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Author Topic: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back"  (Read 16429 times)
Alan Boyd
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« Reply #75 on: May 16, 2006, 06:23:04 PM »

I'm told that Al has actually played some almost "folk" sets, solo, up in the Monterey area a couple of times, just to do it and see what it felt like, and I joined him for a gig at his Red Barn in Big Sur last year, where he played with the band Hey Stevie as part of a local arts event.... and when he played the MGM Grand for an extended run back in 1999, his band had the time during off hours to work up some cool "rarities" for the set, "Break Away" and "Wild Honey" and a couple of things like that.

When Al joined us for a short gig last summer in Sacramento, he was up there singing "California Saga" and "Honkin' Down The Highway," along with some of the Jardine perennials like Sloop, Heroes and Rhonda.  I have to admit, playing a "Love You" song with Al was a major "BB nerd fan" dream come true for me and Adam Marsland...

Honestly, if Al had the opportunity (and the bookings, particularly at venues other than one-shot "surf" and nostalgia shows), he and his band would certainly be going more deeply into the catalog.  But it's hard to get the momentum going, not to mention covering the expense and the logistics to schedule the kind of intensive rehearsals necessary for those songs, if you're only playing a handful of gigs each year.  When Al was pushing for the Beach Boys to do that extended set back in 1993, they were somehow able to get everybody in the band up to Big Sur for several days of intense preparation.  It takes a LOT of precise, hard work to pull off those tunes (as I've learned after countless hot sweaty hours in Adam Marsland's garage working with the Chaos band on the Dennis and Carl songs).

Alan
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« Reply #76 on: May 16, 2006, 06:40:36 PM »

Wow! That's very interesting. I've always wandered what got the nostalgia-drenched later-day BB to suddenly make those more ambitious concerts.
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« Reply #77 on: May 16, 2006, 07:41:03 PM »

It takes a LOT of precise, hard work to pull off those tunes (as I've learned after countless hot sweaty hours in Adam Marsland's garage working with the Chaos band on the Dennis and Carl songs).

I for one cannot wait to hear the results for myself.  The sound clips on the band's MySpace sound incredible.  Next weekend can't come soon enough (especially since i graduate this Sunday and can't wait to get it over with!)   
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"Because of the attitude of a few mental dinosaurs intent on exploiting our initial success, Brian's huge talent has never been fully appreciated in America and the potential of the group has been stifled.... If the Beatles had suffered this kind of misrepresentation, they would have never got past singing 'Please Please Me' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' and leaping around in Beatle suits."
-Dennis Wilson, 1970
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« Reply #78 on: May 16, 2006, 08:41:46 PM »


Brian's track is somewhat disappointing. I thought I would enjoy it more. Comparisons to the 27 prior versions of the song are inevitable. In that sense, the biggest problem with the new version is that the key has been lowered noticeably, which right off the bat makes the song sound less energetic.

I think it sounds about a whole step lower. Noticeable, yes, but I don't think that makes any issues be the fault of the key.
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« Reply #79 on: May 16, 2006, 10:49:50 PM »


Brian's track is somewhat disappointing. I thought I would enjoy it more. Comparisons to the 27 prior versions of the song are inevitable. In that sense, the biggest problem with the new version is that the key has been lowered noticeably, which right off the bat makes the song sound less energetic.

I think it sounds about a whole step lower. Noticeable, yes, but I don't think that makes any issues be the fault of the key.

Certainly, the fact that the key is changed or a whole octave change is only noticeable when compared to previous versions. I don't mean to say that the actual key makes it better or worse, as if the key of A is better than C irrespective of how that affects how the singer sings it, etc. Clearly, the key/octave was changed because Brian couldn't sing it in its original form. So it is in that sense that the song ends up having less energy, because Brian is singing it about a whole octave lower. I'm not saying he should have strained to hit notes he couldn't hit, though.

I think just hearing hearing the new version for the first time was a sort of off-putting at first in the same way as when I first head Brian and his band do "Wouldn't It Be Nice" or "Don't Talk" dropped down, and a few other songs.

Question for Alan Boyd if he's reading: What other sorts of songs did Al play for the Hallmark people? I don't know how much info you could divulge about these recordings, but were they finished, new, completely solo Al recordings? Is Al going to give us a solo album ever? For that matter, can you talk at all about how the Hallmark CD came about and how the track selection and concept came about? I'd be interested to know how it was decided to use 1989 live tracks, for instance. Was there any thought given to making some Brother-era outtakes the "new" studio tracks? Or perhaps offering each of the BB's a chance to provide a new, solo track was a way to motivate them to be involved and supportive of the CD. It sounds like Hallmark had rather strong control over the tracklisting. I imagine they were looking for a mainstream thing to offer, so I would guess a CD full of "Holland" outtakes or something wasn't ever going to fly! Smiley
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« Reply #80 on: May 17, 2006, 04:34:49 AM »

"Is Al going to give us a solo album ever? "  How about an internet/show only release?  If he's got more stuff in the vein of his acoustic version of California, I'm there!
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« Reply #81 on: May 17, 2006, 10:08:10 AM »

Quote from: Alan Boyd
FYI - For what it's worth, Al seems to have been the driving force behind the group's late 1993 "unplugged" tour and setlist...

That would certainly explain why Al was grinning from ear to ear when I thanked him for playing "Vegetables" at the 1983 Atlanta concert, post-show!
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« Reply #82 on: May 17, 2006, 01:58:49 PM »

Let me be the first to say that Brian's new version of "Spirit" IMHO wipes the floor with the previous, unofficial versions. The difference is all in the track. It sounds like a Brian Wilson production. The vocals, too, while stepped down, are actually arranged.

