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658606 Posts in 26375 Topics by 3742 Members - Latest Member: Soulful Old Man River June 03, 2020, 09:56:58 PM
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26  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: When was the singing voice of each individual Beach Boy at its best? on: July 31, 2013, 06:09:44 PM
Brian - 1964/65: I consider Don't Worry Baby, Hushabye, Warmth of the Syn, and other 1964 era ballads to be the peak of Brian's voice, with the streak extending into Please Let Me Wonder and Let Him Run Wild. Already by Pet Sounds, I think that Brian's voice has started to subtly change, becoming a little bit less youthful. Obviously it stay's spectacular well into the 70s, but I'm trying to pin point more specific highlights.

Carl - Obviously his voice was incredible his entire life, but I think it was at it's best in the early 90s. Carl's voice aged in an incredible way, becoming more mature and ever so slightly older, without losing any of it's raw beauty or expressiveness. Tragically, Carl was literally not given *any* good material to sing in this period, with the possible exception of his own "I Wish for You."

Mike - 68/70: Meant for You. Big Sur. All I Wanna Do. Weirdly enough, Mike did the least singing of his entire career with the beach boys during the time when his voice was best. And I do think the two facts are related: when he wasn't in "lead singer" mode, he sang more subtly, and thoughtfully.

Dennis - 1968-70: Without a doubt this was the period when Dennis's skill as a singer lined up most clearly with his voice not being a hoarse croak! I love Dennis's late 70s voice, but A Time to Live in Dreams is definitive evidence for me that this period is the winner.

Al - it's hard to make a distinction, since his voice basically hasn't changed for their entire career. I'm trying to judge the voice, and not the material, still, it's hard not to think that Al never again reached his iconic Help Me Ronda peak, so 1965.
27  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: What was the prospect did the original double-sided '15 Big Ones' album have? on: July 15, 2013, 07:16:45 PM
My understanding is that a) a double album was very much within reach, and b) Dennis and Carl strenuously, strenuously objected to the release of 15 Big Ones as it was, that they were voted down literally in a band meeting 3 to 2, and that this was one of the major reasons that Dennis embarked on a solo career. I don't have solid sources though, it's just what I've gathered from the various things I've read.

As for the album itself, my fantasy tracklist has always been this:

A side:
Good Timin (this should have been the single. If a crappy cover of Rock and Roll music went to number 5, just imagine how well a beautiful, nostalgic ballad would have done.)
River Song
Had to Phone Ya
That Same Song (ideally with a bit more production courtesy Dennis and Carl)
Back Home
Susie Cincinnati
Everyones In Love With You (I've always liked this song)

B Side
It's Okay
Pacific Ocean Blues
California Feeling
Rainbows (also recorded during the 15 Big Ones Sessions)
Angel Come Home (apparently written and at least a basic track recorded in 1975)
Just Once in My Life (this oldies cover can stay Smiley
Holy Man (recorded 1975, obviously lyrics never finished, until recently! I imagine Carl singing this, and it is sublime in my mind)

Of course, in this scenario Pacific Ocean Blue doesn't happen, but Dennis comes out swinging as a major player in a beach boys creative revival, and so I think that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, particularly since it might well have eased some of the solo career versus band tensions that, in my opinion, were a major contributer to dennis's downfall.

Also, I strongly suspect that had all of these Dennis songs been used by the Beach Boys, Carl would have sung at least half of them, if not more.

Also, I don't think that the above track list represents the best possible album the beach boys could have put out in 1976. I think it represents a realistic example of what Dennis and Carl were trying to accomplish. The first side is significantly weaker than the second side, because Carl and Dennis are throwing a bone to Mike and Brian, a la Surf's Up. I wouldn't include Susie Cincinnati, but I imagine that realistically, Al would have gotten his song on there as part of the process.
28  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: California Calling on: June 23, 2013, 07:08:15 PM
This song has a kind of loping, al jardine meody that reminds me a little of California Saga ... I think the song would work great with a sort of holland-style country-rock production. I also think it would sound great in a postcard style production - I hope Al rerecords it some time.
29  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: MiC up for order on Amazon, August release on: June 21, 2013, 12:01:12 PM
@BJL

1. The Brianista: Has several MUCH cheaper options if he only wants to explore the post-Smile stuff.
2. The hipster fan: Has several MUCH cheaper options if he only wants to explore the pre-Pet Sounds stuff.
3. The boomer: already has the hits.
4. The new fan: already has the hits.
5. The straight and narrow fan: already has the hits.
6. The Still Building the Collection Fan: will get the missing albums first.
7. The obsessive but non-completist: already has the hits.

