and two of my favorites "Deidre" and "Forever". Make no mistake about it...this was a truly remarkable album for its time.
About a year later "Surf's Up" was released with great fanfare and this time people paid a lot more attention. "Surf's Up" was one of my favorite LP's of the 1970's. The album featured a wide variety of styles including the lush and lovely "Disney Girls", the hard driving "Student Demonstration Time" and other great tunes like "Long Promised Road", "Don't Go Near The Water" and of course the title cut "Surf's Up". While "Surf's Up" fared considerably better than "Sunflower" and the groups next LP "Holland" was reasonably well received it appeared that in commercial terms at least the groups most successful days might well be behind them. But the Beach Boys would prove to be a resilient bunch and would continue to have chart success to varying degrees for many years to come.
Now if you enjoy great harmonies like I do and you somehow missed these albums back in the seventies like many people did, it would certainly behoove you to give this package a try. Capitol has provided a marvelous 24 page booklet replete with lyrics, photos and other relevant information. You will not be disappointed!!! Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Brother Record reissues?, July 18, 2000
By 
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
Over the past few years I have found many of the Brother Records releases on vinyl so the content of these two albums is familiar to me. Capitol has done an excellent remastering job with these two worthy entries into the Beach Boys catalogue (both songwriting and production wise). Sunflower has a somewhat stronger song line-up of the two but in comparison with their albums of the late 70's, Surf's Up is a masterpiece as well. If you've heard disk III of the Good Vibrations Box, you know the highlights (but the rest of the tracks are also worthwhile).
The liner notes are quite informative. Each song receives comment. I was particularly interested to learn about the songs that didn't make the final cut for Sunflower.
I believe this will ultimately turn out to be the highlight of this reissue series (although Holland and Love You are also great) so if you aren't necessarily planning to buy them all, this is the place to start.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Misunderstood, May 7, 2010
By 
beej (kentucky, usa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
Length:: 6:31 Mins

A couple of highly misunderstood records that contain some of the very best of Brian Wilson -- and those other guys, too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The final two great Beach Boys albums, October 25, 2005
By 
This review is from: Sunflower/Surf's Up (Audio CD)
Released in 1970 and 1971 respectively, at the absolute nadir of their popularity in America, SUNFLOWER and SURF'S UP were the Beach Boys' first two albums for their new record label, Warner Brothers, and the last great albums of their career. Their glory years at Capitol had come to a slow, painful close after a series of disastrous creative and business decisions and the burning out by late 1967 of their producer, main composer and creative flame, Brian Wilson, from a combination of drugs, mental illness, and incredible insecurity and immaturity on a grand scale.

After a final flash of brilliance in late 1966 with the single "Good Vibrations", the aforementioned combination proved lethal to the band's career, which was effectively dead in 1969 after four albums of varying degrees of mediocrity, following what was unanimously thought of by fans and critics alike as their masterpiece, the summer 1966 landmark album PET SOUNDS, considered by many to be one of the top five greatest albums ever recorded in the history of popular music. Brian had become a recluse, in public and more importantly for the band, he had become reclusive in the studio as well, usually showing up only if their were several bags of potato chips and onion dip to be consumed. Younger brother and lead guitarist Carl Wilson became the main driving force of the band during the 1970's, with varying degrees of success, never coming close to matching the rare but fragile genius of his brother Brian, whose influence would emerge on record only briefly from time to time over the following decade.

Although both were commercial flops, SUNFLOWER and SURF'S UP were received much better by critics than any of the Beach Boys' work since "Good Vibrations", and for good reason. Both albums show a freshness and renewed energy and positivity after the painful experience of Brian's fall from grace during the late 1960's output from the band. All three Wilson brothers get to shine in these two albums. "Forever" is a beautiful and bittersweet-sounding ballad from Dennis and is the single greatest composition of his career. The same might be said for brother Carl on "Long Promised Road", which has a bridge of swirling organ riffs that sent chills up my spine and has been used by chiropractors for curing various low back conditions.

Ultimately, Brian resurrects himself for the greatest moments on the albums, those being the final two tracks of SURF'S UP. "Til I Die" almost did not make it to the recording stage due to the objections of certain members of the band (whose last names were not Wilson) that the song was "a downer". However, the hopelessness of the lyrics is countered by the hopefulness inspired by the unusual chordal shifts and a closing segment marked by the complex vocal counterpoint that marked the best Beach Boys recordings. A similar closing marks the final track of the CD, the title track of SURF'S UP. Originally composed in 1966 with obtuse, impressionistic lyrics contributed by Van Dyke Parks, a former child actor and sporadic collaborator of Brian's, the song, like "Good Vibrations", is actually more of a suite in three parts and is far and away the finest composition Brian ever composed since "Good Vibrations".

Buyers are fortunate that SUNFLOWER and SURF'S UP are available on the same CD, as these are the only two albums of any consistent quality among the Beach Boys' otherwise mediocre studio output of the 1970's, although their 1973 live album, also available on CD, is also recommended.
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Sunflower/Surf's Up
Sunflower/Surf's Up by The Beach Boys (Audio CD - 2000)
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