Time To Get Alone?

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It's like a murder mystery - where did Danny's time to get alone go?

Quote from: Jeff on August 28, 2011, 04:40:53 PM

Quote from: Matt Bielewicz on July 26, 2011, 02:18:52 AM

I'm guessing (and it's no more than that...) that both the main Beach Boys versions (20/20 and the Hawthorne one) used multitracks in different stages of development for their creation.

Imagine you record some drums, guitar, piano and a bass on a multitrack tape. All the instruments are on their own tracks, maybe a stereo pair for the drums. Now imagine you make a multitrack clone of that tape, so that all of the instruments are still on their own channel on the new tape. Then you go and overdub a whole bunch of different stuff ó strings, various vocal overdubs, harpsichord, trumpets etc on further open tracks on each tape... but you put *different* overdubs on to each multitrack tape. When each tape is finally mixed down, you could end up with songs that sound totally different ó but the drums in each one would still be the same basic performance.

I suspect something like this happened with Time To Get Alone, although it's probably even more complicated than that. Again, I don't know for sure that this is what happened (and it's ages since I listened to TTGA with anything like forensic ears, so my recollection of what belongs with which version is probably hopelessly confused), but you can imagine it might have been something like the following...

The Redwood multitrack tape is recorded in Summer 1967, with drums and bass and strings and trumpets and Redwood's vocals.

In Autumn 67, The Beach Boys take the Redwood multitrack tape, erase the Redwood vocals and record some of their own (changing some, but not all of the lyrics in the process). Maybe they add some more instruments. As per the extended liner notes released at the time of the original Hawthorne CD, we know that they made a reduction mix to make way for more instruments on the multitrack, and nearly finished this version in 1967 for Wild Honey, but they didn't quite.

Later, during the sessions for 20/20, they make another copy or reduction mix of the multitrack as it stood when they stopped working before, redo some of the vocals again (changing some more of the lyrics in the process), add new string parts, edit out the bridge with the trombone, trumpets and the whistling, and re-edit the arrangement near the end of the song to remove the 'dead stop' featured near the end of the Redwood version. Finally, they mix it, and it goes out on 20/20.

Way, WAY later, during the production of the Hawthorne set, the earlier Beach Boys multitracks are found and all the parts that differ from the 20/20 version are noted, like the different lyrics and the whistling bridge. Some of these are restored to the song, and a new mix is done from scratch, comprising parts that were never all on one multitrack at one time during the 60s, and could never have been made then.

So you end up with three different versions of the song, all of which have SOME parts and performances in common (like the drums, some of the keyboards and some of the strings), but also have a lot of significant differences: different vocals, extra percussion maybe, perhaps a different bass performance... and so on.

A bit like using the SMiLE Heroes and Villains backing track, but nixing the SMiLE-era vocals in favour of performances recorded in the emptied-out pool at Brian's house to create the H&V 45 version. Same original backing track, but with different vocals.

Like I say, I don't know if that's *exactly* what happened with Time To Get Alone, but it's one explanation for the various suspiciously similar sounding versions we have now. It's also consistent with Mr Desper's recollections; the band 'tracked over' the original multitrack, adding their own performances to some that were used in the Redwood version. And it's also consistent with the idea that the Beach Boys 'stole' the Redwood track (but it doesn't mention that they added more stuff to it of their own before releasing their version...)

If this *is* true, it also means that everyone who has posted on this subject so far is right to some extent. In the interests of board harmony, this is therefore clearly the best possible theory. ;)


PS I know there's yet *another* Time To Get Alone mix - the recent stereo one. But if I remember rightly, wasn't that just a new stereo mix designed to sound as close as possible to the 20/20 version (ie. same lyrics, same song structure - so no whistling or trumpets)? If so, that is similar to the 20/20 version in terms of its constituent parts, and simpler to understand.

The Hawthorne liner notes say that the "basic track" was recorded  on 10/14/67 & 10/15/67, the lead vocals in 11/67, and the backing vocals in 10/68.

It sounds like the October '67 work was intended at the time for Redwood.

Does anyone have an opinion as to whether the 11/67 "lead vocals" were intended to be guide vocals for Redwood, or was that actually an attempt to record the song for the Beach Boys?

How about the tag that shows up on Hawthorne?  When was that recorded?

Interesting questions.

Iím guessing that the Nov. 1967 lead vocals were an attempt to finish the song for Wild Honey.  If Brian had sung the lead, and if they had been rougher, maybe they would have been guide vocals.  But these are by Carl and sound relatively finished.

The tag presumably wasnít recorded until late í68, since there arenít lead vocals on the tag.  It also doesnít show up in the Redwood version.

Matt Bielewicz:
But surely... the 'tag' mentioned above ISN'T a tag. It sounds to me as though it's just the backing vocals from earlier in the track with the instruments and lead vocal mixed out, and spliced onto the end of the song. Pretty easily done if you still have the multitracks with the vocals isolated on their own tracks, and the instruments on others.

All sorts of remixing tricks like this are possible if you still have the multis. This isn't the only place on the Hawthorne set where this kind of stuff is done. The acapella ending to the version of Sail On Sailor on 'Hawthorne' does a similar thing with the vocals. And there's the hidden track at the end of the set with the lovely backing vocals from the 'My Children Were Raised...' section of Heroes and Villains. Surely nobody thinks that these were separately recorded vocal-only pieces in the vault? Instead, they're surely from the multitracks of the original Time To Get Alone, Sail On Sailor and Heroes and Villains recordings, with the instruments and/or lead vocals mixed out where appropriate. I'd lay down good money on it.


Can anyone make out those muffled vocals in the right channel of the chorus on the SOT set? Sounds like Brian sometimes, sometimes Marilyn, saying something like "Baby it's time", or "When day is done", or "Candy is fine."

I prefer the Hawthorne, CA version by a country mile. A lot clearer sounding recording and Brian sounds terrific on the chorus. Superb song.


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