An impressive compilation of Stephen Kalinich songs

Various Artists
California Feeling: Words and Music by Stephen Kalinich and Friends
MsMusic Productions (B004Q2QMVY)
★★★★

By David Beard

He may not be a household name, but Stephen Kalinich has done so much with spoken word that once you hear his work, you may feel as though you’ve known him all of your life.

Kalinich first moved to Los Angeles in the mid 1960s. He became fast friends with The Beach Boys, primarily Dennis and Brian Wilson. Drummer Dennis was the wild child of the group, but when he and Stephen spoke, they would discuss the full gamut of life, with all its glorious and dark properties. In 1968, the pair composed Dennis’ debut recordings — “Little Bird” and “Be Still” — which were released on the “Friends album. The recordings were inspired, and showed a side of Dennis that few knew existed.

Since the inception of those songs, Stephen has had his material recorded with Brian Wilson and Sir Paul McCartney — pretty good company.

This new collection brings together more than 20 recordings highlighting Kalinich’s work. The compilation features Carnie and Wendy Wilson; David Marks (original founding member of the Beach Boys); the first 1960s-produced Brian Wilson girl group, The Honeys; actor Stacy Keach; and Dennis Wilson’s son, Carl B. Wilson.

As impressive as Kalinich’s prose is, the most alluring aspect of this collection is that his words work on levels of humanity that are seldom explored with the amount of pure and raw emotion that he allows during the process. The musical treatments — jazz, pop, rap and power ballads — are all-encompassing, but the words remain the star. Suggested listening: “California Feeling,” “111 Crestmont Road,” “Ocean,” “The Magic Hand,” “You’re The Beautiful” and “Little Bird.” stephenjohnkalinich.co.uk

 


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