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Wilson, Carl - 1983 Youngblood
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on May 02 2017, In 1983 Articles , 2 Comments , 376 Reads , Print

ARTIST: Wilson, Carl
ALBUM: Youngblood
LABEL: Caribou
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2012, Caribou Records (Japan), SICP 2039


LINEUP: 01 What More Can I Say * 02 She's Mine * 03 Givin' You Up * 04 One More Night Alone * 05 Rockin' All Over The World * 06 What You Do To Me * 07 Young Blood * 08 Of The Times * 09 Too Early To Tell * 10 If I Could Talk To Love * 11 Time

TRACK LISTING: Carl Wilson - vocals, guitar * assorted guests

With The Beach Boys reaching a commercial low point in the early 80's, founding member Carl Wilson decided to branch out into a solo career, which sadly never took off. Listening to some Beach Boys albums of the period there was certainly an AOR element present, if not overwhelming. Wilson seemingly took these cues for his 1981 self-titled debut, which rustled up some respectable West Coast material, far from the Beach Boys and closer to the likes of Pablo Cruise instead. The album fared with little success however and Wilson took another shot in 1983 with 'Youngblood.' This album is far more AOR inclined and features a slew of session luminaries of the day, too many to print here. This one seems to have flown under the radar over the years and prior to this review I was unaware of its existence.

The Songs
Anyone expecting Beach Boys type harmonies and soft pop will be pleasantly surprised by this set, which is far more hard rock inspired in places. There's a few covers and outside writers used for half the tracks, but it doesn't detract from the overall AOR effect. 'What More Can I Say' kicks the album off in bold fashion, upbeat and punchy AOR which is perfect for those who prefer the 1983 timeframe. 'She's Mine' is cut from the same cloth and contains stunning vocal harmonies, this one competing with the likes of Le Roux, Michael Bolton or Greg Guidry for AOR supremacy. This one is worth the price of admission alone. 'Givin' You Up' is a supreme West Coast ballad which recalls the Chris Mancini effort from the same year. 'One More Night Alone' is a further ballad, this one written by Beach Boys session man Billy Hinsche. It has country overtones and is the kind of track you'd expect from AOR era Firefall or Poco. Wilson takes a shot at the John Fogerty and Status Quo classic 'Rockin' All Over the World' and pulls it off nicely, showing a heavier side in the process. The John Hall penned 'What You Do To Me' was a minor hit, typically catchy melodic rock from the former Orleans man. The title track is a cover of the 1950's rock standard and can be overlooked with some ease. The upfront hard rock of 'Too Early To Tell' is fairly brazen and followed by the syrupy ballad 'If I Could Talk To Love.' This one evokes John O'Banion at his wimpiest, but still contains enough drama to recommend it.

In Summary
This was Wilson's last solo shot before The Beach Boys resumed normal service and despite the overall lack of success, there's enough quality here to warrant this as a triumph regardless. Of course Wilson passed away in 1998, but it's more than safe to say his musical legacy lives on. 'Youngblood' may not be an all-time great, but easily qualifies as an obscure AOR gem.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 02 2017 15:47:10
Wilson also released a couple of live performances around the 1981-1983 timeframe. I might put these up in our DL Forum shortly.
#2 | Jez on May 07 2017 02:59:22
Great album. Worth getting for the first 4 tracks alone 'Givin' You Up' is a blinder. Dips a bit in the middle, but finishes strongly with the last 3 cuts '. A really nice blast from the past this one
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