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Author Topic: Rate the Boxed Sets  (Read 4101 times)
Hickory Violet Part IV
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« on: February 07, 2017, 12:48:04 PM »

Silly thread, bit of fun. Rare the four official Boxed Sets. (And apologies if this has been done before)

You can rate by the selections, the packaging, the impact it had on you. No fixed criteria. Here's mine.

1) Good Vibrations, 30 Years of the Beach Boys.

My initial and main obsession with the BBs lasted from 88 to 96, so this box arrived  in the middle. There were some real suprises on there. Standouts have to be the Pet Sounds tracking sessions. The Smile stuff I hadn't  heardw, namely Da Da and the Vegatables fade. The GV and Cabinessence tracks, hell, all of disk 5. Played and played this box.  Packaging and notes all great. Have to put it first for most played and biggest impact

2) Pet Sounds Sessions

Blew my mind. Loved the stereo mix. The vocals only and tracking sessions are sublime. Nothing more to say. A heavenly release.

3) Smile Sessions.

If this box had come out 15 years earlier it would have been No 1 for me. Obviously a wonderful release, and a few suprises, such as the Child Is Father 2nd chorus. The packaging itself is awesome, but the book could have been better. Didn't seem aimed at the uber fan, who were the main purchasers of the big box. Would have loved to have had more technical info and sourcing info (still dont know where that 2nd chorus came from) Also wish they'd had access to those Durrie Parks acetates.
Has to be 3, mainly because I was all Smiled out by this point

4) Made in Calfornia

Some great selections and suprises, but I've never come to terms with some of the mixing / mastering decisions. (Sorry Mark, I've loved everything else you've done!) Find a lot of the compression very difficult to listen to.  Also not keen on the packaging and notes. The way the disks are stored in the back make it a chore to get them out. What can I say, I'm lazy. Just find myself reaching for disk 3 of the 93 set again........
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2017, 02:08:49 PM »

3) Smile Sessions.

If this box had come out 15 years earlier it would have been No 1 for me. Obviously a wonderful release, and a few suprises, such as the Child Is Father 2nd chorus. The packaging itself is awesome, but the book could have been better. Didn't seem aimed at the uber fan, who were the main purchasers of the big box. Would have loved to have had more technical info and sourcing info (still dont know where that 2nd chorus came from) Also wish they'd had access to those Durrie Parks acetates.
Has to be 3, mainly because I was all Smiled out by this point

Could not agree more!

As for my reviews (not in order of how much I like them, in order of their release):

1) GV boxset

The second boxset I bought from these guys and it was a flippin treat to delve into the catalogue this way. Keeping in mind I think I had already heard most of the material up to this point, but there were some hidden gems like Ruby Baby that I loved. Also the mixing of the Smile Material sounds so warm and analog that I prefer listening to a lot of these tracks over anything officially released since.

2) Pet Sounds Sessions

Greatest boxset ever released. The mini booklet with the interviews is a treasuretrove of information. The vocals only mixes are stunning. Any "journalist" hack who claims Pet Sounds is overrated needs to be given this boxset as an education in how real music is created.

3) Smile Sessions.

For what we got, it's the second greatest boxset ever released.

Pros:

- the box itself is a work of art and my god whoever designed it deserved an award (honestly the best looking boxset to ever be released).
- the 45s, LPs, were a perfect addition to this set. I have played my SMiLE LP countless times, and it's just a joy to look at.
- the content is amazing - all the 'Wonderful' tracks. A whole disc of Heroes and Villains.
- the Smile backing vocals montage....some of the greatest vocals these guys ever laid down on tape. All perfectly mixed.
- there are so many other pros to this boxset

Cons:

- what Hickory Violet said above
- an ENTIRE disc of Good Vibrations takes. Don't get me wrong, I love the content on this disc and it has grown on me throughout the years. But holy sh*t we get an hour of GV takes but Brian's mono mix of CIFOTM is nowhere to be found?
- the way the CDs are placed in the booklet - makes it a whole lot easier for scratches to damage the disc surface.

