Friends - Capitol 1968
Casual Beach Boys listeners probably know little about these two albums that did not do very well in the charts in 1968-69. At the time the Beach Boys had lost a lot of their popularity and leader Brian Wilson played only a minor role in the group compared to the days, when their were on top of their career. None the less, both albums contain terrific material.
"Friends" is an album with no hit single ( the title track made it to # 47), and most of the songs are very short. But there is a charm to most tracks that make you think of the best material on "Pet Sounds" and "Smile". The production and instrumentation on most songs is sparse, almost minimalistic, and the structure relatively simple; but still mostly great. The title track is probably the most complex song, with great lead vocals from Brian and Carl. "Wake the World", "Meant For You", "When a Man Needs a Woman" and "Little Bird" are other highlights. Remarkable that all members contribute first class material and lead vocals.
The bonus-tracks on the "2 originals on 1" are all great. "Break Away" is probably their strongest post "Smile" single. Some of the lesser known tracks like "Celebrate the News" and "We're Together" are also fine.