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Author Topic: Instruments/Production on Cool Cool Water  (Read 4176 times)
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2011, 03:28:51 PM »

Also, just checked out the song in question - yes, there is the sound of water being poured at 3.30, and I'm betting they got that by recording the sound of water being poured... but not in 1966/7.  Smiley

Do we have any band interviews to support that?   Grin
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« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2011, 04:05:15 PM »

Also, just checked out the song in question - yes, there is the sound of water being poured at 3.30, and I'm betting they got that by recording the sound of water being poured... but not in 1966/7.  Smiley

I'm pretty sure that's running water in the open air rather than water being poured -  like a stream running over rocks. The sound I thought I'd heard was more like that which Roger refers to in Vegetables... only I coulda sworn I heard it in CCW!

Minutia? Us?
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« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2011, 04:19:44 PM »

How about this for minutia: Were the chant vocals spliced/lifted from the Smile sessions or were they recorded anew for Cool Cool Water? (where they rightly belong. But that's just me)
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« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2011, 09:11:52 PM »

I copied and saved this thread from somewhere some years ago, probably around 2002/2003 (my file is dated 2003). This is the version of events from the man himself, Stephen Desper, taken from a thread of similar questions written to him about Cool Cool Water. Funny thing is, someone posted how they hoped someone was archiving the thread (raises hand... Grin)

If this information or this re-post of information causes problems for anyone, please let me know and I'll take it down, simple enough.

I underlined and put in bold font one statement of note, otherwise the questions and answers are exactly as they appeared. And whether or not Vosse's water tapes appeared on Sunflower (they did not, I never suggested they did), there is no doubt he recorded tapes around Brian's "Water" concepts in 1966/67, and updated versions of those same concepts were used on the Sunflower recording a few years later.

Enjoy!  Smiley





I started recording --before-- the Sunflower CCW was recorded, but --after-- Brian had conceived of CCW[/u]. The creation of 2 1/2 octaves of drips by way of the ELTRON machine and subsequent transfer to the small CHAMBERLIN were in progress during the month or two it took to record CCW by the group. There were 30 different types of drips and blubbs recorded, each with 26 notes. That is a lot of work!!

I do not believe so. Earlier versions of CCW with Brian at the piano were recorded as guides to a final production of the song, if it were to come about. Brian wrote and recorded many songs on the piano with him signing (previews) just to keep them from slipping away in his memory. Kinda like you and I writing down ideas we may have so we don't forget them. Then going back and reading our notes to jog our memory.
Good Listening, ~Stephen W. Desper
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Replying to:


Mr Desper,

One final question. In your posts here you're indicating that you started work as a engineer on the road with the group first, and then in the studio with Stacks-O-Tracks. Now, there's this story of you beginning to tape the SFX in nature for Brian in January 1967. Even though you're saying that you're not good with dates, this story takes place almost a year before you say you started working for the group: could you confirm if this story of you working for Brian this early on is true or not? To put it simply, were the water sounds collected *before* or *after* work on Cool Cool Water had begun to be recorded by Brian/the group?

The earlier versions of CCW by Brian that you're talking of -are they by any chance the same as the first minute of the final Sunflower version of CCW, which was recorded in the fall of 1967?

(and now I won't bug you anymore!)

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Replying to:


You know... I'm not good with dates. Ask Brad Elliott via cabinessence.com board about dates. I know Brian had earlier versions of CCW, but they just sat on the tape vault shelf. Carl (and I) conceived the Sunflower version and resurrected the song (in concept) but Carl re-arranged it in its Sunflower form. More on this song in my book RECORDING THE BEACH BOYS. As to the date of the production meeting, I don't know. I do remember that it was rather long and involved, but Brian's involvement came later. That was a difficult time for him.

I was engineering for the BB starting with Stack-O-Tracks and before that engineering on the road.

Moogs could be rented by anyone in Hollywood since their invention. I don't think Brian was into the Moog much before I came along. Robert Moog designed the stage one for Good Vibs that Michael Love played. He designed it to be a playable unit unlike the Theriman unit used for the recording. He designed it, but it was built by someone else. The use of Robert Moog was not by Brian's request, rather by Steve Korthof, his cozen and road manager. The BB were the first RR group to use a Moog on any song, as Robert Moog recalls. The unit Robert designed was really a ribbon controlled oscillator - very easy to play. Some people thought it was a slide guitar as it looked kinda like that from off the stage in the audience. The boys had two units -- one a backup. In more recent concerts the use of a synthesizer in place of the Moog unit has come about. But to my ears, it's just not the same sound. Mike also used it for stage performances of "Stay Away When There's A Riot Goin' On."

Actually none of the BB knew how to program the Moog and looked to me for that function as their engineer. Dennis never liked the Moog beast and forsaw it being a replacement for live musicians years before that came about.

