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Author Topic: Cottonfields / Cotton Fields - BW and AJ version  (Read 6191 times)
SMiLE-Holland
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« on: December 03, 2010, 03:12:18 AM »

OK, this was mentioned a few days ago in the "Re: BB Interviews do's/don't's" topic (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,9594.msg167298.html#msg167298), but I thought it to be interesting enought for a separate topic.

Cottonfields: I forgot to mention that I don't have a good overview on which version (BW or AJ) was used for the single in each country. I'm pretty sure the BW (20/20) version was used in The Netherlands. But I assume the AJ-version was used in the U.S.

This could be interesting:
Cottonfields was a big hit worldwide, except for the U.S.A.
So IF  the AJ-version of Cottonfields was only released in the U.S., but the rest of the world got the BW-version on 45...
...then I have to rephrase my comment on slicker AJ productions being more successful...  Roll Eyes

I think I have to check out my Cottonfields 45's this evening to listen which version in which country was used.

I checked all Cottonfields singles I have in my collection. Not too many, but this is interesting: to my surprise both versions ended up being released as singles. I’ve also noted their highest chart position.

- U.S. = AJ-version  > did not chart
- U.K. = AJ-version (as AGD already mentioned)  > #5
- Australia = AJ-version  > #1
- South Africa = AJ-version  > #1

- Germany = BW-version  > #29
- Netherlands = BW-version  >#12

So – although the chart-failure in the U.S. sticks out – one could say that Al’s production in general did much better in the charts than Brian’s production.


But what makes me wonder: what’s the cause that the Brian Wilson produced version of Cottonfields was used as a single in some countries?
Did this only happen in Europe?
Can anyone add more releases to this list (including highest chartposition and version)
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2010, 04:39:13 AM »

- France = BW version > ?
- Brasil = BW version > ?
- Philippines = BW version > ?

- Japan = BW and AJ version > #5 (don´t know which version charted)

- Ireland = AJ version > #3
- Italy = AJ version > did not chart
- Spain = AJ version > #5
- Denmark = AJ version > #2
- Sweden = AJ version > #1
- Norway = AJ version > #1
- New Zealand = AJ version > #13
- Yugoslavia = AJ version > ?
- Lebanon = AJ version > ?
- Singapore = AJ version > ?
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2010, 04:59:20 AM »

Interesting indeed!  Actually though, I think we still CAN say the AJ version fared much better in the charts...looking at the numbers in the preceeding two posts, it's apparent that in the only two countries we know for sure that the BW version charted in, it failed to chart higher than # 12, wheareas in all the countries that we know of where the AJ version was released, we're only aware of it failing to chart in two (one of them being the USA), and only aware of it missing the Top 10 in one other country; in all other countries, it was in the Top 5, and in several of them it went to # 1.
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SMiLE-Holland
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2010, 06:10:55 AM »

So the use of the BW version ocurred outside Europe as well.

Thanks for that list, Christian. Very useful!
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Rule of thumb, think BEFORE you post. And THINK how it may affect someone else's feelings.

Check out the Beach Boys Starline website, the place for pictures of many countries Beach Boys releases on 45.

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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 07:08:30 AM »

- France = BW version > ?
- Brasil = BW version > ?
- Philippines = BW version > ?

- Japan = BW and AJ version > #5 (don´t know which version charted)

- Ireland = AJ version > #3
- Italy = AJ version > did not chart
- Spain = AJ version > #5
- Denmark = AJ version > #2
- Sweden = AJ version > #1
- Norway = AJ version > #1
- New Zealand = AJ version > #13
- Yugoslavia = AJ version > ?
- Lebanon = AJ version > ?
- Singapore = AJ version > ?

Lebanon? 
They actually released Beach Boys records in Lebanon? 
WOW; are there other BBs released there?
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2010, 11:04:40 AM »

Check the dates. I think all the singles with the BW-produced version came out in 1969, while all the AJ-produced 45s were released in 1970.