The cons are easily overlooked given the mass of amazing material compiled in one set.

MiC boxset:

I don't mind the mastering done on this set, and I think that it gives us another whole new way to look at these songs. Take Sail Plane Song - if I want to hear the original I'll find it on the the Endless Harmony CD, but this version gives us a new and interesting way of hearing the track. But I can see why others would be put off by it.

WIBNTLA - this song was worth the price of the entire box. The last CD with the bonus tracks is full of awesome stuff, and only makes me wish we had so much more.

I too didn't really like the presentation of the set (the yearbook). It was a great idea, and I'm not sure what else they could've done. But it seemed somewhat half-assed (and I know I sound like a dick when I say that I don't intend for it to sound that way); what I mean is that it perfectly resembles a yearbook (the cheesy pages, the yearbook advertisements - exactly how an actual yearbook looks). Again, it was a really good idea and was perfectly executed, but I just don't think it lives up to how momentous these guys are.

We have been blessed with a plethora of wonderful boxsets - so my complaining really shouldn't overcast how lucky we are to have all of these things assembled.

How about a wishlist for future boxsets?

The Beach Boys: Brother Era.

- Special Stephen Desper alternate mixes
- Vocals only
- backing tracks (with studio chatter prior to tracks)
- Alternate album (Landlocked)
- short book with interviews with Mike, Brian, Al, Desper, etc.
- LPs of Surf's Up and Sunflower (newly restored and re-mixed)

Friends (digital boxset)

- new mixes, alternate tracks.
- the re-done Friend's tracks from the 70s
- backing tracks/vocals only.
- and it's digital so Capitol wouldn't have to print/ship/etc this stuff...hint hint, please get on it.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 02:09:48 PM by rab2591 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2017, 05:56:59 AM »


The Beach Boys: Brother Era.

- Special Stephen Desper alternate mixes
- Vocals only
- backing tracks (with studio chatter prior to tracks)
- Alternate album (Landlocked)
- short book with interviews with Mike, Brian, Al, Desper, etc.
- LPs of Surf's Up and Sunflower (newly restored and re-mixed)

Friends (digital boxset)

- new mixes, alternate tracks.
- the re-done Friend's tracks from the 70s
- backing tracks/vocals only.
- and it's digital so Capitol wouldn't have to print/ship/etc this stuff...hint hint, please get on it.


GENIUS! I support that!
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 05:57:33 AM by NateRuvin » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2017, 07:07:34 AM »

Cool topic!

1) Good Vibrations, 30 Years of the Beach Boys
Quite a trip, all told. The live stuff is less interesting (still out on listening to live BB) but the rest is amazing!

2) Pet Sounds Sessions
My favourite of the four, 1) notwithstanding. I can't see how a new PS box set could possibly outdo this one...

3) The Smile Sessions
Bought the single album. At first I preferred BWPS but I'm more likely to play the original Smile now. And listen to online fanmixes... 

4) Made in California
Not in my collection. I get pointed at interesting tracks from it on YouTube from time to time...
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2017, 07:16:18 AM »

I would've rather seen MiC treated as a sequel to GV.  Instead, there's a lot of overlap.  I've been saying that MiC really could've been 3-4 discs.  Smile Sessions wasn't even two years old yet, so there was really no need for the Smile tracks. 

But, its business, and I think Capital wanted to cash in on The Beach Boys one more time. 
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2017, 07:31:08 AM »

I'd like to throw in a good word for The Capitol Years, which was my Beach Boys gateway drug when I bought the Australian release in 1988. Almost certainly the most-played recorded music purchase I've ever made.
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 10:07:07 AM »

"Made in California" was needlessly bloated, and forced almost exclusively hardcore fans to buy numerous discs of stuff they already had five or ten times over. Maybe it's the only way they were able to convince Capitol to put anything out at all, I dunno.