Hope that helps, ~Stephen W. Desper



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Replying to:


Mr Desper,

to the best of your knowledge, would this production meeting concerning Cool Cool Water have taken place in late 1966, early 1967, or later? I'm trying to piece together some sort of timeline, and I believe it's been previously said that you began collecting the water sounds in January, 1967. According to Brian, Cool Cool Water was written three months later, right after he had moved into his new Bellagio house in April. Now, if one is to believe Brian's account, and it was in April 1967 or later that you collected the SFX for Cool Cool Water, what was the purpose of the water SFX recordings in January when you were first hired by Brian? If I have gotten everything wrong, please correct me. You have probably said all this before, but could you, in short, give us a more exact date of when you were first hired by Brian, and what he initially wanted you to do for him, and what his intents with the SFX you recorded for him were? I know that the making of Cool Cool Water is something that you're saving for your website, but could you just give us a litle idea?

Also, to your knowledge, do you know if Brian had had access to the moog before you became an engineer for the group?

Thanks for taking the time answering these detailed and geeky questions of mine!! 

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Replying to:
This so called "great stuff" is all archived by myself -- typical engineer. I have to date 63 pages of commentary on various subjects ask of me by fans that I have posted on this and other boards. These pages of commentary plus my book RECORDING THE BEACH BOYS (an in-depth examination of the recording of "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up") will soon be accessible on my website. The website is over 2 gigs large, rather much for a personal website, so it is taking a little time to get up and going. I'll post a link when we launch.
Good Listening, ~Stephen W. Desper

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Replying to:


I hope someone is archiving all this great stuff from Stephen...

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Replying to:


When we had our first production meeting concerning "Cool, Cool Water" I suggested the use of real water sounds recorded using an ELTRO machine (Eventide Harmonizer was not invented yet) to first shift the pitch making 2 1/2 octave half-note steps and to transfer all the notes to a small Chamberlin machine. Mangagement said to "go for it" and so I took off to northern California with my portable NAGRA profession tape recorder and a good microphone to capture running water sounds in the wild. Later I also recorded air making blubb-type sounds as blown air came up through flower mixed with water in large buckets. This too was put into 2 1/2 octave steps. It was not until this entire project was finished that Brian even became aware of what I was doing.

Brian started using Moogs when I came on as engineer. Theretofore he hired a Moog Player (Paul Beaver) to generate Moog sounds which were few. I bought a large Moog machine for the group (about eight feet wide and four feet high) and registered myself with the musicians union as a Moog player so I could get union scale for playing when called upon. Brian never learned about programming and would only play the keys to make the sounds I had programmed. It required an engineer's knowledge to run the early Moogs.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MELLOTRON -- CHAMBERLAIN. While in England on tour, The Beach Boys had a chance to "play" with the Beatles' Mellotron at Abby Roads Studios. Seeing it's advantage (the most early example of sampled sound) they also wanted one for Brian's house studio. The Mellotron was hard to find in the US, but I did locate two Chamberlain units (one full keyboard and one two-octave keyboard) which they bought and used. The small one I re-programmed for water sounds to be used for "Cool Cool Water." The larger one was used for making broad harmonic violin pads and such. Carl and Dennis used it more, but Brian used it little because each sound only lasted a few seconds. He became fed-up with that restriction and sold the unit after a few months.

Both units worked using the same design. A four foot long 1/4 tape "thread" was hung from a point high up in the inside of the case with a weight on the bottom of the tape-thread to pull it tight. Every key had a thread, so there were 52 tape-threads hanging the length of the case. Each thread passed over a horizontal spinning rod of steel, but the spinning rod did not influence or move the tape. Each key had a small rubber wheel attached to its mechanism. When the key was depressed, the wheel (back inside the case) came into contact with the tape-thread, pressing it onto the spinning steel rod (running the length of the case). This in turn caused the tape to rise up and pass by a playback head making a signal that lasted until the length of the thread reached the end, about four seconds. When the key was released the tape-thread fell back to the bottom and was again ready for engagement by another key pressing. In today's digital world this all sounds very primitive, but it did work rather well within the constrants of the design. It was certainly cheaper than hiring a full violin section.

see: http://www.e-prog.net/bands/mellotron.htm for more info on MELLOTRON and CHAMBERLAIN.

Happy Listening, even if sampled, ~Stephen W. Desper

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The large Chamberlin used tapes recorded by the factory.

The small Chamberlin, I modified so that I could use each of its internal playback heads for recording or re-recording each of the tape-threads in the instrument without needing to remove them from the unit. I assembled a variety of water sounds and bubble sounds tuned in one-half note steps for a 2˝ octave spread – to be used for “Cool, Cool Water” – and installed or recorded them one by one into the smaller Chamberlin.

Happy Listening, ~Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2011, 01:20:58 AM »

How about this for minutia: Were the chant vocals spliced/lifted from the Smile sessions or were they recorded anew for Cool Cool Water? (where they rightly belong. But that's just me)

The accepted wisdom is that they're of Smile-era vintage.

