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Author Topic: When did Brian stop using the Baldwin?  (Read 9959 times)
monicker
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« on: July 30, 2011, 10:08:00 AM »

Last recording to make use of the organ? Also, is it known when he first got it? We are introduced to it on record with Smiley Smile, but did he own it well before that?
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Wylson
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2011, 10:23:24 AM »

I can't remember the specifics, but in an interview Al said that Brian was given it by Baldwin around the time of Smile, and that Brian insisted on using it on every song (which in Al's mind spoiled the recording of H&V)
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2011, 11:04:33 AM »

I thought I'd read that it was given to him sometime in spring '67 - it doesn't appear on any Smile sessions that I know of, so sometime shortly before Smiley recording commenced in June is my best guess.
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2011, 01:21:34 PM »

I can't remember the specifics, but in an interview Al said that Brian was given it by Baldwin around the time of Smile, and that Brian insisted on using it on every song (which in Al's mind spoiled the recording of H&V)

Was it really given by Baldwin? I knew it was a gift, but I didn't know who had offered it.
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Mark H.
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2011, 05:21:05 PM »

I thought I'd read somewhere that it was a gift from Murry.
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2011, 07:05:24 PM »

I thought I'd read somewhere that it was a gift from Murry.

This was my impression as well.
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David Kennedy
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2011, 10:26:50 PM »

Does anyone know exactly what kind of Baldwin it was?
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Dunderhead
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2011, 10:28:52 PM »

I think it was determined in a previous thread that it was an HT2R.

http://www1.picturepush.com/photo/a/1188504/480/Baldwin/BaldwinHT2R.jpg?v0
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2011, 03:16:33 AM »

After some research I had determined it was a HT2R (it had just been introduced in 1967, and had this optional white/gold trim), which was confirmed by Stephen Desper.

And yes, I now remember reading somewhere that it was a gift from Murry. But I also just remembered that Brian said in a 1966 (!) Melody Maker interview that his dad had given him an organ for his birthday. But did he refer to his 1966 birthday, or a previous one? Because he might have talked about another organ. Or maybe he got one of the very first HT2Rs manufactured in 1966... Or maybe it was a HT2 and not a HT2R after all.
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2011, 04:33:44 AM »

It appears the Baldwin HT2R had a built in drum machine, refered to as a drum module. Could this be what was used in some recordings, notably "Lady"?
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2011, 05:57:53 AM »

It appears the Baldwin HT2R had a built in drum machine, refered to as a drum module. Could this be what was used in some recordings, notably "Lady"?

According to Desper, no.  The drum machine sounds heard on Lady and Til' I Die are from a Maestro Rhythm King, which is basically just one of those organ drum modules as a stand-alone unit. 

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjFj2mkFYsc
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2011, 02:25:50 PM »

It appears the Baldwin HT2R had a built in drum machine, refered to as a drum module. Could this be what was used in some recordings, notably "Lady"?

Also called the "rhythm drawer" - it appears some HT2Rs had it and some didn't, so it's not a reliable way of telling whether Brian's organ was a HT2 or a HT2R...  Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2011, 04:44:15 PM »

For the record, I definitely remember hearing that Baldwin had given the white theater organ to Brian as a gift. I'm sticking to that version until I can find confirmation either way. I'm thinking perhaps whatever the organ was which Murry gave Brian was a different model.

A few photos to consider:

For reference, this is Brian's white Baldwin organ in Hawaii:



*This* is the same Baldwin organ later shown in Brian's home studio, from film edited to "Time To Get Alone" in "American Band", proving it was still there after Smiley and Wild Honey at least:


Now compare those to this shot of Brian playing an organ at his house during the Smile era, in front of the infamous doll display:


The keyboard Brian is at in the house photo looks to be from a Hammond spinet model...notice directly to Brian's left both a brown woodgrain finish on the cabinet and the fast/slow switch for the Leslie. The Baldwin was white and had a different layout on the console. Could this brown woodgrain finish organ have been the gift from Murry if he did indeed gift Brian with an organ in '66?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 04:45:15 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2011, 05:01:03 PM »

I'm posting this just for fun, with a story:

On an older board (Smile Shop?) the topic of Brian's Baldwin organ was being discussed, along with some of the same folks posting here in this thread. At around the same time, if I remember how it happened, this photo was posted online completely unrelated to the discussion, Brian, Smiley Smile, whatever:


This is the Baldwin model Brian used, only in brown finish rather than Brian's white finish. This one also had the Leslie cabinet included (it's off to the left...). If my memory is accurate, a church somewhere in the Northeast US was renovating and needed to clear space, I guess, so they were offering this organ for sale at a very low price, or maybe even as a "You-haul-it-away" free offer. Was it Ebay? Was it a "free" classified in the days before Craigslist? Would Josh remember? I don't know for sure, but it was a great opportunity to own the model Baldwin we all know and love from Smiley...if I had more room for it and a way to transport it to PA I'd have picked it up. It's the second classic organ I missed acquiring in my life, the first was a black Hammond M3 in Boston for 400 bucks. Damn.

I like this picture because you can see more detail, including the pedals which Brian would have used on "Fall Breaks..." when he had them played with hands instead of feet!
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2011, 05:38:01 PM »

Pretty sure ebay...I don't think it was free but it was very, very affordable and you were indeed required to pick it up.  Wonder where it ended up.
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2011, 06:05:56 PM »

Hey guitarfool2002, just out of curiosity, where are you in PA? Maybe we live near each other.  Grin
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monicker
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2011, 07:06:53 PM »

That’s a very good theory that Murry gave Brian another organ, and then Baldwin gave him the Baldwin right before the Smiley sessions. It’s funny though, that means that Brian probably very quickly put Murry’s gift aside to make room for his new obsession.