I wonder if the fact that the BW-produced "Cottonfields" was being released as a single in a few places is what spurred Alan to produce his version, so that it would be used instead.
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Mr. Cohen
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2010, 11:24:26 AM »

I actually think the BW version would be far superior if remixed properly. There's some really cool banjo playing going on in the background, but you can only really hear it at the end. He mixed it too low. It's one of those cases, I think, where his lack of confidence caused him to go minimalist.
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 12:16:08 PM »

Check the dates. I think all the singles with the BW-produced version came out in 1969, while all the AJ-produced 45s were released in 1970.

I wonder if the fact that the BW-produced "Cottonfields" was being released as a single in a few places is what spurred Alan to produce his version, so that it would be used instead.


That would depend on the Dutch and German - and also French - releases being some good time before early August 1969, and also, more crucially, on Alan knowing anything about it. In interviews on the subject, all he's ever said is that he wasn't too thrilled with Brian's production: nary a mention of any other spur.

Later: the Dutch release was August 1969. So... not an influence, then.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 12:34:48 PM by Andrew G. Doe » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 11:58:51 PM »

Later: the Dutch release was August 1969. So... not an influence, then.

Ahh. Thanks for that bit of info.

It's curious, though, that Alan waited ... what? seven months after the release of Brian's version of "Cottonfields" on 20/20 (NINE months after its recording!) before deciding the track needed a remake. What was the immediate impetus? Or is it just that Alan takes forever with anything he tackles (e.g., "Loop De Loop," "Don't Fight The Sea," solo album, etc.)?
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 12:56:48 AM »

Later: the Dutch release was August 1969. So... not an influence, then.

Ahh. Thanks for that bit of info.

It's curious, though, that Alan waited ... what? seven months after the release of Brian's version of "Cottonfields" on 20/20 (NINE months after its recording!) before deciding the track needed a remake. What was the immediate impetus? Or is it just that Alan takes forever with anything he tackles (e.g., "Loop De Loop," "Don't Fight The Sea," solo album, etc.)?

The latter.  Grin  Seven months in the Jardine cosmos is a veritable blink of an eye.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2010, 01:18:16 AM »

- France = BW version > ?
- Brasil = BW version > ?
- Philippines = BW version > ?

- Japan = BW and AJ version > #5 (don´t know which version charted)

- Ireland = AJ version > #3
- Italy = AJ version > did not chart
- Spain = AJ version > #5
- Denmark = AJ version > #2
- Sweden = AJ version > #1
- Norway = AJ version > #1
- New Zealand = AJ version > #13
- Yugoslavia = AJ version > ?
- Lebanon = AJ version > ?
- Singapore = AJ version > ?

Lebanon? 
They actually released Beach Boys records in Lebanon? 
WOW; are there other BBs released there?



And I know of 3 others:

Heroes & Villains (CL 15510L), Do It Again (CL 15554L) and Break Away (CL 15598L)
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2010, 02:05:51 AM »

Surprisingly ballsy move for Al J. and I have to say, his version of "Cottonfields" is aces.  I suspect one reason is just that, simply, they let the band just go in and play it like it was live.  This rarely happened for the later Beach Boys...think of how much more dynamic a lot of the Warner-era tracks, which were mostly built up from very minimal rhythm tracks, were live.  Don't get me wrong, it was a unique production style and I like it a lot, but it's been mentioned by me and others that so the band's uptempo material really didn't kick that hard in the studio, and it was much better live.  This one instance where they just went for it with the touring band, and the result was a big hit.  Who knows if a "Marcella" or a "Roller Skating Child" or a "Funky Pretty" wouldn't have done better if the band had done the same thing.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 12:17:43 PM by adamghost » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2010, 02:26:55 AM »

The BW version has "Time To Get Alone" on the B-side and was released mid August 1969, the April 1970 AJ release "The Nearest Faraway Place".
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2010, 11:24:35 AM »

Ah, yes...looking at the AFM contracts for the two versions now...

Brian's original was cut at ID Sound November 18, 1968, with Brian on keyboards, Hal Blaine on drums, Ed Carter on guitar, Al Vescovo on (probably) banjo, Lyle Ritz on bass, and Bill Peterson, Virgil Evans, and Roy Caton on horns.  Contractor was Jon Parks.  