So my point still stands: nobody who will buy MIC has any need for the hits being on it.

Oh, I agree. Thereís no one in the world who is going to buy this box set who doesnít already own a greatest hits collection, and thereís no reason for the hits to be repeated on this box. But the hits are 20 odd songs. My point was just that, for the average Beach Boys fan, this box offers them two discs worth of rarities and live tracks PLUS something else that they donít have, and because of this, I think that the set will do well commercially, especially if the price comes down a hair or two. In my case, this is a bunch of stereo mixes which I will be very happy to have!

Also, I have no idea if AGD was mocking me or agreeing with me. Frankly, I wouldnít be too surprised by either. But thereís a reason I usually lurk Ė this board has a mean streak a mile wide. Fortunately, it also has the best in depth discussion on the Beach Boys the internet can provide Smiley
30  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: MiC up for order on Amazon, August release on: June 21, 2013, 09:23:40 AM
. . . MIC was compiled with one single target audience in mind: the hardcore fans. Casual fans do not care about rarities and unreleased material, you don't need a song that was cut from an album if you don't even have that album. And nobody spends $100+ on a few CDs by a band that they just casually like. "John Q. Public" will be perfectly content with '50 Big Ones' and a copy of 'Pet Sounds', and if he's feeling really adventurous he might get 'The Smile Sessions' or a random 2fer on top of that, but that will be more than enough.

Capitol knows very well that 95% of everyone who will buy MIC are people who already have everything but still want more. They also know that The Beach Boys have such a big and messy discography that the serious completists have already spend hundreds or even thousands on their collections. . . . .

A lot of people on this board are completely clueless about what Beach Boys fandom actually looks like. Very, very few people are completists. Very, very few people read the Smiley Smile Message Board. You, with 12 different Smile bootlegs and a hard drive full of Sea of Tunes Sessions, are simply not the market for this box, nor are you representative of the set of people who will tell you that the Beach Boys are one of their favorite bands. Doesnít mean you shouldnít be stoked about all the rarities we are getting (I certainly am!). Nor does it mean that you canít be disappointed or bummed. Bum away! But people who have been building their collections for years seem to have forgotten how incredibly large and massively intimidating the Beach Boys catalogue is, or how powerful strains of thought urged fans for years to write-off certain areas of it.

Some examples of the types of Beach Boys Fans this box is targeting:

1.   The Brianista: These fans havenít really explored past Smile. Some of these fans can probably still be found lurking on the Blue board Smiley The Brianista definitely owns Pet Sounds, Smile and 2004 Smile, one or two, if not all, of Brianís solo albums, a couple of greatest hits collections, the Today and Summer Days two-fer, and a variety of other early albums. For these fans, discs 3-6 of the new Box set are going to be full of revelations.

2.   The hipster fan: These young fans got into the Beach Boys via the Fleet Foxes or Animal Collective. They read pitchfork, and own Pet Sounds and Smile. They probably jumped straight from Pet Sounds to Sunflower, Surfís Up, and Holland. This fan almost certainly owns the new Pacific Ocean Blue reissue, but most of the box will be new Ė especially disc 1!

3.   The Boomer: This baby boomer went to the 50th reunion tour, and has kept good care of the Beach Boys vinyl from their childhood. They own most of the earlier albums, at least seven greatest hits collections, and Pet Sounds. They may or may not own the Good Vibrations Box Set, but if they do, they probably havenít listened to discs three and four since 1995. This box will be an eye opener, assuming they ever make it past disc 3! The live tracks will be a particular treat for a fan whose only live albums are the 64í concert album and maybe the 50th anniversary tour album. 

4.   The new fan: self-explanatory. All they own is a Greatest hits and Pet Sounds, but Pet Sounds is growing increasingly captivating by the day. Where to go next? Made in California, duh! Yea itís pricey, but not compared to the cost of assembling a full set of albums. Note also that the average greatest hits collection only has a bit over half of the Beach Boys 36 top-40 hits.

5.   The straight and narrow fan: This fan owns just about everything the Beach Boys have ever released, but has never listened to a bootleg. They may or may not be opposed to bootlegs, and they may not be super familiar with the internet. The box will be full of treats for these fans.

