The Beach Boys: Feel Flows — The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 (Capitol/UMe/Brother, 5 CDs). What would summer be without music from The Beach Boys? Well, summer is nearly up, but we finally have some “new” music from the Boys, at least previously unreleased music, as 108 of the tracks in this box set are making their debut. They include live recordings, demos, alternate versions and mixes, instrumentals both with backing vocals and without, and a cappella tracks, all centered around the 1970 album “Sunflower” and the 1971 album “Surf’s Up,” both of which were originally August releases.

The period covered in this new box set was a pivotal one for The Beach Boys as they tried to find their commercial place in a fast-evolving musical landscape. Their masterpiece, “Pet Sounds” (1966), had been a commercial failure – it would be years before it would be recognized as a classic – and helped lead to the band leaving Capitol Records and signing with Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records. Radio – particularly FM – was moving away from pop into rock and soul more, and The Beach Boys did not participate in the three musical milestones of the Sixties, namely Monterey Pop, the Summer of Love and Woodstock.

The two albums, generally underrated, were a true collaborative effort, as all six band members contributed to the songwriting, while the group hunkered down at Brian Wilson’s home – the recording studio was beneath his bedroom – and wrote the kind of songs they wanted to write, still retaining their usually gorgeous vocal harmonies. Both albums have been remastered here and, overall, the sound is great throughout the set.

Among the many things that emerge from listening to the set is how prolific Dennis Wilson was as a songwriter, even if previous albums had not shown that (much like George Harrison with The Beatles). The fifth disc here, alone, features 10 songs written by Dennis, with six co-written by Daryl Dragon (yes, the Captain of The Captain & Tennille). In fact, “Sunflower” opens with Dennis’ “Slip on Through,” which features horns. Dennis also wrote three other songs on the album, including the densely-arranged “All I Want to Do,” which Mike Love sings, and “It’s About Time,” a song about loving one other with nice vocal layering and a bright chorus. Dennis’ ballad “Forever” has become a standard.

Other “Sunflower” highlights include the Brian Wilson-penned “This Whole World” and the slightly gospelish “Add Some Music to Your Day” – even at the dentist – which Love co-wrote. Brian, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine combined on the pretty ballad “Our Sweet Love,” while Jardine and Brian co-wrote the whimsical, bird-viewpoint “At My Window.” Wave sounds open the more experimental “Cool Cool Water,” written by Brian and Love, which closes the album.

Disc one also contains six previously unreleased live tracks, from 1973 to 1993, including the rocking “Susie Cincinnati” and “Back Home” from 1976, with both songs having been included on the then-recently-released “15 Big Ones” collection, and a cover of Lieber-Stoller’s “Riot in Cell Block 9,” which would form the basis of The Beach Boys’ “Student Demonstration Time,” a track on the “Surf’s Up” album.

Next are eight bonus tracks, including new mixes of “Celebrate the News” (the B-side of the pre-album single “Break Away,” which also is included here) and “Sam Miguel,” a slightly hedonistic song by Dennis. There also is the fun “Loop De Loop,” a 2019 mix of the bright, with horns, “Good Time” and a cover of Huddie Ledbetter’s “Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song).”

Disc two contains the remastered “Surf’s Up,” the album that had the iconic cover painting of an exhausted Native American at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the image being based on James Earle Fraser’s 1915 sculpture, “End of the Trail.” The album includes two ecological-based songs in “Don’t Go Near the Water” and “A Day in the Life of a Tree,” as well as the noisy, complete with sirens, bluesy rocker, “Student Demonstration Time,” featuring band newcomer Blondie Chaplin on bass. The LP’s title track, a Brian Wilson-Van Dyke Parks collaboration, was first played in 1967 on television, and here also is included in a 1973 live version, a remixed 2019 version, an a cappella version and a 1971 version with a 1966 Brian vocal, examples of how this set reveals new facets of the song’s craft. The whimsical “Disney Girls” recalls earlier times, while the rocker “Long Promised Road” is about trying for reform. “Feel Flows,” with its nice flute portion, was latter used by Cameron Crowe to end his “Almost Famous” film, and gives this collection its title. Curiously, Dennis did not contribute writing to any of the album’s songs.

Disc two also has five live tracks from 1971 to 1993, and eight bonus tracks, including the fun “H.E.L.P. Is on the Way,” about eating better, the breakup song “Sweet and Bitter” and the single “Sound of Free.” “Lady (Fallin’ in Love)” is more psychedelic with strings, while Carl sings the cover of “Seasons in the Sun.” Dennis wrote “Sound of Free,” “Lady” and “4th of July,” the latter getting a 2019 mix. Brian’s “My Solution,” which contains spoken dialogue, is like a horror film. Love’s “Big Sur” is a wonderful tribute. (The band did perform at the 1970 Big Sur Folk Festival.)

The third disc, all previously unreleased, includes 19 recordings from the “Sunflower” sessions – 11 of these are instrumental tracks with only backing vocals — and 10 a cappella versions. These tracks and similar ones on disc four from the “Surf’s Up” sessions essentially break down the songs into the music and the voices, allowing one to get a better sense of the brilliance that went into creating the tracks. For example, the music and backing vocals tracks of both “Add Some Music to Your Life” and “It’s About Time” shine, as does the piano on “Tears in the Morning.” There is a more haunting, alternate 2019 mix of Cool Cool Water,” as well as an alternate mix of “Slip on Through.”

