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That Lucky Old Sun

That Lucky Old Sun

3.6 10
by Brian Wilson

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That Lucky Old Sun lacks the


That Lucky Old Sun lacks the magnificent shock of SMiLE, Wilson's 2004 completion of that '67 album. But it has a natural, hopeful flow that leaves you warm all over.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
That Lucky Old Sun, Brian Wilson's second major thematic work, isn't quite the third coming of SMiLE. Instead, it's an ode to the Southern California of the '50s and '60s that the Beach Boys constantly evoked, and although it's polished with the peak-era production style that Wilson made famous, most of the songs are wrapped around the overwrought pop
ock he's revisited again and again since his first major return to form, back in 1976. As a thematic topic, "That Lucky Old Sun" is ripe for integration into Brian Wilson's California myth-making. A Tin Pan Alley chestnut from the '40s, it contrasts the ease of the sun's transit each day with the hardship of human toil on earth, a sort of "Ol' Man River" set in the sky. (Even better is the fact that it's a professional songwriter's account of working-class life, which dovetails perfectly with the Beach Boys' mythic vision of Southern California and the illusionary aspects of Hollywood's brand of reality.) That Lucky Old Sun begins with Wilson briefly stating the theme and the intonation of a heavenly choir, but then barrels into the first song, "Morning Beat," a rocker with a set of adolescent rhymes (one example: "The sun burns a hole through the 6 a.m. haze/Turns up the volume and shows off its rays"). But wasn't this is supposed to be a collaboration with the great lyricist Van Dyke Parks? Actually, Parks contributes only to a set of spoken narratives, delivered emphatically by Wilson himself, that are interspersed throughout the album and attempt to advance the California panorama from Venice Beach to East L.A. to Hollywood -- as well as frequent stops along Brian Wilson's personal time line. ("How could I have got so low, I'm embarrassed to tell you so/I laid around this old place, I hardly ever washed my face.") That Lucky Old Sun rarely evokes the classic Beach Boys sound, but instead the driving '70s productions on latter-day Beach Boys albums like 15 Big Ones and Love You -- granted, with innumerable production touches that could only have come from the mind of Brian Wilson (ah, the clip-clop of wood blocks!). It's obvious that Wilson was at the center of some of the best and brightest productions of the '60s, but the added assumption about being at the center is that there are integral parts radiating outward. (In Wilson's case, those parts consisted of a superb harmony group with several great lead voices and the on-demand talents of an array of excellent musicians, plus copious engineers and studio technology.) Naturally, his solo career has positioned him at the forefront, which is a very different place than the center and one he's proved himself unwilling and unable to embrace fully. He needs not only talented collaborators but strong lead voices to place alongside his own; an apt comparison at Wilson's age is Burt Bacharach, who would hardly consider writing lyrics as well as music and singing every song on one of his albums. The lack of colleagues who could inform the result of this album -- the lack of Van Dyke Parks in a prominent role or a Carl Wilson or even a Mike Love -- is what makes That Lucky Old Sun assume a place below SMiLE in the pantheon of Brian Wilson's achievements.
It is a measure, then, of the artistic triumph of That Lucky Old Sun that it's such an utter pleasure, an album of sunshine unclouded by its absolute disconnection to the world as experienced by any alert person over the age of 12... Easily Brian Wilson's most consistently enjoyable, moving solo album.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brian Wilson   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Vocals,Lead
Van Dyke Parks   Narrator
Scott Bennett   Bass,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Vibes,spanish guitar
Peter Kent   Violin,Concert Master
Bob Lizik   Bass
Tommy Morgan   Harmonica
Bruce Otto   Trombone
Brett Simons   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Todd Sucherman   Drums
Cameron Stone   Cello
Darian Sahanaja   Keyboards,Background Vocals,Bells
Nick Walusko   Guitar,Background Vocals
Jeffrey Foskett   Guitar,Ukulele,Background Vocals
Peggy Baldwin   Cello
Probyn Gregory   Guitar,Trumpet,French Horn,Background Vocals
Nelson Bragg   Percussion,Background Vocals
Phillip D. Feather   Woodwind
Taylor Mills   Background Vocals
Jessica van Velzen   Viola