6.   The Still Building the Collection Fan: The Beach Boys have released a lot of albums. Even with two per disc, itís easy to miss a few. I considered myself a huge Beach Boys fan for years before I bought Friends and 20/20, Carl and the Passions, Holland, 15 Big Ones, or Love You, let alone the 80s stuff. Thereís just so much material to get through! Such a fan might own 15 different Beach Boys albums, and yet still be missing Surfer Girl and Shut Down vol. 2. Things happen. These fans will get a taste of what theyíre missing.

7.   The obsessive but non-completist: I fall squarely into this category. I love the Beach Boys. I have tons of bootlegs. I read the Smiley Smile board and watch Stephen Desperís amazing study videos. I own every released Beach Boys album on both CD and vinyl. I own the Smile Box, and all of Brianís solo albums, and saw the 50th anniversary tour 4 times. But Iím just not a completist. Which means that I didnít feel the compulsion to replace my two-fers with new stereo issues, or to buy Summer Love Songs for one rarity and some remixes. I certainly didnít buy that ridiculous singles box with four songs on each of 28 CDs or whatever. For me, this box is full of stereo mixes that are entirely new to my collection!

Feel free to be disappointed, but I wouldnít be so quick to attack Capitalís business plan, or to see this box as an attempt to fleece the Beach Boyís hardcore fans. I think there is a very good market for this kind of set.
31  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Wouldn't It Be Nice To Live Again on: June 11, 2013, 11:41:11 AM
McCoy scored the strings on Be With Me, that was it. Dennis usually played string suggestions on the piano (or sang) his ideas for string lines to whomever was arranging/scoring the string orchestrations on his productions. Daryl Dragon is very adamant  about this in his interviews, that the string melodies were usually Dennis' own musical ideas, and BTW Jimmie Haskell did some of the string scoring job for Dennis on the Pacific Ocean Blue era material. I think Be With Me falls into the same routine that the subsequent stuff did, Dennis had a feel for what he wanted and did his best to translate that to his arranger, not having the ability to actually score charts for a string section on his own.

There' a great Bruce quote about the 20/20 string arrangements. I can't remember exactly, but the gist was that he and Dennis "talked those arrangements into his [McCoy's] head."
32  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: More studio news on: May 26, 2013, 02:31:12 PM
Bruce doesn't have it anymore. And Carl is dead. The high part--parts, even--are Jeff's.
The album TWGMTR has Bruce on some falsetto parts. And he usually did the high ending on "Fun, fun, fun" live (probably does the same when touring with Mike solo).

My understanding, based on some of the interviews, and on just listening, is that Bruce does most of the falsetto in the harmony stack on almost the entire record, with Foskett just below in Carl's old spot.
33  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Shrewd Awakening Music Video on: April 27, 2013, 08:10:59 AM
Honestly, this was absolutely amazing. Great! Smiley
34  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: An Essay on the Beach Boys and Drugs in American Culture on: March 29, 2013, 04:25:48 PM
Comparing Brian and Dennis's situation is misleading - Dennis was still very healthy, functional, and incredibly creative into the late 70s. And this voice changed so drastically because he was physically injured in the throat in a fight, and apparently declined to rest his voice and let it heal...

Brian's transformation is less easy to explain, but one of the reasons I'm drawn to the argument that the destruction of his clear voice was intentional is because the change was so drastic, so quick. And of course, you still hear the occasional clear voice into the late 70s. It's also hard to say for sure, because in the Landy era a series of strokes (at least, that's my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong) led to Brian singing ability to change drastically. Shouty 80s and 90s Brian is very different from hoarse 70s Brian - and it's impossible to say how fully Brian's voice would have recovered if not for the Landy period, but my guess it would have been dramatic.
35  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: An Essay on the Beach Boys and Drugs in American Culture on: March 28, 2013, 07:06:52 PM
Please re-read the article again.  I believe he was insinuating that he wrecked (or changed) his voice on purpose.  That's clearly my take after reading it anyway. Either it was done by accident (my belief) or on purpose (others belief). There's no gray area here.

Well, I did imply that he changed his voice in purpose. But I also think there's a whole huge lot of gray area.
The way I see it, we know the following almost for sure:
1. Brian had some degree of ambivalence towards his falsetto, although it's very difficult to say how strong it was.
2. Brian purposefully effected a more masculine, gruff voice in the mid-70s (on a song like Back Home, it is obvious that Brian is making a stylistic choice, although of course his voice has also changed drastically).
3. Brian's drug use was deeply self-destructive, regardless of whether he was hoping to do damage to his voice specifically or not.
4. At least some of the people close to Brian at the time seem to have held the opinion that he changed his voice intentionally.
5. If he didn't change his voice intentionally, he made little to no effort to protect it.