Al's remake was cut at Sunset Sound August 15, 1969, with Bruce and Daryl Dragon on keyboards, Carl and Al on guitars, Ed Carter on bass, and presumably Dennis on drums (his name is not on the AFM sheet, but neither is the name of any other drummer, and it SOUNDS exactly like his style...maybe he had let his union dues payments slide and was therefore technically ineligible for the benefits).  Other players were Frank Capp on percussion, Bill Peterson, Fred Koyen, David Edwards, and Ernie Small on horns, and Orville "Red" Rhodes on pedal steel.  Jon Parks once again contracted the session.
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2010, 12:04:48 PM »

The BW version has "Time To Get Alone" on the B-side and was released mid August 1969, the April 1970 AJ release "The Nearest Faraway Place".

What this tells me: 
People bought this single NOT for the newer version of Cottonfields, rather, they wanted Bruce's The Nearest Faraway Place.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2010, 12:28:33 PM »

Later: the Dutch release was August 1969. So... not an influence, then.

Ahh. Thanks for that bit of info.

It's curious, though, that Alan waited ... what? seven months after the release of Brian's version of "Cottonfields" on 20/20 (NINE months after its recording!) before deciding the track needed a remake. What was the immediate impetus? Or is it just that Alan takes forever with anything he tackles (e.g., "Loop De Loop," "Don't Fight The Sea," solo album, etc.)?


Maybe there was no studio time for them before....
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2010, 05:58:02 PM »

Both versions were released in New Zealand with Brian's being one of the most difficult to find of all New Zealand Beach Boys related releases.
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2010, 09:08:34 PM »

Both versions were released in New Zealand with Brian's being one of the most difficult to find of all New Zealand Beach Boys related releases.

More difficult than Sound of Free?
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2010, 01:00:36 AM »

Both versions were released in New Zealand with Brian's being one of the most difficult to find of all New Zealand Beach Boys related releases.

More difficult than Sound of Free?

I suspect so, and that's saying something.
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2010, 10:31:15 AM »

Both versions were released in New Zealand with Brian's being one of the most difficult to find of all New Zealand Beach Boys related releases.

More difficult than Sound of Free?

I suspect so, and that's saying something.

Yowzers!
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2010, 11:38:46 AM »

I picked up the U.S. single of Cotton Fields in 1974, and it took me quite awhile back then to find a mint copy. This was only four years after its release, and Capitol had already deleted it from their catalog. Paid 10 bucks for it, and I thought at the time how ridiculous it was to pay that much. Same thing for the Break Away single.

Like the story of Brian's on "Hawthorne"; how he drove down to Al's house to hear his version. Anybody know when Brian said that and where the interview/statement came from?
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« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2010, 11:53:46 AM »

Both versions were released in New Zealand with Brian's being one of the most difficult to find of all New Zealand Beach Boys related releases.

More difficult than Sound of Free?

I suspect so, and that's saying something.

Very interesting!
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Rule of thumb, think BEFORE you post. And THINK how it may affect someone else's feelings.

Check out the Beach Boys Starline website, the place for pictures of many countries Beach Boys releases on 45.

Listening to you I get the music; Gazing at you I get the heat; Following you I climb the mountain; I get excitement at your feet
Right behind you I see the millions; On you I see the glory; From you I get opinions; From you I get the story
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« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2010, 12:03:39 PM »

I whonder why Al doesn't play Cottonfields live in recent years?
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« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2010, 12:12:40 PM »

It might be a little out of his comfortable vocal range now.  I can remember hearing a '90s version of it, and he got through it OK, but there were definitely a couple of gaps in the top notes.
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« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2010, 07:18:20 PM »

I picked up the U.S. single of Cotton Fields in 1974, and it took me quite awhile back then to find a mint copy. This was only four years after its release, and Capitol had already deleted it from their catalog. Paid 10 bucks for it, and I thought at the time how ridiculous it was to pay that much. Same thing for the Break Away single.

Like the story of Brian's on "Hawthorne"; how he drove down to Al's house to hear his version. Anybody know when Brian said that and where the interview/statement came from?

I think you mean Dennis..... Smiley
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