Technical Credits

Van Dyke Parks   Composer
Brian Wilson   Composer
Scott Bennett   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Haven Gillespie   Composer
Mark Linett   Engineer
Harry Beasley Smith   Composer
Darian Sahanaja   Arranger
Tom Recchion   Art Direction
Herb Agner   Marketing Coordinator,Project Accounting
Paul Von Mertens   Orchestral Arrangements

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That Lucky Old Sun 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wilson has finally come completely off the rails. It's official, you don't have to feel bad anymore for thinking so. Check out The Good Kind of Love for proof. Lyrically, this album could've been written by a 12 year old. Melodically, it's all familiar ground he's treading, but with zero finess whatsoever. His song themes are the same stuff he's been writing about since 1965. This record even fails as a piece of outsider art by an obviously unstable individual. This really is an embarassing endevour by a once great talent. Brian Wilson has truly left the building...
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be frank, nobody expects somebody who's voice sounds like groundskeeper carl from &quot caddyshack&quot to create a masterpiece. But it seems Brian may have done just that. Or at least had come close to doing so. Of his catalog, he is not what you call stellar. At least not on his own. By the time he released his first solo album in 1988 he had been pretty fried and almost fizzled out. So his solo material hasn't been very strong. However, after his SMiLE album was released, a small flame grew inside him. And that flame was inspiration. This new confidence helped him to record this great piece of work. In my opinion, I would say it's the best new piece of written work he has done since the Beach Boys' Love You or Surf's Up album. It's incredibly soulful with heartfelt music. The lyrics in this album are what had me sold. They make Brian sound so much more serious. Though some of the narratives are a little unnecessary. However, the narratives are mostly refreshing and help transition the album. Of course, Brian is old. Much older then when he recorded Pet Sounds. But the extra layering they did to his voice help to solve that little speed bump. However, his backup band is spectacular. In reality, Brian needs the Beach Boys now like he needs a hole in the head. The Wondermints sound absolutely similar, if not better, then the Beach Boys. The standout track has to be &quot Midnight's Another Day.&quot It showcases here how when given the right motivation, Wilson was the ultimate rival to Paul McCartney and John Lennon. If you were to compare this to any Beach Boys album, I would say &quot The Beach Boys Today!&quot is the closest related album. Tracks like &quot Forever, She'll Be My Surfer Girl&quot are a nostalgic yet refreshing and modern version of the original Beach Boys formula. To close, this album is worth every cent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lush, ambitious, and rippling with the best melodies Brian has written probably since the TODAY album, TLOS is a revelation. Childlike lyrics at time, yes, but who cares when the music is this great? Contains two bona fide classics, 'Live Let Live' and 'Southern California' and bunch of other tunes that would represent a high water mark for most artists. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Too slow. I was expecting at least a few up tempo tunes. I guess the days of surf type classics are a thing of the past.Brian sounds like hes been in the sun too long! sorry guy! your fans want tunes that move ya to at least tap your feet !
Guest More than 1 year ago
The warmed up voice--sings out as few can. Brian Wison hears and writes music as few can. And few have admirerers such as Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Elton John--to name a few. The album evokes memories 0f happy times and simple treasures. Those who know Wilson-- know the melodic voice and harmonies of his back up core of musicians as producing tremendous Beach Boy music--not reproductions of it--it was evidenced on the Pet Sounds (live in London version and the 2 disc live at The Roxy) . Sit back in the SUN and enjoy some new stuff-it's just meant to be timeless fun--that's what Wilson gives us. Cheers!
StrangeCloud More than 1 year ago
Ok I admit it. I cannot stand L.A. But I do appreciate Wilson's love of the town and the area of southern California. This CD is impeccably produced, with fine musicianship, telling a story of his passion for all things southern Californian. Like most of Wilson's work, there are some quirky songs and a few of the songs take off in quirky directions just when you are getting into the rhythm and melody. Overall, it's a wonderful CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
His TLOS music is not brain surgery lyrically, it does not need to be. He conveys his feelings of missing his sibs and his loves and his pride of the southern California dream. I have not been able to even listen to any other music since purchasing the CD. Love and Mercy
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