I don't think we'll ever be able to say 100 percent for sure that Brian destroyed his voice intentionally. But I think that it is as valid an interpretation of the evidence as that he didn't. I don't think the burden of proof falls on one side or the other - both positions are reasonable.

What I truly believe is that the answer is in fact the gray area. Being as Brian was both mentally ill and using huge quantities of drugs, both answers are true. Some of the time, Brian wished he could still sing like the old days, but his drug habits were quickly making that very difficult. Other days, Brian wanted to mangle his voice beyond recognition. Some days, Brian probably wanted both, contradictorily, at the same time. Some days he just wanted to disappear altogether.

But we'll never know for sure because only Brian was inside his own head, and because I doubt Brian himself could say for sure any more. 
36  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / An Essay on the Beach Boys and Drugs in American Culture on: March 27, 2013, 08:02:25 PM
Hi Smileysmile. I've written a long reflection over at my blog on the relationship between American drug policy and the Beach Boys. Doubt everyone here will agree, but I figure it'll give ya'll something to talk about besides a box set and a reunion tour, neither of which have generated any new developments in months and months Tongue 

http://orkinpod.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/the-beach-boys-the-war-on-drugs-and-the-heteroamerican-dream/
37  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Audiophile Recognition for SMiLE on: February 02, 2013, 09:27:02 PM
BWPS was modular except for Good Vibrations and his band played those tracks as well as the "wrecking crew" Roll Eyes but whatever.

I thought BWPS wasn't modular, because the band recorded the tracks straight through start to finish. My understanding is that the term modular referred to tracking each section, a verse, chorus, tag, etc. of a single track separately, then editing them together to form songs. And I think the fact that BWPS wasn't recorded that way contributes to its different tone compared to the original (note - no value judgement intended, I love both! Just reflecting on how they were recorded).
38  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / Smiley Smilers Who Make Music / Re: New from James Clarke Five on: January 20, 2013, 03:30:26 PM
Very, very cool! I definitely want to hear the whole album when it comes out! I love the synth solo in the middle, and the harmonies at the end particularly.
39  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / Smiley Smilers Who Make Music / I've just released a new album on: January 01, 2013, 05:31:50 PM
Hi everyone,

I've just released a new album, and want to share it with the smileysmile community.  It is very influenced by the smiley-smile through holland period, and I've been working on it for a long time - it is called The Loudest Sound. You can listen to it here.

http://orkinpod.bandcamp.com/

You can also download it for free - just click "Buy Now" and enter 0.00 dollars! Alternatively, you can pay any amount of money you want. But please, don't hesitate to download it for free. Above all I want my music to be listened to and to be shared. I would like it very, very much if it were to turn out that my music meant something to other people. Money is not an important part of this equation.

So please, listen. And I wish you all a beautiful and joyful 2013.
40  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: \ on: October 18, 2012, 05:07:58 PM
Thanks for the info - that's why I love this board  Smiley
41  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / "Fantasy is Reality" mid 90s outtake just posted on Brian's facebook. on: October 18, 2012, 04:34:11 PM
From Brian Wilson's facebook page:

Listen to "Fantasy is Reality" from 1994, co-written by Brian, and performed by Brian, Carnie Wilson and bassist Rob Wasserman. Brian plays piano and organ on this one:

http://www.brianwilson.com/i-just-wasn-made-for-these-times

This is pretty cool, very Brian really - especially the ending!  Thoughts?  Anyone know anything about this? 
42  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Track Talk #5: Summer Means New Love on: October 08, 2012, 03:30:20 PM
Looks like I'm the exception here - it's always been one of my very favorite Brian songs.  The melody is gorgeous, the string and horn arrangement is fantastic, and the whole song just transports me to another place and time. Let's Go Away for a While is a better song, but I prefer this for the same reason that I prefer Today to Pet Sounds - it just has an unbelievable honesty to it.
43  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian's back to work on: September 18, 2012, 12:25:06 AM
No, but it seems obvious to me that they are both much more comfortable in the scaled down half-assed version of The Beach Boys, and while I think Mike was happy to be back with Brian, I think he also realized he would rather have full control and just play the hits and not have to worry about compromise. I'm not a Mike hater by the way, but it was obvious from that Billboard interview he did from a view months ago, that as great as it is to have the group back in the public eye, I think it pains him to spend all this money on putting on these shows with Brian and whatnot, when he knows he can still sell as "The Beach Boys" without all the other guys and probably take home more money. I just don't see  a new album with the group happening if Mike and Bruce are gonna be touring as "The Beach Boys" all the time again. I mean, it'd be cool if once again Brian and co. laid down the tracks and whatnot and had the guys come in to work on stuff, but I just don't know if that's gonna happen in 2013.

