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The Beach Boys - Nashville Sounds
Warner Music/Warner Music . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . E . PAL


What’s a poor record company to do? Here you are with one of the world’s most renowned and revered groups on your label, they’re still essentially together, but save for one decidedly average almost novelty single they’ve done sweet FA for years except shift back catalogue. The solution? Well, the hugely lucrative country demographic has expressed a partiality to their sounds – KERCHING! Let’s make the Beach Boys go country!

So lo and behold Nashville Sounds was born back in 1996. A vast who’s who – and a few simple “wtf”s – of the country scene were invited along to assail the Beach Boys’ back catalogue in their own styles, with the surviving original members – including the reclusive Brian Wilson - along for the ride, adding their still impeccable harmonies to the mix.

Here we have a documentary which follows the making of the album, giving us an in the studio fly-on-the-wall look at the goings on, interviews with the country folk lassoed in for the project and a bit of Beach Boys history from the now generally rather leathery band members themselves.

Favourites such as Don’t Worry Baby, Little Deuce Coupe, I Get Around, I Can Hear Music and the still awesome Pet Sounds classic Sloop John B share airtime with an array of album tracks and lesser known works, with the likes of Willie Nelson, Junior Brown, Tammy Wynette and Kathy Troccoli injecting the twang. Be warned though, few songs are featured in their entirety, and despite the inclusion of a couple of tracks that didn’t make the CD release, fans may be left wanting with what, in the end, is only a just shy of an hour presentation.


Visually, things look decent enough for a full frame documentary, although not as sharp and clean as you’d expect from something that’s only a few years old.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on hand does quite a fine job, yes sirree Bob... With rears used to subtly pad out the sound rather than blare out like a Marilyn Manson nightmare. Now just imagine if they had this sort of recording technology back in the ‘60s...

As far as extras go, it’s pretty slim pickings. Apparent “journalist and author” Sylvie Simmons provides a sparse commentary, piping up every so often to give background information on the various guest performers. Often with extended periods lacking her input, it can actually be quite jarring when her ever-so-polite English tones do pop up. Otherwise there’s just over five minutes of a dreadful cowboy hat with Sylvie beneath it giving some background to the whole Nashville Sounds project, although at times her mile-a-minute approach and tendency to manically dart her eyes around makes one wonder if this wasn’t filmed at (six) gunpoint...

Beach Boys obsessives should be a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ and roping a copy of this purty little baby real pronto, and if you’re partial to “both kinds” of music then you may just broaden your horizons by hopping on board. Seeing the Boys in later years also serves as a great example of why slip, slop, slapping is a mighty fine idea...

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  •   And I quote...
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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