December 3, 2022

The Beach Boys - Sail on Sailor - 1972 Boxset drives home the brilliance of this magical and underrated period of Beach Boys history

The Beach Boys - Sail On Sailor - 1972 Boxset Review


Sail on Sailor The Beach Boys Super Deluxe Boxset, AirdriftSignals Music Magazine

We live in a time where the excess of everything in media can feel overwhelming; that there's so much music, film, and entertainment to consume that nothing feels sacred anymore and nearly everything that's made has been touched upon before. The question of deep and soulful music that stands out in the sea of music past and present can be answered with the many greats who have graced our collective culture, however, none of them have had as varied and tumultuous of a career as the brilliant yet personally flawed Beach Boys. Their latest archival boxset of unreleased live and studio recordings focuses on a time when the magic of music made them and changed them for the better. 

Sail on Sailor - 1972 is such a great and enlightening release that it's hard to overstate the amazing sounds contained in this extraordinary set. It was a time when Brian Wilson's mental state was forcing his brother Carl's hand in taking the reins and assuming the role of bandleader. Although Brian's reluctance to write songs after his infamous mental break was already a thing, Carl was able to take the group in a direction of his short-lived high school rock band, Carl and The Passions. After recruiting two new Beach Boys members Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar on guitar and drums, and the departure of Bruce Jonhston, the new lineup recorded and released Carl and The Passions - "So Tough", a passion project of Carl's sprinkled with elements of rock, soul, and gospel. 

Their follow-up, Holland, was more well-received at the time as a more progressive rock record, but both have since become great fan-favorites and classics of fans in the know. Brian's brief mode of inspiration was a whimsical fairy tale featuring the Pied Piper. His resulting Mount Vernon and Fairway suite perplexed the rest of the band. Carl and the rest who initially rejected it for inclusion on Holland put Brian into a deep depression, which forced the group to reconsider. Carl then began to take a liking to the off-kilter fairy tale story, and thus Holland became packaged with the suite as a bonus EP. It’s music and child-like wonder still to this day remains a musical treat and an artifact of Brian’s progress and personal journey. 

Besides these two seminal albums which were recorded the same year comes the treasure trove of session takes, acapellas, completed yet unreleased studio tracks, and live cuts, most of them never before released. The 2022 mixes and vocal takes show off the genius of The Beach Boys, while the live concert sets, some of which were cherry-picked for the awesome The Beach Boys In Concert double album, shows this lineup in rare form unlike any live rendition of the band from any other era. Live songs have better instrumentation than previous live concerts, and are noticeably more fresh and rocking than any of their later concerts as they transitioned into an oldies nostalgia act. 

Final Thoughts

On this 60th anniversary year of the group’s inception, Sail on Sailor - 1972 is a spectacular look at one of the coolest times to be a Beach Boys fan. It’s wild to think that it’s the 50th anniversary of the recordings of these two albums. Still, the music is just as fresh, amazing, and unique as it’s ever been and these unreleased cuts only seal the deal.  

Sail on Sailor - 1972 2LP vinyl set
Sail on Sailor - 1972 6 CD Super Deluxe set

Sail on Sailor - 1972 5LP vinyl set