I think you're coming to a falsely pessimistic conclusion - I don't think Mike is motivated first and foremost by money, I think he's just gotta be out on stage.  He's been doing it since he was a teenager and well, what else would he do?  Mike Love will be touring as the Beach Boys until he dies, because that's what Mike Love does.  Brian, on the other hand, likes vacations, resting, and working at his own pace.  I think we'll get another Beach Boys album; while Mike and Bruce are off touring, Brian will take a few months off, maybe write a few songs, think about going down to the studio once or twice maybe, and when he's got a new Beach Boys album worked out in a couple of years (and it will be a couple of years at least. Think about the gaps between Brian's solo albums, not to mention the fact that a normal release schedule for bands these days seems to be an album every few years) he'll call the guys and they'll get back together.  So yea, Mike and Bruce are going to go off touring, but I doubt any of them ever planned to jump right back into the studio as soon as the tour was over as if it was still 1965!  With patience, and a bit of luck, I think the boys may still have a lot to offer though, and I highly doubt that Mike would get in the way of a new album if Brian wants to do it.
44  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Spector versus Wilson on: August 08, 2012, 10:53:12 PM
I want to re-iterate what was said above, that Spector wasn't an arranger, and the Wall of Sound was in many respects a collaborative creation with Jack Nitzche, who first worked with Spector, to my knowledge, on He's a Rebel, which is, not concidentally, the first Philles record that really nails the wall of sound approach.  Spector was tireless at promoting his own legend, and taking credit away from others - for example, the song Unchained Melody, not originally intended as a single, was arranged by Bill Medley, a fact which Spector has flat out lied about over and over since it became such an enduring production. 

As a song writer, Spector really did contribute to all those songs, often just a bridge, but he was generally in the room as they were being written, and the songwriters he worked with tend to talk about those songs as genuine collaborations.  That said, he was working with some of the best songwriters in LA, and as a solo song-writer, he had a knack for melody but just couldnt get away from those cliches fifties style doo-wop chord progressions.   

Most important, to my mind, is that Phil Spector utterly failed to see that albums were the future of popular music.  In the mid 60s, Phil Spector was leaving song after song of truly spectacular material in the can, while generally refusing to produce whole albums.  The one time that Spector applied himself to a whole album, it was a christmas album - and even so, it became one of the most influential and enduring albums of all time, which is in and of itself enough to show that had he applied himself to creating albums the way Brian did beginning with, arguably, All Summer Long and Today, the results would have been breathtaking. 

Finally, I agree with most of the posters here that Brian was more talented, more original, more musical, and a better producer, not to mention that he also sang and arranged, neither of which Spector did, and he was one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, which Spector most certainly wasn't.  But still, I think Spector's influence is more prevelent, and his shadow greater on popular music.  Before 1962, there was nothing like the Wall of Sound in popular music.  Be My Baby, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and the other 1963 Spector hits are musical tour-de-forces which blow everything else on the radio at the time out of the water.  After Spector, and continuing into the present, the bombastic, wall of sound approach is  a huge part of popular music.  It defined the production styles of the 70s and 80s, and continues to profoundly color todays pop music.  They aren't using Spectors technique, but they are wall of sound productions in that the goal is to create intense, many-layered productions that leap off the radio start to finish.  Whether this would have happened without Spector is impossible to know, but the truth is, it happened, and Phil Spector's productions absolutely, in my opinion, revolutionized popular music in a way that Brian simply did not. 
45  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Here Comes The Night - Greatest Disco recording of all time on: July 20, 2012, 11:29:10 AM
now THIS is what great disco sounds like, compared to this HCTN is soggy bread. 

