Al Jardine is doing just fine

I’ve been a huge Beach Boys fan for years. I saw them (sans Brian) a few years back and they put on an enjoyable show. Obviously, I would have preferred the lineup of the Wilson brothers, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston, but that’s impossible for plenty of reasons. Given my enthusiasm, I’m familiar with all the members and the albums worth one’s time. Ask any casual listener, however, and they’ll probably be unable to name more than two guys from the band. They may know Brian, Dennis, and Mike, but definitely not Al Jardine. Well, Jardine was the band’s rhythm guitarist for most of their career and often sang the falsetto part in their harmonies. Most notably, he sang lead on “Help Me, Rhonda,” “California Saga: California,” and “Vegetables.” In recent years, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston have continued to tour as the Beach Boys while Brian Wilson is in the midst of a successful solo career. Jardine’s productivity, however, has been a mystery. Until now. The Improper clues us in that Jardine is touring with his new act, Al Jardine’s Endless Summer, in support of his first solo album.

Jardine, to me, never really stood out as a singular artist; he was always there with the Wilson Boys, Brian, Dennis and Carl. Now, seeing him front his own act, Al Jardine’s Endless Summer was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.

His sons, Matt and Adam now handle the Brian-like vocals and boy, they are impressive. Also joining them was David Marks who was, one of the original Beach Boys, according to Cuddy, even replacing Jardine for a time. Boy, imagine having to live with that!

But tonight he was back and certainly impressive. Richie Cannata, late of the Billy Joel’s band was on horns, percussion and keyboards and was simply dazzling, adding a nice extra-texture to everything. Jardine will release his first solo album, A Postcard From California on Sept. 7, and on it he has guest spots from Brian, Neil Young, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Glen Campbell, Flea and Steve Miller.

I’ll see if I can catch them when they release a tour schedule.


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