Carl And The Passions – So Tough by The Beach Boys


Daryl Dragon died two years ago today on January 2nd 2019. He was the “Captain” in Captain and Tenille and he played with The Beach Boys for five years.

Captain and Tenille had several MOR hits including “Love Will Keep Us Together”, written by Neil Sedaka (who freely admitted that he had copied the chord progression from “Do It Again” by The Beach Boys). It was the best selling single in the USA in 1975. Hal Blaine played drums on the song and, as a member of “The Wrecking Crew”, he had played on many Beach Boys albums, including every song on “Pet Sounds” when Dennis Wilson, the Beach Boys regular drummer, was not used. They released five more singles that made the Top Five in the USA and in 1976 performed to an audience of President Gerald Ford and Queen Elizabeth in The White House as part of the USA’s bicentennial celebrations.

Tenille is Toni Tenille who was married to Daryl Dragon from 1975 to 2014. For six months in 1980/81 she hosted a talk show, “The Toni Tenille Show” and Daryl Dragon was an occasional guest. The clips make it clear that he is, unsurprisingly, very uncomfortable being interviewed by his wife on live TV. I’m going to refuse to appear when Roo invites me onto her show. Daryl Dragon said that he had absolutely no forewarning about his wife’s unhappiness and the divorce was a complete surprise. Toni Tenille said that during her marriage she had been lonely and isolated and that he had never shown her any affection. However, they remained friends and she was with him when he died of kidney failure.

Daryl Dragon started playing with The Beach Boys after an unsuccessful career in minor bands with his brothers Doug and Dennis in a group called The Dragons. He made uncredited contributions to songs on “Sunflower” and “Surf’s Up” and he played keyboards on live performances by The Beach Boys, normally wearing a sailor’s cap which led to Mike Love giving him the nickname Captain Keyboard. The nickname stuck when he stopped playing with the band and he and Toni Tenille (who briefly toured with The Beach Boys for a year – the only female ever to play live with them) formed Captain and Tenille.

“Carl And The Passions – So Tough” is a sadly underestimated album, released between the two more well known albums “Surf’s Up” and “Holland”. My two favourite tracks are not typical Beach Boys songs but are emotional, romantic, heavily orchestrated pieces sung by a very fragile sounding Dennis Wilson. “Make It Good” and “Cuddle Up” were both co-written by Dennis Wilson and Daryl Dragon.

Carl And The Passions was the name of a high school band that Brian Wilson and Mike Love played in together. There are eight tracks and they can be described in pairs.

“Hold On Dear Brother” and “Here She Comes” were written and sung by Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar. They were members of a group called The Flames and Carl Wilson heard them in London, subsequently producing an album for them. When Dennis Wilson injured his hand, he was unable to play drums for two years so The Beach Boys hired drummer Ricky Fataar to temporarily replace him. At the same time, Bruce Johnson left the band and guitarist and singer Blondie Chaplin stepped in. While neither of these songs sound very much like Beach Boys’ songs, I like them very much. They could be criticised as plodding and lacking the trademark harmonies but I find them charming and unusually funky.

“Marcella” and “You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone” are classic Beach Boys songs from this period. Great melodies, beautiful harmonies and wonderful lead singing from Carl Wilson. Both songs were co written by Brian Wilson with Jack Rieley, the band’s manager. Tandyn Almer, the writer of “Along Comes Mary” by The Association, helped with the lyrics of “Marcella”.

“He Come Down” and “All This Is That” are lovely songs, co written by different combinations of Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine. Both of these songs could easily fit onto “Sunflower”, “Friends”, “Holland” or “Surf’s Up” and I can think of no higher praise.

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

6 thoughts on “Carl And The Passions – So Tough by The Beach Boys

  1. ‘Funky’? I always had a problem with this word. What does it mean? Written in the key of ‘funk’? What is ‘funk’ – and how is it ‘funky’?


  2. Funky is the adjective that describes funk music which de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bassline and a drum part often at slower tempos than other popular music.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Funky, dirty, a bit sleazy in parts. I love this album. It’s in my top 5 BB albums for sure. It’s an album that doesn’t quite sound like a BB album, so I can see why some people switched off, but quality is quality, and He Come Down is out and out great.

    Liked by 2 people

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