But it's still a must-own for any BB fan/scholar that's interested in anything beyond the obvious stuff. It still has a good two or so discs worth of unique stuff. The Dennis tracks alone make it worth it. The '95 reunion tracks. The alternate "Meant for You." The "Wild Honey" stereo remixes. The *amazing* 70s live tracks that make you want to wring someone's neck for not putting out BOXES of the stuff, including a live take on "It's About Time" that totally smokes the "Sunflower" version. A stunningly awe-inspiring 1995 take on "Sail on Sailor" from Carl, which sounds amazing even if it sounds like it was taken from a soundboard feed cassette tape. Vocals-only on "This Whole World." The list goes on and on.
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 11:21:03 AM »

"Made in California" was needlessly bloated, and forced almost exclusively hardcore fans to buy numerous discs of stuff they already had five or ten times over. Maybe it's the only way they were able to convince Capitol to put anything out at all, I dunno.

But it's still a must-own for any BB fan/scholar that's interested in anything beyond the obvious stuff. It still has a good two or so discs worth of unique stuff. The Dennis tracks alone make it worth it. The '95 reunion tracks. The alternate "Meant for You." The "Wild Honey" stereo remixes. The *amazing* 70s live tracks that make you want to wring someone's neck for not putting out BOXES of the stuff, including a live take on "It's About Time" that totally smokes the "Sunflower" version. A stunningly awe-inspiring 1995 take on "Sail on Sailor" from Carl, which sounds amazing even if it sounds like it was taken from a soundboard feed cassette tape. Vocals-only on "This Whole World." The list goes on and on.

That's why I reluctant bought a copy.  It took me a couple years.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised Capital still had the replacements for Disc 3 laying around when I requested one. 
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Hickory Violet Part IV
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2017, 11:27:50 AM »

"Made in California" was needlessly bloated, and forced almost exclusively hardcore fans to buy numerous discs of stuff they already had five or ten times over. Maybe it's the only way they were able to convince Capitol to put anything out at all, I dunno.

But it's still a must-own for any BB fan/scholar that's interested in anything beyond the obvious stuff. It still has a good two or so discs worth of unique stuff. The Dennis tracks alone make it worth it. The '95 reunion tracks. The alternate "Meant for You." The "Wild Honey" stereo remixes. The *amazing* 70s live tracks that make you want to wring someone's neck for not putting out BOXES of the stuff, including a live take on "It's About Time" that totally smokes the "Sunflower" version. A stunningly awe-inspiring 1995 take on "Sail on Sailor" from Carl, which sounds amazing even if it sounds like it was taken from a soundboard feed cassette tape. Vocals-only on "This Whole World." The list goes on and on.

That's why I reluctant bought a copy.  It took me a couple years.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised Capital still had the replacements for Disc 3 laying around when I requested one. 

Ha, I kept my defective disk 3 in case it's worth a fortune one day.
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2017, 11:45:11 AM »

"Made in California" was needlessly bloated, and forced almost exclusively hardcore fans to buy numerous discs of stuff they already had five or ten times over. Maybe it's the only way they were able to convince Capitol to put anything out at all, I dunno.

But it's still a must-own for any BB fan/scholar that's interested in anything beyond the obvious stuff. It still has a good two or so discs worth of unique stuff. The Dennis tracks alone make it worth it. The '95 reunion tracks. The alternate "Meant for You." The "Wild Honey" stereo remixes. The *amazing* 70s live tracks that make you want to wring someone's neck for not putting out BOXES of the stuff, including a live take on "It's About Time" that totally smokes the "Sunflower" version. A stunningly awe-inspiring 1995 take on "Sail on Sailor" from Carl, which sounds amazing even if it sounds like it was taken from a soundboard feed cassette tape. Vocals-only on "This Whole World." The list goes on and on.

That's why I reluctant bought a copy.  It took me a couple years.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised Capital still had the replacements for Disc 3 laying around when I requested one. 

Ha, I kept my defective disk 3 in case it's worth a fortune one day.