Of the 10 a cappella tracks, four are only excerpts, while there are full versions of “Cotton Fields,” “Got to Know the Woman” (featuring at least one female voice) and “All I Wanna Do.”

Disc four, again with everything previously unreleased, has 11 session tracks, with six just the music and backing vocals. “Take a Load Off Your Feet” has an alternate vocal,” while “Lookin’ at Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)” has intro chatter and an alternate mix. “Til I Die” is a long version with alternate lyrics, while “Surf’s Up” gets a 2019 mix. Both are highlights and feature Brian’s vocals. There are seven a cappella tracks, including full “Don’t Go Near the Water” and “Long Promised Road,” with a strong Carl lead vocal. Carl also is strong on “Surf’s Up.” The disc has six bonus tracks as well, including the amusing “Walkin’” and “I Just Got My Pay,” both in 2019 mixes.

The final disc, called a bonus disc, has 29 more previously unreleased tracks, including seven alternate versions, a trio of instrumental tracks, and the aforementioned 10 songs by Dennis, including the six co-written with Dragon. The “Surf’s Up” here has a vocal by Brian. The track “Back Home” allows one to hear the band working out the song in the studio, before being presented here as an alternate version as well. “Won’t You Tell Me” is presented as both a demo version and a 2019 mix. Dennis-Dragon’s “Behold the Night” is a song of longing, while they also wrote the medley “All of My Love/ Ecology” and “Old Movie (Cuddle Up).” Towards the end, there is a brief instrumental cover of The Beatles’ “You Never Give Me Your Money,” the band singing “Happy Birthday” to Brian, before launching into “God Only Knows,” and a closing a cappella version of “Marcella.”

The set is housed in a book-like package that includes 44 pages of unreleased and rare photos, lyric sheets, tape box images, recording artifacts, insightful new liner notes by noted radio veteran and Beach Boys aficionado Howie Edelson, and new and archival interviews from bandmembers Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Mike Love, among others. Grade: compilation and package A

Bob Marley and The Wailers: The Capitol Sessions ’73 (Tuff Gong/ Room 609 Films/Mercury Studios Media/ Universal Music, CD + DVD, NR, 88 min.). Dumped after five dates on a tour with headliner Sly and The Family Stone, Marley and The Wailers had some free time and were booked by producer Denny Cordell to record in a closed-door session at the Capitol Records Tower on Oct. 24, 1973. Cordell, shooting with four cameras and mixing “on the fly” to a colorized tape, filmed the band recording 12 songs. The tapes have been painstakingly restored and are released for the first time in this CD and DVD package. The music also is available as a standalone CD, 2LP pressed on green marble vinyl, 2LP pressed on Rasta swirl vinyl (red, yellow and green – available exclusively at Sound of Vinyl) and digital formats.

Marley is very much in control here, frequently stopping a song because the rhythm was not right or for another reason. It means the DVD does not flow all that well, but the music the band lays down is fine.

This version of the band is rather unique, captured 10 years after the band started out in Jamaica. They already had had reggae and ska hits back home, and had just had a successful U.K. tour, before starting their shortened U.S. tour. Having signed to Island Records, they had released the successful albums “Burnin’” and “Catch a Fire” within six months. This is the only time this lineup of the band was caught on film, with original members Marley and Peter “Tosh” McIntosh (both play guitars, sing and write songs) joined by their previous vocal coach Joe Higgs on harmonica and conga drums. Higgs replaced original member Novillo “Bunny” Livingston, who left after the U.K. tour.

Additional performers are the rhythm section of brothers Aston “Family Man” Barrett on bass and Carlton Barrett on drums, plus Earl “Wya” Lindto on keyboards. Watching this show, I came to a greater appreciation of what Lindo brought to the band’s sound, as he plays piano and “fat” organ. The Barrett brothers would continue to perform with Marley throughout his career.

Tosh sings lead on two songs he wrote, the opening “You Can’t Blame the Youth” and “Stop That Train.” Tosh and Marley co-wrote the incendiary show closer, “Get Up Stand Up,” which only had been released to radio a few days earlier. The sound quality is superb throughout and the band is tight, even with the false starts. Marley jumps around while Tosh sings “You Can’t Blame the Youth” and four of the six take to various drums for “Rastaman Chant.” The band easily transitions from rocksteady grooves to more amped-up playing.

Other highlights are “Slave Driver,” which contains the lyric “catch a fire” and recalls journeying on a slave ship; Lindo’s organ start to “Burnin’ and Lootin’” and its tale of oppression; “Kinky Reggae” and “Stir It Up,” both with longer instrumental intros; and “No More Trouble.”

The video runs for about six minutes before the band starts playing and the last four minutes are them walking off and card bios of the musicians, but the DVD does make up for that by having alternate versions of “Doppy Conqueror” and “Rastaman Chant” that last 9:40. Grade: B+