The tune has never been my favorite unreleased Brian track -- mainly because it's always seemed like Brian trying to sound like something else. The new version actually sounds like him.

As for Al's track -- a retread, if well-sung.

Mike's is good, but not that good. It's a simplistic tune, dressed up with an excellent vocal arrangement. The instrumental track verges on soulless, although god knows it's better than anything we've heard from Mike in 30 years.
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« Reply #83 on: May 17, 2006, 07:12:46 PM »

Why wasn't Bruce given space for a song?  Or did he choose not to contribute?
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« Reply #84 on: May 18, 2006, 10:35:19 PM »

I haven't heard the new, lower key version of Rock&Roll, but IMHO, Brian barely pulled off the key in the older versions, so it's not like it's totally about him being older.

Al Jardine doing "California Saga"! Wow, I imagine that WOULD take a lot of prep to get down pat. 
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« Reply #85 on: May 19, 2006, 03:12:51 PM »

I would like to know if a release of the video to the concert is planned. Or maybe a special download-offer on the new site..... Mr. Boyd ?
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« Reply #86 on: May 19, 2006, 03:17:48 PM »

just bought this cd today. i really enjoy the live stuff. however i must say i much prefer the version of spirit of rock and roll on the second sweet insanity cd much more than this new version. maybe it is because i have listened to the si version for 15 years now. i don't know. but after the 1st listen to this version i must say i don't really like it. to each their own i guess....
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« Reply #87 on: May 19, 2006, 10:19:34 PM »

You can tell Wouldn't It Be Nice has a different percussionist than the rest of the concert, but I probably wouldn't've noticed that had I not already known. Good Vibrations isn't all that obvious, and I love the electric guitar right before the chorus.. this is a Blondie track, right? Brian sounds like an old man in Spirit, but then again, he is. The new ending is interesting. PT Cruiser is a terribly obvious Rip Chords ripoff, not that that's bad. Too much saxophone, though. Cool Head Warm Heart is a nice peaceful closer, and the saxophone in this one doesn't sound obnoxious like the other two. I could do without some of the backing vocals, though.

I have to say I don't really hear Brian in the concert either.. guess he's not there.
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« Reply #88 on: May 19, 2006, 11:43:25 PM »

Now....on the other hand, I DIG Paula Abdul with Brian on "Make a Wish".. Puts the version on GIOMH to shame....


I didn't know Paula Abdul was on "Make A Wish!"  I'll have to listen to it again.

Is she on the version that's on Sweet Insanity Version 1 or Version 2?  Or is she on both versions?
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« Reply #89 on: May 20, 2006, 12:08:31 AM »

Just listened to Kokomo a few times.

I'm afraid I don't hear Brian at all.
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« Reply #90 on: May 20, 2006, 03:21:20 AM »

GV and WIBN and not Blondie tracks; Blondie left in 1973.
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« Reply #91 on: May 20, 2006, 11:16:14 PM »

I much prefer the "Spirit" without the Dylan vocal. His couple of lines become an intrusion, then a quick annoyance. (nothing against Dylan's singing, just the wrong somg for him) I feel the dame way about Terrance Trent D'Arby trying "Walkin the line...I'm glad they didn't use that one either...IMO

I understand your point, but I thought it was quite thrilling to have these two musical legends singing on the same song...even if that song isn't particularly that great...

Still, this version easily beats the "shuffle" version found on the new Hallmark CD.
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« Reply #92 on: May 21, 2006, 05:40:41 AM »

Well, I wanted to ask this since I heard the CD for the 2nd time, but I forgot to post. Do I hear the 80s Carl on the "chorus" on the 74-version of  GV ? It sounds like that to me... Were those two (WIBN GV ) also doctored up a little? And if so, then it seems that they would have had plans in the 80s to release that material, right? Well, maybe I'm totally wrong, excuse me....
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« Reply #93 on: May 21, 2006, 09:45:46 AM »

the downer about this album, the spirit of rock and roll was a big let down. the begining sounds great with the choir of brian's singing...but i just can't stand the drumming and it just seems to be a let down to me....it's like the same thing he did with smile tracks...released them a little too late and it's lost its magic to me
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« Reply #94 on: May 23, 2006, 06:21:25 AM »

A friend of mine got this for me last Friday for my birthday so I finally have heard it and can give my two cents on it.  The live tracks are good.  Nothing out of the ordinary but they are well played and sung for sure.  I can't say that I really hear Brian on them other than a few times, I think, on Little Duece Coupe and I'm not even sure it is him I actually hear there either.  Did we ever make a solid decision on who was singing lead on WIBN?  My ear is not as trained as most of you on here but there are times when it sounds like Carl and other times on this same track that it sounds a bit like Al to me.

As for the "new" solo tracks, I am let down by them.  Spirit Of Rock N' Roll should have been so much better.  I have been waiting for this to be officially released for a long time now and while I think it is harmless overall, it could have been SO much better.  PT Cruiser is just a bit to gimmicky for me to really enjoy.  Al's voice is great and e obviously has the best voice of the remaining boys but this song causes massive constipation from excessive amounts of cheese.  Mike's track is nice.  Surely the best thing I can recall ever hearing from his solo ventures.  The vocal arrangement is nice on this one.  Not a great song, but definately a pretty good one.  I was hoping for much more from this album but its good to hear any nrew material from the boys I guess.
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« Reply #95 on: May 23, 2006, 06:37:54 AM »

Well, Alan Boyd confirmed that I must be hearing things on Kokomo -- though it sure sounds like Brian.  But the Little Deuce Coupe was not from the same exact set (though the same day) as the Endless Summer stuff, so Brian is most definitely on LDC per Mr. Boyd, the man who compiled the set.
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