I didn’t think there was doubt about it being around after Wild Honey. Isn’t it all over the Friends record? No one knows the last recording to feature the Baldwin then? 

Regarding the above story, i remember a young kid from (i think) Poughkeepsie, NY, who used to post a lot around 2004, getting, if i recall correctly, a similar model or possibly the same model Baldwin, either free or very, very cheap, and telling us folks here about it. I think he may have uploaded some mp3s of him playing it. Is this the same thing Craig is thinking of? But i'm pretty sure that that was from craigslist, which, by the way, has been around since 2000 or so. Where i live, it’s ridiculous how many organs of all sorts people are constantly giving away. I’ve run out of space in my tiny apartment, but as soon as i get a studio type space, i am starting my organ collection in earnest, as well as a good arsenal of orchestra percussion. 
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2011, 07:34:07 PM »

What kind of guitar is Al playing in that group picture? The body looks like a Gibson, but the neck sure doesn't. Maybe it's just the odd angle of the picture.
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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2011, 07:45:11 PM »

What kind of guitar is Al playing in that group picture? The body looks like a Gibson, but the neck sure doesn't. Maybe it's just the odd angle of the picture.

Could be an Epiphone.

Murry is said to have given Brian various presents.  The organ, the Chickering Grand piano, and a set of Neumann U67s for the home studio are all items supposedly gifted.
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monicker
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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 08:04:25 PM »

A set of Neumann U67s...Jesus. Nice gift.  
This, amongst other things, goes to show how well off this once working class family was.
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2011, 08:24:51 PM »

A set of Neumann U67s...Jesus. Nice gift.  
This, amongst other things, goes to show how well off this once working class family was.

Well, they were a little cheaper then than they are now.
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« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2011, 09:35:44 PM »

What kind of guitar is Al playing in that group picture? The body looks like a Gibson, but the neck sure doesn't. Maybe it's just the odd angle of the picture.

That is a Fender Coronado Electric XII, 12-string electric guitar. The giveaway is the headstock,  which looks like a hockey stick - that's a trademark of 60's Fender 12-string electrics. It looks like a Gibson or Epiphone because Fender was looking for a design to compete with Gibson's 335 thin semi-hollowbody design which was popular, as was Epiphone's. Notice the headstock color matches the body, that was a custom-color option too which not many of them got.  It's not a really valuable guitar model to collectors and not really a good playing guitar either by their reputation, but I think collectors like the look and the colors of them.

I wonder what happened to that guitar, has anyone ever seen Al playing it since Hawaii 1967?
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« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2011, 09:36:59 PM »

Hey guitarfool2002, just out of curiosity, where are you in PA? Maybe we live near each other.  Grin

Near Valley Forge.
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2011, 09:45:47 PM »

That photo of Brian in front of the toy display at the organ: There is a wider, uncropped version of that same photo which shows a book on top of the sheet music holder on the organ as well as the organ's drawbars on top of the console....does anyone have that and could they post it if possible? I'm almost certain he's playing a Hammond B3 or another "3" model Hammond in that shot and the uncropped photo would confirm that either way.
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« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2011, 09:53:41 PM »

I found the interview! Cheesy Al talking about the Baldwin organ - according to this interview in Goldmine July 2000, Baldwin gave Brian the organ:

The song was great, but the sonic value was bad. We were experimenting in that studio with limited equipment. We had just finished “Good Vibrations” in Columbia Studios with the greatest equipment ever made at the time, state-of-the-art limiters and compressors and equalisers  and the most exotic microphones and state-of -the-art recording machines. And the next thing we did is we decompress and we take The Beach Boys P.A. system, take it home and break it down. It was designed by our engineer, set that up and then used that as our playback monitors and rented a 16-track machine. And that was our studio. So no matter how good you are, it's gonna be limited to the equipment that you are able to record with. I'm trying to figure out how we went from United-Western and Columbia to Brian's living room. I'll have to ask [Steve] Desper, our engineer about that. It must have been a conception of his and Nick Grillo, our manager at the time. There must have been something related to costs. It was certainly costing an arm and a leg to record at these studios. So “Heroes And Villains” had no sonic energy, I can't explain. If you listen to the record it's kind of flat. The mastering maybe could have helped. I don't know if it was mastered properly. Al I know is that it took a while for it to kick into gear. Anyway, I think that really deflated Brian. I think he just completely went into a tailspin, because he thought that was his masterpiece. And I did too. I really thought it was great, but I could hear the difference. I could hear the edge was gone. There was no edge on the vocals, there was no edge on the track, there was no edge on the piano. In fact we didn't have the piano that we started with which we used. That tack piano is key to the whole thing. If you listen to our first box set, it had a bunch of permutations of “Heroes And Villains.” And sonically you hear where it's going, and we just never get any closure. It's a lot of loose ends. So finally we got closure, but we lost the sonics part of it. We lost the value of the musicianship. Then I think we had these crummy instruments too. I think we had this Baldwin organ, a beautiful organ, I shouldn't say crummy. The Baldwin organ company decided to give Brian his organ, very nice. [/i]But Brian became so obsessed with this organ that everything became focused around this organ. The “Woody Woodpecker Symphony.” I don't know whether you've heard that one. [laughs] That was brilliant actually. I loved that. There, that one fit the organ. But every darn song on the album we had to have the organ on it.It was one of those very strange things. Brian got very quirky. And “Heroes And Villains” was played on that damn organ, and I didn't like that sound. It was just a bit much. I think that's where the musicianship became strange. Western Recorders is where I think we did the track for “Heroes” in studio three with this great tack piano. It could have been Columbia. Both studios were really important. I think we used Columbia more for the vocals for Pet Sounds and Smile and we used Western for the track.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 09:55:22 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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