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Love I Lost http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXg0iXFHkxs
46  Smiley Smile Stuff / Concert Reviews / Re: Show 39: PNC Bank Arts Center - Holmdel, NJ 6/27/12 on: June 28, 2012, 08:50:39 AM
Want to add my notes.  I tried to make a setlist, but I can't for the life of me remember what order the songs were in, which is of course the whole point of a setlist at this point, since we all know the additions.  But the order was changed around significantly from the Boston set list.  California Saga was late in the first set, but Cotton Fields was moved up, rather than playing them back to back.  Why Do Fools Fall in Love directly followed Come Go with Me, which strikes me as a weird choice.  Come Go With Me sounded great, but one doo wop cover is enough, they should have dropped Fools and left in something like Marcella.  But with great versions of Good Timin followed directly by This Whole World, I can't complain!!!

the traffic and parking, as noted, was a nightmare.  I just made it into the arena in time for Good Timin (thank God) but didn't really get to enjoy it because I was looking for a place on the lawn.  I think that the PNC Bank Arts Center just isn't used to have both the arena and the lawn totally full of people.  This was a really big crow (and very enthusiastic!).  

Bruce sang Wendy, which was nice because it had been taken out of the setlist for the shows I saw in New York a month ago, so I was glad I got to hear it!  

Brian was really engaged - it was hard to see from the lawn when the screen wasn't on him, but you could hear him in the harmonies.  Also, from time to time Brian would improvise a vocal line, which was really cool, because in that band really only Brian has the guts and skills to do that, the harmonies are so tight.  But for example, in Disney Girls there was one part where Brian just did this really cool spontaneous backing vocal line that isn't on the record and that I hadn't heard live before.  You could kind of tell that Bruce was paying attention to how involved Brian was in Disney Girls last night, I really hope that one ends up on youtube!  And a number of his comments, such as the camera man conversation mentioned above, were clearly spontaneous.  His leads were not always pitch-perfect, but he sounded great and was definitely having a good day!  

The backing vocals in Add Some Music were changed around in one part, which was really cool.  Different from both the record and the earlier dates on the tour.  Did anyone else notice this?  Is it a new development?  They were distinctly different.  

Isn't it Time sounded great, That's Why God Made the Radio never quite pulled together - that's gotta be one tough song to pull off live, although they nailed it in NY a month ago.    

Pet sounds (the song) is an awesome addition.  The band totally rocks, Dave is so cool, and it gives everyone time to be back in their seats and ready for add some music, which was a problem at earlier shows.  Speaking of Dave, he totally rocked Sail on Sailor.  Man he was smokin!  He flubbed a few solos, notably do you wanna dance, but it's so cool to have him actually putting his all into doing something new with every guitar solo that its more than worth it.  That's the price you pay for not having some hired gun, and man is it worth it.  

The love this audience had for wouldn't it be nice was astounding.  I've never in my life seen a song in the middle of a concert just get waves and waves of applause and a standing ovation.  Mike just stood back and took it all in.  

Overall, the energy was incredible.  

A final note: on the way out I overheard some middle aged guy comment: "it's hardly good music, but it sure is fun."  
Just goes to show that you can literally force some of these people to listen to some of the most beautiful, sophisticated music in the Western canon, and the blinders are on so tight that they still can't see past barbara ann. I don't mind, I just feel bad for em.  

Overall, a great show!
47  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Jimmy Buffett vs. The BBs on: June 01, 2012, 07:49:50 PM

But what I WOULD like to know is...do Jimmy Buffett fans have divisions of fandom like we do? Is there a Come Monday camp and a Margaritaville/parrothead camp that are bitterly divided? A sector adores his music but hates his books? An uncritical wing of fandom that spends all its spare change on whatever he puts out?

And more importantly: is Jimmy Buffet actually an OK guy and heart, and someone who really does harbor (ha, pun) talent that he doesn't often get to use, because it's the goddam parrot stuff that's what sells? (I've seen other artists that people tend to blow off because their successes outshadowed their deeper talents, and been amazed at what I saw...I'm talking Colin Hay (MAW) and Glen Phillips (Toad TWS)...)

It's making me wonder: could there be a whole bunch of cool JB stuff I might like, but was too put off by the popular stuff to bother with? (I mean, hey, I didn't listen to the BBs for years because of their image...then a SMiLE boot seeped into my blood and tore my head off like a tab of Owsley...)

I'm a Jimmy Buffet fan, but not a Parrothead, so I feel semi-qualified to answer this question. 
The short answer is yes, Jimmy Buffet was and is a talented guy, whose genuine talent got lost after the whole parrothead thing blew up.  That said, he was always a kind of country singer, so you have to like country to like even his best stuff, but a number of his early albums are full of great songs, and at his best he sounds like no one else out there. 

