"Well, this is my first tour on my own without the rest of the guys," said a bashful, smiling Carl Wilson at the Bayou last night. "It's a real thrill; it's like a field trip." Wilson stepped out of the huge shadow of his 20 years with the Beach Boys to lead his own sextet and sing his own songs. Wilson's gorgeous voice and consummate professionalism put across the simple rhythm and blues party songs.
Wilson used his own group to release the rocking dance songs that often got lost in the Beach Boys' baroque complexities. He was joined by gospel singer Myrna Smith, formerly of the Sweet Imspirations and now lyricist on Wilson's new solo album.She lent authentic funk to Wilson's songs and her own two solo numbers. Wilson sang only one Beach Boys' song but brought the familiar, perfect harmonies to two lovely new ballads: "Hurry Love" and "Heaven."
The Bob Duncan Band, a Virginia trio, opened the show with a New Wave update of the mid-'60s Mercy beat. Duncan's singing and songwriting were original enough to make old-fashioned pop melodies and modern, herky-jerky rhythms compatible. He's a talent to watch.