Yesterday's post included a cover from Brian Wilson that had me thinking about a handful of fascinating songs he did, seemingly out of nowhere, in mid 90s for tribute albums and other compilations. My favorite of these appeared on 'Trios,' an out-of-print 1994 album from bassist Rob Wasserman where on each track he is accompanied by two other well-known artists.
The album opens with "Fantasy Is Reality/Bells of Madness," a song Wasserman performed with Wilson and Wilson's daughter Carnie. It was written by Sam Phillips, Wasserman and Brian and produced by Don Was. You may remember Was directed the documentary on Wilson's life that would come out a year later,
'I Just Wasn't Made For These Times.' The first time I heard Wilson's background vocal come in I got goosebumps. There is no doubting that's Wilson's on the piano either. It's very Beach Boys. The biggest surprise, however, is Carnie's lead vocal. Beautiful. I should also mention my favorite Wilson songs are the ones with lyrics that prove, without a doubt, he is crazy. This album came out while I was working at a record store, and I played it over and over in the shop. It was pure torture to most of my younger co-workers, but I did convert one or two of them.
Wasserman's second song on 'Trios' is with Elvis Costello and Marc Ribot. "Put Your Big Toe in the Milk of Human Kindness" was written by Costello in 1986 "as an imaginary theme song for an imaginary movie," and his vocal is in a crooning style we would hear quite a bit more of in future years. I would love to tell you the rest of the album is of the same quality as these first two songs, but I don't think I have even made it through even as far as the third track in the past 15 years.
Rob Wasserman With Carnie Wilson and Brian Wilson - Fantasy Is Reality/Bells of Madness (mp3)
Rob Wasserman With Elvis Costello and Marc Ribot - Put Your Big Toe in the Milk of Human Kindness (mp3)
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