My recommendations for some cool Buffet to check out (not digging very deep here, many of these songs would appear on a greatest hits collection):

He Went to Paris is a beautiful country ballad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGmERAWVdWM

Pencil Thin Mustache is pretty amusing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dgjOObPxds

Grape Fruit Juicy Fruit isn't on youtube, but it's a really weird, great song, despite it's inclusion among the maragaritaville set. 
I think its absolutely true that there's a segment of Jimmy Buffet fans who love everything he does and especially the parrothead stuff, and another segment of fans who think he was a talented country singer and great songwriter who lost his way due to it.  But, unlike the kokomo phenomenon, which was very much an accident in many ways, Jimmy Buffet actively constructed his tropical persona.  And he does live the lifestyle - I read his autobiography when I was a kid and wanted to be Jimmy Buffet when I grew up for years.  He basically flies around the caribbean in his own boat-plane, writing songs and enjoying being rich. 
48  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Joe Thomas Interview: On Brian Wilson, the Reunion, & TWGMTR on: May 31, 2012, 08:08:22 PM
This interview finally clarifies something I've always wondered about - the genesis of Lay Down Burden, and whether it was written before or after Carl died.  It always seemed like for every time someone said the song was written before Carl died, with the intention of his involvement, there was someone else (or the same person, potentially, in Brian's case) saying it was written after he died.  Now we know that Lay Down Burden was written after Carl died, as a tribute to him/ a way to respond to his passing, but that Spring Vacation had been written before Carl died, with the title Lay Down Burden and the intention of Carl singing.   Which is not at all the resolution to that discrepancy I expected, but it's nice to know. 
49  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: THE BEACH BOYS - That's Why God Made The Radio SS member reviews on: May 31, 2012, 08:04:27 PM
I've listened a few times now, and thought I'd do a track by track review:

Think about the Days: incredibly beautiful.  Not earth shattering, but it doesn't need to be.  It's somewhere between our prayer and meant for you - which is high praise.  

That's Why God Made the Radio: I really liked it at first, but I've been playing it a lot, and I'm starting to tire of it a little. It's a bit too Beach Boys by numbers for me, although the last minute is really wonderful.  

Isn't It Time: This is the first song that I really love.  I think this song would have sounded right at home on Holland or Carl and the Passions, it has that early-70s Marcella, funky pretty feel to me.  And frankly, I think it's about as good as both of those classics.  A really great song with great vocals and great production and an awesome hook and it just kind of grooves along in early-70s Beach Boy's fashion.  This is the first song that I think has that spark that sets apart their best work, and that, already after three songs, raises this album miles above MIU and Keepin the Summer Alive.  I do wish Mike had been given both versus though - overall, I think Brian sounds great on the new album, but that all the guys sound great, and I wish the vocals had been apportioned more evenly.  

Spring Vacation: This song has been growing and growing on me.  I love how the chorus is half Brian and half Mike, and Brian's lyrics are so Brian, and Mike's are so Mike!  This song, however, suffers from the production a little.  I think that the drums aren't as solid as they could be, they're a bit too "filly," but that's a matter of taste and not really a knock on the song.  Ditto for the lead guitar, which is a bit too smooth for my taste.  I think the major missing ingredient in the guitar sound on this record is that clean, surf guitar sound which Carl Wilson played on all of their 60s songs.  The lead guitar on a beach boys album should be *clean,* reverby and ringing, none of this smooth, 70s-guitar sound.  I was hoping David Mark's might have brought that to the table, but despite his absolutely smoking live leads, I think the guitar playing on the album is disappointing.  Still, over all I think this is a good song, it sticks on you're head.  It reminds me of 80s beach Boys at their very best, which is something I enjoy.  Also I love the vocal arrangement in the bridge, at like 2:10 - the voices sort of disappear and weave together in a really interesting way - it's a beautiful and strange moment in a sort of pedestrian song that reminds you you're listening to the Beach Boys!!

Private Life of Bill and Sue: jury's out on this one.  Definitely a cool song, clearly very Brian.  Carribean, but also sort of weird. I think I like it, but I'm just not sure.  Definitely not bad, though.

Shelter: I love this song.  I wish to God Carl were alive to sing the chorus - the one place where Jeff sort of grates.  But a really cool song. I love the long pause before the chorus - only Brian Wilson would make a production decision like that.  I also love the vocal arrangement in the last two choruses, which gets deceptively complicated.  