For now...  Wink
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« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2011, 01:24:58 AM »

I copied and saved this thread from somewhere some years ago, probably around 2002/2003 (my file is dated 2003). This is the version of events from the man himself, Stephen Desper, taken from a thread of similar questions written to him about Cool Cool Water. Funny thing is, someone posted how they hoped someone was archiving the thread (raises hand... Grin)

If this information or this re-post of information causes problems for anyone, please let me know and I'll take it down, simple enough.

I underlined and put in bold font one statement of note, otherwise the questions and answers are exactly as they appeared. And whether or not Vosse's water tapes appeared on Sunflower (they did not, I never suggested they did), there is no doubt he recorded tapes around Brian's "Water" concepts in 1966/67, and updated versions of those same concepts were used on the Sunflower recording a few years later.

Thanks for that - most illuminating. As for "And whether or not Vosse's water tapes appeared on Sunflower (they did not, I never suggested they did)", no you didn't... but someone else did, also asking if maybe Steve's tapes did as well, this after I'd posted that his tapes were wiped. I can accept being asked the same question multiple times on other boards, but here I expect a higher level of not only knowledge, but also reading ability.  Wink
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« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2011, 05:55:06 AM »

To my ears, the final "Sunflower" version incorporates the original 1967 version in the first half, then uses the "SMiLE"-era water vocal chants in the middle, mixed in with sound effects, then moves into a newly-recorded final verse.

The AFM contract for the original 1967 "Wild Honey" version of "Cool, Cool Water" lists all six Beach Boys, plus Dianne Rovell and engineers Bill Halverson and Jim Lockert.  The contract for the 1970 session for "Cool, Cool Water" lists Alan, Bruce, Brian, Carl, and Moog programmer Paul Beaver.

In the Preiss book, Al is quoted:  "Cool Water - Carl, Mike, and Bruce Johnston and I spent forty-eight hours straight dubbing down 'Cool Water'.  It was like being on another planet.  It was really something...We didn't realize the time was going by, it was so enjoyable".  Not sure what the original source is for that quote, as Preiss used lots of quotes from other sources with no mention made of their origins.  No mention of Brian.

In 1981, Brad Elliott asked Bruce about the song being started in the "Wild Honey" era.  Bruce replied "Well, 'Cool, Cool Water' was started about that time.  In '70, Al and I dredged it up again and made Brian finish it".  Elliott asked if Brian actually finished it, to which Bruce replied "Absolutely".

Interestingly, the 1981 anthology "Ten Years Of Harmony" provides detailed producer credits for each individual cut.  The credit for "Cool, Cool Water" reads "Produced by Brian Wilson", while the credits for other "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up" cuts ("This Whole World", "Til i Die", and "Surf's Up) all read "Produced by Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson".

My thought, based on all this, is that once Lenny Warnoker heard Brian play it at Bellagio, Brian was "made" to finish the writing and recording of the song, which was then mixed (or "dubbed") by Carl, Mike, Al, and Bruce (with Desper), in Brian's absence, over a two-day non-stop period (Brian happily left the mixing to them, since he really only mixed in mono himself, and this was stereo with a quad matrix).

Stephen Desper wrote this about "Cool, Cool Water"'s bass sound (speaking in the third person): "The bass sound, composed and played by Desper (who is not a bass player), was programmed from scratch, it is not a sample...".  Interestingly, despite having joined the union as a Moog player specifically so he could play on BBs records, Desper's name is missing from all the AFM contracts for BBs sessions around that time.
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« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2011, 11:42:56 AM »

So Desper played bass on it?  That would explain the awesome tone and minimal technique (not meaning that as a diss).
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« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2011, 01:35:12 PM »

So Desper played bass on it?  That would explain the awesome tone and minimal technique (not meaning that as a diss).

Moog bass... I think. Maybe.
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« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2011, 01:38:38 PM »

there was a 6 part bbc beach boys special from 1974 with , i think, bob harris. i may have that name wrong. anyway on the part on sunflower, alan talks about ccw and how they spent 2 sunrises finishing it up for sunflower. great special. almost 6 hours long.
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« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2011, 04:00:30 PM »

Radio or TV?
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« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2011, 04:16:15 PM »

Radio - it was originally broadcast in 1974, then re-broadcast in 1976 with an updated ending. The interviews were exhaustive, and included just about everyone - except Brian.  many years later on his local radio show, Bob Harris told how he almost got to interview Brian in 1974, but was foiled by the piano tuner.  Grin
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« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2011, 07:22:57 PM »

So Desper played bass on it?  That would explain the awesome tone and minimal technique (not meaning that as a diss).

Moog bass... I think. Maybe.

Yes, it's clear from the whole thing that's what he meant.
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