Brian Wilson’s “That Lucky Old Sun” Shootout, Vinyl vs. CD

In this shootout, I’ll be comparing CD and vinyl versions of the Brian Wilson solo album, That Lucky Old Sun, released on Capitol Records in 2008.

Jim Esch


Brian Wilson’s been in the news for unfortunate reasons. His wife died a few weeks ago, and there are reports that Brian is suffering from dementia and can’t take care of himself. It’s a sad, sad situation. Love and mercy to you and your family, Brian.

But this news isn’t what drove me to perform the shootout comparison. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, because I have been tempted to trade in the vinyl copy ever since I acquired the CD.

Now that I have a new turntable, I thought I better give the vinyl a chance to prove its mettle. In the final analysis, which version is better? Should I get rid of one or the other?

That Lucky Old Sun was a rather ambitious effort. It’s a concept album about Southern California, a love letter to Los Angeles, as it were. Most of the tunes were co-written with Scott Bennett, a member of Brian’s band at the time. Van Dyke Parks, his collaborator on the SMiLE sessions, was involved, too. Parks wrote spoken word interludes between many of the tracks, which gives it a poetic touch.

The album opens with the standard “Lucky Old Sun.” And this motif is reprised often in different settings as the songs unfold.