Let's talk about The Beach Boys - Holland

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Amnesiac, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. Amnesiac

    Amnesiac Forum Resident Thread Starter


    It seems like whenever 70s Beach Boys comes up, the albums people always talk about are Sunflower, Surf's Up, and Love You. Never really hear anyone talk about Holland that much. In my opinion, it's an excellent album. I was listening to it earlier today and realized that there's not really a weak track on the album. Steamboat is a masterpiece, The Trader features one of Carl's best vocals, and listening to Mike and Al on the California Saga is an interesting experience. Not to mention Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar's great contribution on songs like Sail On, Sailor and Leaving This Town.

    And then, of course, there's the bonus Mount Vernon and Fairway EP. The narration by Jack Rieley is fine, but I'm a huge fan of Brian Wilson's music. There's some really nice synth work on this that reminds me of artists like Mort Garson. If you haven't heard this EP, I suggest checking it out.

    Here is the track listing:

    Sail On, Sailor
    California Saga: Big Sur
    California Saga: The Beaks of Eagles
    California Saga: California
    The Trader
    Leaving This Town
    Only With You
    Funky Pretty
    [Mount Vernon EP]

    So, what are your thoughts on Holland? One of their best? I'm really excited for the Analogue Productions vinyl reissue of this album, which includes the Mount Vernon EP and We Got Love on an extra 12".
  2. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Arizona desert
    I've loved this album since the day that it was released. My original still sounds great so I don't know if I'll pop for AP release although I'm sure it will sound fantastic.
    Jack, bluerondo, tug_of_war and 8 others like this.
  3. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    A very good album. Worthy of its frequent praise.
  4. Humbuster

    Humbuster Gort of the Crimson King Staff

    Purchased it when it first was released. Loved it then, love it now.

    Holland was the last Beach Boys album I purchased upon release until TWGMTR.
    Folknik, FJFP, tug_of_war and 2 others like this.
  5. bigal00769

    bigal00769 Forum Resident

    Bedford, TX
    My Favorite Beach Boys Album from a very under appreciated period of albums including Sunflower and Carl and the Passions. Also looking forward to the AP release of these lp's!
  6. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Arizona desert
    The year it was released I bought a new AR-XA turntable and then the newly introduced Shure V-15 III cartridge. That album sounded great on that set up. Still sounds great and I'm still using a V-15III.
  7. hipster006

    hipster006 Forum Resident

    Bob M., clhboa, Larsen and 8 others like this.
  8. Humbuster

    Humbuster Gort of the Crimson King Staff

    That is so weird as I purchased an XA but with Pickering cartridge the year before.
    ssmith3046 likes this.
  9. It's a great and very unusual album from The Beach Boys.
  10. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

    I love this record from start to finish. Even the part about the mothergrabbing eagle (no, really, the bird grabs his mother). I wish this particular band followed it up with another record instead of getting sent down a dead-end with the Brian's Back campaign. This was music that was hip, current, interesting, moody, brilliant. They successfully meld their trademark vocals with a musical landscape that was in step with the times. I wish Jack Reilly had stuck around. He was good for them.

    "Trader" is Carl's shining moment. Such a fantastic track. Reilly goes Van Dyke Parks on the lyrics and they take us on an adventure. God, I love this song. Just wonderful.

    "Steamboat", the Denny Wilson song everyone forgets. It chugs along like it's lurching up river. Weird stuff going on in the background. Sleepy backing vocals. More abstract words from Jack Reilly. I dig it. He paints the picture. He shows, not tells, and the image comes into focus quite well. Excellent track. Gah.

    "Califonia Saga" is epic. Ominous intro, disturbing interlude, a happy-go-jacky ode to California shore line from Al "this-isn't-a-California-Girls-rewrite" Jardine. The aforemented mothergrabbing bird makes me uncomfortable but Mike puts a log on the fire and makes it all good again. "Big Sur" is a great piece of craftsmanship from Mike. Whether it's in 3/4 as here or 4/4 as in the Sunflower outtake version it's a sweet success. Love it.

    "Only With You" should be a standard. I asked the DJ to play this at my wedding and he didn't, dammit. Mike and Denny combine their forces and make a mature, touching ode to the love of a man and a woman (or whatever). Mike's words are moving and sincere. Anyone who wants to put him down for only writing surf and car lyrics should take note.

    "Funky Pretty" is Brian's work. Strange chords. Strange man. The edges are smoothed by Carl and the gang and we get another winner. Personally, I prefer the live version found on "In Concert", where this beast finds a groove and really gets down and dirty. It's great here too, though. Everybody gets a turn to sing and it ends in a screeching nightmare of a thing that's hard to define.

    "Leaving This Town" is my favorite Blondie and/or Ricky contribution to the Beach Boys catalog. The song is steady and long but it has a mood that I enjoy wallowing in. Synth solo like lasers ripping holes in my psyche. Great lead from Blondie. Great song.

    Oh, and "Sail on Sailor" is great too.