I still have mine too.  It's in the CD wallet that I keep in my car. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2017, 11:51:29 AM »

Weird.  I LOVED Made In California. I thought it was  kind of daring at times. More daring then BB box sets tend to be.
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2017, 11:52:04 AM »

Loved MIC, but the only weak spot for me lies with the remixes, with "Sail Plane Song" being essentially ruined. Using the version of "Sherry She Needs Me"  with the autotune that wasn't as heavily booted* may have been a boon for collectors, but not necessarily for listeners. That said, on the whole it's still my favorite boxed set by any artist.

*I should know...I'm the one who added it there, and shared it with a few others...imagine my surprise when I heard it for the first time.
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2017, 11:52:56 AM »

The duplicates of stuff everyone already has kinda irks me about the Made In California box. I don't even mind a whole retrospective of their album tracks and hits because there are a lot of remastered stuff or stereo remixes that I am always a sucker for no matter what. The "From The Vaults" disc though could have been better. No one needs the Good Vibrations session highlights. We had that in numerous other sets including the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey 2fer. Same with the Smile material. Other stuff that is just pointless too, for both die hard fans and casual fans. I do love "Where Is She", the Dennis stuff, "Why", ".. lovin' feelin'" and all the other previously unreleased stuff though. The instrumental "Don't Go Near The Water" was a nice treat that I didn't expect to see. I still wonder if Brian was mainly responsible for the production of that one.
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2017, 11:53:19 AM »

As far as rankings, for me it's

MIC
Smile Sessions
Pet Sounds
GV
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2017, 11:55:13 AM »

Quote
I do love "Where Is She", the Dennis stuff, "Why", ".. lovin' feelin'" and all the other previously unreleased stuff though. The instrumental "Don't Go Near The Water" was a nice treat that I didn't expect to see. I still wonder if Brian was mainly responsible for the production of that one

Don't know, but "Why" was a revelation in that part of it sounds quite a bit like "That's Why God Made the Radio"
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2017, 03:11:35 PM »

I will throw out another vote for the Capitol Years UK vinyl box. Had a great extra LP with some at the time rarities
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2017, 08:52:51 PM »

Weird.  I LOVED Made In California. I thought it was  kind of daring at times. More daring then BB box sets tend to be.

Can you further explain your perspective? Do you mean the mixes were daring? Or the way it was presented, etc?
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« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2017, 06:27:28 AM »

Thanks, great threas! My ranking is:

1) Good Vibrations.
No contest. I had forgotten the Beach Boys, once my fav group. But, for all I knew in my backwood woods, they were lost and gone and unknown for a long long time. At the time, I had practically forgotten pop/rock music. I was listening to classic, folk, jazz.
Then, while loitering in my old fav music shop, I hear an unmistakable bass voice. Mike Love. Don't remember which song it was. I tell the owner, bless him: "The Beach Boys! What's this?" "The Good Vibrations box set."
Deal done, back home, almost two discs of bliss... and then, SMILE. I didn't know it had ever existed, even as a failed project. When Heroes and Villains Part 2 fills the air, my eyes are raining tears. That goes beyond bliss. Many have betrayed SMILE (how fickle you are, folks), not me. Pet Sounds may be the best album ever. SMILE is the best music ever.
And then, that third disc. Oh my.

2) Smile Sessions.
What can I say. An infinite treasure trove. There is nothing like it, anywhere.

3) Made in California.
Fantastic. Not at all redundant, far from a copy of the GV set. Highlights the fabulous songs by Dennis. Way better live selections. Different sonic palette. Exhilarating.

4) Pet Sounds.
Great, of course, but the songs were released in 1966 in a practically perfect state. In all its gorgeousness, a melancholy reminder of what we lost thanks to Murry, Mike, mental illness, drugs, Capitol, Landy, and Brian simply not being made for these times (any times?). On the other hand, Brian has still given us a wealth of uniquely good music all these fifty years. Who can say what would have happened, instead, without the factors I listed before?
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« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2017, 06:57:53 AM »

Well, "Made in California" by its very composition is going to be redundant to some degree. I think they struck as good of a balance as one could on the "core" catalog tracks of mixing "Good Vibrations" boxed set picks with different picks. A good hunk of any 5 or 6-CD career-spanning set is going to write itself anyway.

