Beach Boys_2002_Good Timin'It was a case of “spot the Brian Wilson track” in the late 1970s when buying Beach Boys albums – and not every Brian Wilson track at that, just those where he managed to re-create the rich harmonies and vocal textures of his best work. The late 1970s releases, LA (Light Album) and Keeping the Summer Alive, are sometimes cited as the lowest point of the group’s career (although their live shows were still strong). On those records there is just one track on each where Brian’s influence really shows through: “Good Timin’” on LA and (to a lesser extent) “Goin’ On” on Summer. “Good Timin” gave some relief after a long drought – but in fact it turns out to have been written earlier, in 1974, and the impression is that it’s so short (just over two minutes) because it was cobbled together from an existing Brian Wilson fragment. It also shares similarities with the Beach Boys classic “Surfer Girl”. It would have been stronger with a longer fade-out, or (even better) a classic circular ending of interlocking vocal harmony lines (such as on “Till I Die” and many other Brian Wilson productions). But it’s still pretty heart-stopping to hear Carl Wilson’s soaring vocals come straight in on this opening track.

In 1980 one of the last UK performances with the original line up (Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, with the addition of Bruce Johnson) was recorded for posterity at Knebworth House on June 21, 1980). The album and DVD of that concert, released in 2002, was called Good Timin’, but oddly the song itself was cut. There is, however, a video of a performance from Washington just a few weeks later on YouTube.