Friday, January 23, 2009

charlie don't surf

Capitol 2530.

Blank Stares and Cricket Claps put together a post in December last celebrating the sometimes overlooked vocal talent of - genuine surfing - Beach Boy, Dennis Wilson. Dennis, of course, got in some bad out of family company with one Charles Manson, and that post featured "Never Learn Not To Love" from 1969's "20/20", allegedly co-written with Spahn Ranch's most wanted.

Charlie don't surf, but Dennis does.

On June 19th, 1969 Capitol released "Break Away", a joint Brian Wilson and Reggie Dunbar composition, as a summer 45. In the previous month of that same year, Terry Melcher visited Spahn Ranch to "audition" Manson with Family female members lending support. By June, Charlie had began his babbling with regard to "Helter Skelter" in earnest, and by the time Bobby Beausoleil was dispatched with Mary Brunnner and Susan "Sexy Sadie" Atkins (aka Sadie Mae Glutz)† to extort neighbour, Gary Hinman in the run up to the Tate murders, this song would have been all over the radio. The encounter with Hinman in his Topanga Canyon residence ended with Beausoleil stabbing him to death after holding him hostage for a couple of days. One of his female accomplices daubed a Black Panther paw print on the walls in Hinman's spilled blood, and smeared the words "Political Piggy". Breaking away was never a realistic option with Charlie on the prowl.

Helter Skelter. Coming down fast.

Produced by Brian and his ogre of a father, Murray Wilson, this has always been one of my favourite Beach Boys singles. "20/20" was to be the last album release for the Capitol label. The effects of Wilson Sr.'s bullying were to linger well into the next decade and beyond, much like those correctional facility childhood ghosts which continue, doubtless, to fester and feed Manson's institutional madness.

† Thanks to Nathan Ø for noticing my 'squeaky 'gaff. Incidentally, that mugshot of Manson reminds me of a colour R. Crumb strip I have secreted somewhere which alludes to the origins of Mr. Natural as ex-con, pimp and petty gumball machine thief. Comic book art in imitation of something darker. And still f@ckin' funny.

THE BEACH BOYS: BREAK AWAY from "Break Away b/w Celebrate The News" 45 (Capitol) 1969 (US)



davyh said...

Charlie recorded his songs and Adolf's paintings the all-turned-out-OK parallel universe, we're surfing, surfing, surfing.

Some of the best of The Beach Boys stuff fetched up on this strange sweep-up, contractual obligation comp - SMiLE outtakes not the least of it.

Here's to the next swell iB x

ib said...

Nice comment, Davy. I like the "surfing, surfing, surfing" part.

But. Charlie did record his songs (I posted a couple a good while back), though sadly I don't think Melcher had any input, and have you seen Adolf's watercolours ? Truly awful. When his own shortcomings finally registered with him, of course, he turned on the Expressionists and the rest, as they say, is - terrifying - history.

Thanks, man. :)

davyh said...

Damn it, you're right. Still, there's shurely an 'all mass murderers are frustrated artists' PhD going here for anyone who can get a grant for it...

ib said...

Ha! No doubt. Have you seen John Wayne Gacy's clown paintings ? I find clowns unsettling at the best of times, but this guy's Woolworths styled creations are genuinely horrifying.

davyh said...

Great. Now I'm going to have nightmares.


ib said...

Funny you should say that... I just poured myself a very large brandy.



Not to be a stickler for Family trivia, but a squeaky is a Fromme & a Susan mae be a Glutz of the Sadie variety.

ib said...

Damn, Nate (ion)! You're right, of course. Sexy Sadie... And if I remember rightly you bumped into her down the road ?

I'm losing it, big time. Thanks for the correction. I was going to link to your Beausoleil post, but you pruned back on the Christmas spruce; I'm glad I nabbed while I could!

ib said...

Or now I think on it, was it Lynette Fromme ? The "cute" one ?