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Party/Stack-O-Tracks Extra tracks, Import, Original recording remastered
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The Beach Boys' plummeting post-Pet Sounds fortunes again inspired Capitol to try and cash in on the band's feel-good hits, releasing Stack-o-Tracks, what was effectively an interactive album: the instrumental tracks of several key hits and album cuts were presented sans vocals (and originally packaged with music, chord charts, and lyrics), allowing fans to sing along. Unfortunately, few in the turbulent summer of '68 were interested in harmonizing to "Catch a Wave" and the album failed to chart. But to hardcore fans it remains a rare window into Brian's remarkable prowess in the studio. This digitally remastered edition features three great new backing track bonus cuts: "Help Me, Rhonda," the still spectacular "California Girls," and "Our Car Club." This long out-of-print twofer package also includes notes from Brian on both albums, as well as the insightful analysis of Beach Boys and the California Myth author David Leaf. --Jerry McCulley
Top Customer Reviews
As for "Stack o' Tracks", that's for big fans only - like me. I really enjoyed it because you don't realize how much stuff is going on with all those dense instrumental tracks. The only thing is, they did a ratty job with the tracks. I'm not sure that "Little Honda" is the correct take. I'm not hearing some familiar drum fills at the end. Other songs fade out early. And half of the backing tracks aren't in stereo. However, I'm so glad they tacked on "California Girls" and "Help Me Rhonda" as bonus tracks. One thing though, the 12-string guitar solo for "Help Me, Rhonda" is missing!!!
On a final mixing note, what with the success of the "Pet Sounds" box set and STEREO REMIX, they really ought to release more Beach Boys songs such as "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes And Villains" in stereo for the first time. Some people have been waiting for 30+ years to hear it. To hear it now, you either you have to do synch mixes or else buy bootlegs!!
Stack-O-Tracks featured just the instrumental tracks to 15 Beach Boys songs. That's right, a Beach Boys album without the Beach Boys on it! Well, I suppose that's not technically true, because they did play some of the instruments on their albums, but most of the instruments were played by session musicians. Anyway, hearing just the instruments theoretically allows Beach Boys fans to study how Brian Wilson put together the backing tracks to some of the bands classic songs. It's somewhat interesting to hear, but the songs definitely sound better with the vocals. The CD adds three bonus track instrumental backgrounds, the hits "Help Me Rhonda" and "California Girls", and the obscure "Our Car Club".
It combines "Beach Boys Party" which is a self-mocking unplugged type album with "Stack O Tracks" which is a collection of instrumental tracks of familiar hits from "Pet Sounds" and earlier.
The "Party" album includes a lot of annoying background chatter, clapping, etc., allegedly added after the original sessions. It would be nice if the Beach Boys could reissue the original tracks someday without the background noise. But it's an interesting album anyway, featuring the guys with all acoustic instruments aside from a bass guitar. It includes the hit single "Baba Ram"---errr, I mean "Babara Ann".
It is unsettling hearing the familiar tracks on "Stack O Tracks" without the lushly layered vocals. A lot of the songs sound remarkably different: e.g., "Our Car Club" sounds like the theme from a Quintin Tarantino film without the vocals, and "Surfer Girl" sounds like the slow movement of a Bach cantata. "Stack O Tracks" was the first album with Bruce Johnston included in the band photos, although as far as I know he didn't play any of the instruments. But (aside from a couple of older tunes) the other Beach Boys, aside from Brian, didn't play any of the instruments on these tracks either.
The first album, "Beach Boy's Party," is the first Unplugged album ever recorded. Yes, the Beach Boys were the first group to ever record such an album. This album was a quickie to cover the gap made by the intense studio work of "Pet Sounds," but, knowing this, you see the off-hand brilliance of the whole group. This disc is a monument to their abilities as entertainers. All of the tracks are unrehearsed. Everything is spontaneous. And throughout it all, is good, clean musical fun.
All the tracks are covers, or acoustic versions of the Beach Boys Classics. And, yes, you did read the label right, those are three Beatles songs. It is quite the ear candy to hear these Lennon-McCartney classics done in quartet and quintet over an acoustic guitar and bongos.
There are a couple of oldies, like "Alley Oop," and "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow," which was one of their concert staples. We see the hippie in Al Jardine come out as he sings "These Times Are A Changing."
The two best tracks are "Barbara Ann," which was an accident since Jan and Dean happened to be in the studio, and they had some tape left. It is quite appropriate since Brian Wilson gave them their (and possibly the Beach Boys') first number one hit, "Surf City."
The second track is the sweet "Devoted to You," which I wish they had played in their concerts.
This is a fun album. You hear Mike Love's concert nonsense and sophomoric banter better than any of their three concert albums. You also have the weird background noise that gives this disc a nightclub feel. All of the performances are spontaneous, and the weird Wilson humor comes out in the self-defacing version of "I Get Around.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The instrumentals are great especially the addition of Help me, Rhonda and California Girls.Published 2 months ago by JGM
GOOD MUSIC. TOO MUCH OF THE LATER HALF OF THE DISC IS JUST MUSIC BACKGROUND,, NO VOCAL.. WASTEFUL..Published 12 months ago by Dida
Ok. These are the strangest albums released under the Beach Boys banner. The Party was fake & Stack o Tracks was done without the Beach Boys knowledge or participation. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Michael L. Knapp
But it was a launching pad for some hits that Beach Boys still do in Concert. Since they all older and still sound great the egos Mike Love need to let us enjoy them awhile longer... Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by P. Strickler
It's all good, but the party vibe is way groovy and Dennis's singing is brilliant. BUY THIS DISC, O kay?Published on July 10, 2013 by Sara
Perfect when you're throwing a party in the living room!
Just a good time for everyone!! The only song I don't like is their joke of a Dylan cover, but the rest of the songs... Read more
Good CD. Not my favorite Beach Boy album but still good packaging and some good tunes on it. Stack o tracks is good to listen to every once in a while to hear the greatness even... Read morePublished on November 30, 2012 by Nicholas