I personally found some of the core (meaning previously released) track selections odd. I truly celebrate their entire catalog and enjoy these songs, but I don't know if tracks like "Sail Plane Song", "Good Time", or "Celebrate the News" are quite the best of the best. They all are important tracks for various reasons; there are just some songs on the set that don't strike me as serving either demographic of potential buyer. Hardcore fans already have them, and I probably wouldn't thrust something like "Sail Plane Song" or "Had to Phone Ya" or "Solar System" on a new fan. But these are minor quibbles.

The previously unreleased stuff is almost all uniformly excellent. My main gripe was that the 6th disc, which was seemingly designated as the "For the hardcore fans", featured around 12 minutes (or around 15% of the disc) of stuff that had *just* been released on the "Smile Sessions" boxed set.
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2017, 01:48:03 AM »

I was left a little disappointed when MIC came out. I had a wish list of a few songs

Where Is She - Yay it made it
Carry Me Home - Was upset that it was not included
My Solution - I was convinced this would be there. But no...
WIBNTLA - Was great to finally hear this
Thank Him - This is so beautiful and I was sad when it wasn't on there
Sherry She Needs Me - Auto-Tune. Why? But oh well atleast it came out
Michael Row The Boat Ashore - I hoped but.... nope
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2017, 06:49:04 AM »

I was left a little disappointed when MIC came out. I had a wish list of a few songs

Where Is She - Yay it made it
Carry Me Home - Was upset that it was not included
My Solution - I was convinced this would be there. But no...
WIBNTLA - Was great to finally hear this
Thank Him - This is so beautiful and I was sad when it wasn't on there
Sherry She Needs Me - Auto-Tune. Why? But oh well atleast it came out
Michael Row The Boat Ashore - I hoped but.... nope

"Thank Him" was released soon after, only a few months after MIC, on the 1963 "copyright extension" set:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H4R7XIO/ref=dm_ws_tlw_trk17

The 1970 "My Solution" sounds like a mess, although maybe a new mix and better fidelity would help. I always actually dug the 1980 version of "My Solution" more, though it's only a backing track.

While I never know how much compilers of archival release think about what's already "out there", I'd like to think maybe they went a bit light on MIC as far as commonly booted stuff that already is "out there" in relatively good quality, and did give us a lot of stuff that has never been booted, or only been booted in horrendous quality (including "Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love" is simultaneously kind of a head-scratcher, but also a revelation in terms of sound quality improvement).
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2017, 11:55:12 AM »

Weird.  I LOVED Made In California. I thought it was  kind of daring at times. More daring then BB box sets tend to be.

Can you further explain your perspective? Do you mean the mixes were daring? Or the way it was presented, etc?

The presentation was daring. It wasn't just a standard box+booklet+CDs product. Most I am thinking of all the rarities. Not just the unreleased ones that were  sitting in the vault but the Summer in Paradise live mixes and the early BBC shows. It ventures pretty far past what we usually get from the BBs in a box set.
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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2017, 04:00:00 PM »

MIC had to be daring, given the almost barrel-scraping exercise that it seemed destined to be. The only major revelation was (Wouldn't It Be Nice To) Live Again. Missing out Carry Me Home was a massive failure in judgement.
Whilst the live cuts were amazing, they need their own releases & don't justify being a selling point.
FWIW in my mind the GV box set is still the best, serving as BB primer and having a mass of unreleased stuff to keep the fans happy. I still find it strangely hard to regard the Smile box set as a box set - it felt more like getting an authority to finally release some official secrets.......
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« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2017, 05:38:42 PM »

Missing out Carry Me Home was a massive failure in judgement.

Yes. 100% with you on that.
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2017, 05:37:55 AM »

Pet Sounds Sessions has been the most essential item in my CD collection since 1997. To me it just takes you to a different place. It is its own world, perfect.
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