Daybreak over the Ocean - a beautiful song, in my opinion.  the instrumental arrangement is a bit busy, and you can kind of tell it's imitation Brian Wilson, not actual Brian Wilson. But what a beautiful song.  If the credit said BW and not ML, people would be ranking this one up with the suite, I really believe that.  And the vocal harmonies are amazing - Christian Love has such a great voice, sounds just like Carl.  I think it's a real shame that Christian Love didn't sing the chorus on Shelter - now that would have been incredible.  

Beaches in Mind - inoffensive.  Nice intro.  Nice and short.  Decent guitar playing, although see my notes Spring Vacation.  I think the organ sound on this song, and a few others is very reminiscent of Key of Disney, which to my ears marked a return to interest in organ sounds for Brian, which I think is a sign that he was involved in the production and arrangement.  Clearly the weakest song, which, frankly, says good things about the rest of the album.  

Strange World - Awesome.  Very Brian arrangement.  I think the drums is where you can really gauge how involved Brian is in the backing track.  Brian has never liked really showy drum arrangements - in the 60s, he really held Hal Blaine back - compare Blaine on any phil spector song with any Beach Boy's song, and you can see how much more restrained the drumming is.  The drums in this song are just so much more Brian than say, Spring vacation, or Shelter.  Then again, who knows what Brian wants or what calls he's making.  Point is, this is an epicly awesome song.  Like Isn't it Time, it reminds me of early 70s funky Brian, right down to the weird synth sounds.  Also, Joe Thomas is definitely playing the piano.  At 1:42 he plays almost the exact same piano riff as 2:24 of Lay Down Burden!!!  

From There to Back Again - I never in a million years thought I would hear a new Beach Boys song this good in my lifetime.  A new Beach Boys song this good has not right to exist - that Brian Wilson can still do this is just - mindblowing.  Just wow.  This song alone makes the whole album worth it.  just, Jesus.  Also, they should have given Al at least one more lead vocal. Al would ahve done a great job singing shelter, or private life of bill and sue, or really any of the Brian leads this album, and was totally underutilized.  This is honestly one of the best Al Jardine vocals of his entire career.  And that's just mindblowing.  mindblowing.  This song would have been a standout track on Holland or even Sunflower!  Also, it has a great tag.  One of the conspicious absences on this record, especially compared to, say, Brian WIlson 88, is the lack of the sort of tags which Brian has specialized in since the 60s.  A lot of the songs just end on a chorus, which is kind of disappointing.  But given how great a lot the choruses are, it's hard to complain Smiley

Pacific Coast Highway - I really like this.  Not as good as There to Back Again, but a beautiful little song, a bit slight, but with a beautiful little Brian Wilson vocal.  The group "goodbye" vocal at the end is really great.  

Summer's Gone - don't like it as much as I expected.  It's a really pretty song, but it's about a minute too long - which frankly, I think is Jon Bon Jovi's influence, Brian has done a good job keeping things short and sweet up til now.    Frankly, I think the string arrangement is terrible.  I generally like Paul Von Mertens, and its hard to say whether the fault lies with him or Brian's wishes, but the song would have benefitted from some restraint, in both the strings and the harmonies.  But it's still a gorgeous song, that comes to a gorgeous and poignant ending.

Overall verdict.  Frankly, I think this album stands closer to the level of quality of the Beach Boys early 70s output then their late 70s output.  Miles beyond MIU and Keepin the Summer Alive, at least on par with the LA Light album.  At it's very best moments, as good as anything the Beach Boys have done post-Sunflower, and From There to Back Again ranks among the Band's best work.  Carl is very, very missed, not the least because it sounds like Brian is still writing for him, which makes his absence all the more sad - hearing a song like Isn't It Time, you don't really miss Carl, the singing is great, the songs good, all is well.  But the chorus of Shelter just sounds like it was written for Carl's voice - and in that situation, quite frankly, there isn't a singer in the world who could live up to the built-in expectations.  And most importantly, it's a Beach Boys album, spearheaded by Brian Wilson, that sounds and feels like a Beach Boys album.  And that's nothing short of a miracle.  
50  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: New album info (as it rolls out...) on: May 31, 2012, 07:27:16 PM
Question: can anyone make out the lyrics of the backing vocals on the last verse of shelter - I didn't even notice them until my fourth or fifth listen, but they're really cool.  It's in the last two choruses.  It sounds like their saying "moonlight" to me, but it might just be nonsense syllables even. 
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