    Yep, I love this record. Unlike the hodge-podge records that preceded it this one is a complete statement that gels together as one unified effort by the entire group. It is one of their very best albums, yet unfortunately the last of it's kind.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  11. schelti

    schelti Forum Resident

    Holland is great!
    Folknik, oldsurferdude and CCrider92 like this.
  12. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies vinyl hairline spotter

    Amstelveen (NL)
    Adding Fataar and Chaplin was a stroke of genius, imo. Carl and the Passions is not underrated as I happen to think it is a complete waste of vinyl.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  13. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies vinyl hairline spotter

    Amstelveen (NL)
    Glad you do not mention the EP though!
  14. marshmallowpie

    marshmallowpie Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Nothing with "Hold on Dear Brother" and "All This is That" is a waste of vinyl. But I'll admit the rest of the album isn't that great.
    Mr-Beagle, JL7, Davmoco and 3 others like this.
  15. blaken123

    blaken123 Your Greater Tri-County CD Superstore

    Lexington, KY
    I just got this album a year or so ago. Can't believe how unheralded it is. "Trader" is a contender for "Best Hidden Gem of All Time" award. And California Saga is a fantastic bunch of craziness... borderline maudlin but very listenable and melodic. I like Holland a little better overall than any of the post-Pet Sounds albums that I've heard, including Sunflower and Surf's Up. Honestly, it is the uniqueness of California Saga that gives it the edge over Sunflower and Surf's Up.
    bluerondo and CCrider92 like this.
  16. tmwlng

    tmwlng Forum Resident

    Personally I listen more to Sunflower, Surf's Up and So Tough. But Holland does indeed have its moments. I must admit I'm a bigger fan of their live version of Funky Pretty from their 1973 double live album. But as a whole, Holland is certainly a good album with a great vibe. Sail on, Sailor, Steamboat and the California suite are very enjoyable, but I am most drawn to the stunningly powerful and beautiful The Trader and the laid back, lovely Only with You. I'm a bit on the fence when it comes to Leaving This Town, though their synthesizer experiments on this album are pretty interesting and actually work out for the better. I do enjoy Blondie Chaplin's singing voice, though. Hold on Dear Brother from the preceding album is one of my favorites of theirs.

    I love the Beach Boys. I love Brian Wilson's sense of melody, the innocence and sometimes deep thoughts in the lyrics that he wrote, the inventions and ideas of sound, ambience, vibe; but I cannot - and I have tried - fall for Mount Vernon and Fairway. I do enjoy it on occasion, though. It's really, really far out, especially with the contrasting smoky Jack Rieley narration and Wilson's own cartoon-y narration cracks me up now and again. The odd melody here and there is pretty pleasant; but as a whole I skip this EP and do not listen to it together with Holland. It spoils the mood for me.

    We Got Love luckily made it to the live album, and that is a very good, positive uplifting song too. Holland is certainly one of many gems in the group's astonishing body of work.
    bluerondo, D.B. and CCrider92 like this.
  17. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies vinyl hairline spotter

    Amstelveen (NL)
    I guess you have to be on chemicals to properly enjoy the EP then...
  18. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Toronto, Canada
    It's definitely better than So Tough, and way more consistent than any of their other 70s albums (besides Love You), but I find it has a strangely self-important/self-serious tone for a Beach Boys album. Makes it harder to love than most of their other work IMO. I respect it more than I like it, and I don't respect it as much as I used to since "The Beach Boys do prog rock" is no longer as palatable to me as it once was. How else would you characterize the sound of "Sail on Sailor" or "Steamboat" or even "Leaving This Town"?

    I think Denny's remake of "Only With You" is superior to Carl's -- I miss Denny's voice on the album in general.

    I'm also not crazy about the plodding '70s studio sound, which anonymizes some of the material.
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  19. I don't see how an album with "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone", "Marcella", "Hold On Dear Brother", "All This Is That" and "Cuddle Up" can be called a waste of vinyl. Carl and the Passions is where The Beach Boys were still figuring out how to integrate Blondie and Ricky into the band so it's not a flat out masterwork like Holland.
    bluerondo, ostrichfarm, FJFP and 19 others like this.
  20. Thomas Casagranda

    Thomas Casagranda Forum Resident

    Back in the day when The Beach Boys were a progressive band, and not the oldies cash-cow Mike Love transformed it into.
  21. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies vinyl hairline spotter

    Amstelveen (NL)
    Very much in agreement here...although with a band named Les garçons de la plage you can NEVER be progressive.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
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  22. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    Easily this is The Last Great Beach Boys Album.

    I have to fight the urge to pile on Mike in other threads, but credit where it's due; California Saga, predominantly created by Mike & Al, is a bona fide catalog highlight. Regardless of who composed notes and chords, or who steered the intelligent environmental direction.

    But even better are Steamboat, Trader, Leaving This Town, Funky Pretty.

    And if Sail On Sailor ain't a classic BB Hit, nothin' is.

    I just sorta pretend that Mt Vernon isn't there. o_O
  23. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    I don't love it as much as you, but I agree it's the very last Beach Boys album EVER that sounds like a functioning band still creatively engaged. Next came product (Beach Boys live), the keys to the oldies bandwagon (Endless Summer), the Brian's Back nonsense, the sounds of the band crashing on the rocks, and more...
    monomusic, Davmoco and gramfan like this.
  24. drbeachboy

    drbeachboy Forum Resident

    Back in late 1974 that would have been Dennis who started the transforming, not Mike.
  25. Chuckee

    Chuckee Forum Resident

    Upstate, NY, USA
    Face, they all wanted the extra cash from touring with the oldies, Endless Summer was their first big LP in some time. They did still mix in plenty of newer material.
    Folknik likes this.

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