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Author Topic: Country Air  (Read 4430 times)
buddhahat
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« on: August 10, 2006, 08:08:42 AM »

This is one of my favourite BB tracks. I love it's simplicity and for all the talk of the genius of Brian during the Smile period some of my favourite BW productions are in the immediate years that follow. Wild Honey and Friends are (PS aside) the most statisfying of BB albums for me.

Anyway my question is: I have often noticed a weird buzzing noise that runs through Country Air. It almost sounds like static on a radio or something - it's a weird sound. Is it part of the production or a misatke in the recording? It fits I guess because I'm used to it but the more I think about it, the more I think it's a weird sound to choose to put on a song about nature.

Thanks

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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2006, 08:28:32 AM »

buzzing bugs or a jews harp?
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c-man
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2006, 10:29:45 AM »

The liner notes on the CD imply that it's an organ that apparently wasn't recorded with enough "gain", therefore it disorts.  Personally, I think it sounds exactly like a single trumpet
note that doubles the organ, since it has that natural, warbly "spitty" sound.

Funny how I was just listening to that the other day, thinking about that buzzing sound, and
so apparently was someone else!

Craig
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buddhahat
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2006, 11:54:59 AM »

The liner notes on the CD imply that it's an organ that apparently wasn't recorded with enough "gain", therefore it disorts.  Personally, I think it sounds exactly like a single trumpet
note that doubles the organ, since it has that natural, warbly "spitty" sound.

Funny how I was just listening to that the other day, thinking about that buzzing sound, and
so apparently was someone else!

Craig

Cheers for the explanation. Yeah I've always been aware of it but only today I found myself thinking: what is that and why is it there? The organ explanation makes sense to me - it does seem like some form of distortion.

On another note I don't understand why Wild Honey doesn't get more attention. I know people on this board love it but in the wider world I get the impression that the more alternative albums by the bb that people tend to rave about are either Sunflower or at a push Friends. Friends I love, but imo Wild Honey is much more interesting than Sunflower. It really feels like a Brian Wilson record to me (bar I was made to Love her obviously) in all the best ways - it's humorous, has unpredicatble melodies, it's poppy but more than anything it grooves!
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Howie Edelson
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2006, 02:08:01 PM »

WILD HONEY is by far my favorite BB LP. And although you would never know it from his setlists; Brian Wilson told me  he digs it too.
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2006, 04:30:39 PM »

Also gotta remember that the equipment originally installed in Brian's music room was very rudimentary. There was buzzing from the organ and also hum from some of the mic inputs.  Listening to the outakes you can hear the buzz when the guys are just talking before the track begins.
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Aegir
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2006, 08:17:08 PM »

Was this the same equipment/room used to record Friends?
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2006, 08:43:16 PM »

I find ‘Wild Honey’ a maddening album.  It is a great collection of songs that are under produced.

Live versions of “Aren’t You Glad”, “Let the Wind Blow” and even “Darlin’” really grab you.  I thin the album would have been a huge hit if it had a Stax feel to it.
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buddhahat
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2006, 12:08:35 AM »

I find ‘Wild Honey’ a maddening album.  It is a great collection of songs that are under produced.

Live versions of “Aren’t You Glad”, “Let the Wind Blow” and even “Darlin’” really grab you.  I thin the album would have been a huge hit if it had a Stax feel to it.


I think the roughness of the production is one of the things that endears it to me - it has a live jam feel a bit like BB Party. It has a relaxed spontaneous feel that is the antithesis of the complexity of Smile. Smiley Smile is great but it feels less cohesive with the inclusion of GV and Heroes imo. Also the sadness of Smile overshadows it for me. WH feels like a break from that heaviness and therefore I find it much easier to listen to.

I think the run of albums from Smiley to Friends are my favourite post-Pet Sounds BB stuff. I get the impression that Brian Wilson was still creatively guiding these even if the other BB had more input. I think when you hit 20/20 you really begin to notice Brian's absence (apart from TTGA and I went to sleep).
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2006, 01:42:17 AM »

Wild Honey is perfect, I like it almost as much as Sunflower or Pet Sounds really.
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Howie Edelson
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2006, 04:21:54 AM »

I agree. I prefer it to both PET SOUNDS and SUNFLOWER. I think what's put a lot of people off is the horrible pinched mono mix. Alan Boyd proved with the stereo "Let The Wind Blow" mix, what that material is really capable of sounding like. Whether Brian over-credited Mike for ALL of those songs (to make up for past sins perhaps?) is debatable, but whatever magic that that team DID have is very much evident on that album.

WILD HONEY is major on every level -- the guitar break in "A Thing Or Two" alone is one of Rock's coolest moments. I'd love to see a 40th anniversary remix with the Heider "Hawaii" tracks thrown in as a bonus. As a matter of fact, I think that SS, WH and FRIENDS deserve a very similar reissue stadegy as the latter-day Fleetwod Mac catalogue has been given -- remixed disc, shadow disc with alternates/outtakes.

It's something that Brother should pursue. The overhead in doing something like that is ridiculously low. It would all be profit. The bottom line is; that in view of the fact that we're about to get the 15th reissue of PET SOUNDS and a true stereo version of WILD HONEY isn't availible, is pathetic.
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2006, 04:55:45 AM »

Was this the same equipment/room used to record Friends?

On "Wild Honey", about half of it was recorded in Brian's studio and half at Wally Heider's.
For "Friends", about half was recorded at Brian's and half at I.D. Sound.
There was probably a bit of an equipment upgrade at Brian's between the two. 
By the time of "Sunflower", there had DEFINITELY been a serious upgrade!
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2006, 02:33:38 PM »

Country Air is great, but How She Boogalooed It is a MoNsTEr!!!
The Farfisa wheezing gets me everytime!
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2006, 02:41:29 PM »

RE: The studio, Through 20/20, and in fact for a lot of the equipment even through Desper's tenure, they were renting tape machines and such from Heider's.  So even when they weren't at Heider's they were still using Heider equipment.

I actually don't think there was much of an upgrade to the studio until Desper completely took over, after Friends.

Also, I don't think it's accurate to say that the equipment was rudimentary.  Was it makeshift?  Yes, very much so, but the actual equipment used was pretty high quality.  As i said, they were renting a nice 8-track, nice mics, and had experienced engineers wiring the little gates radio console they used as their mixing desk.  As Mark's remixes of Wild Honey stuff show, the multi tracks sound gorgeous.  I think the crackling on Country Air is a problem with the organ or an amplifier and not the recording equipment.
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2006, 05:17:59 PM »

I think the crackling on Country Air is a problem with the organ or an amplifier and not the recording equipment.

I think it sounds cool...like I said, it reminds me of a single trumpet note being held. 
This reminds me of the end of the Beatles' "Long Long Long", where Paul hits an
organ note that causes the Blue Nun wine bottle sitting on top of the organ to start
rattling...
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2006, 03:43:15 AM »

I think the crackling on Country Air is a problem with the organ or an amplifier and not the recording equipment.

I think it sounds cool...like I said, it reminds me of a single trumpet note being held. 
This reminds me of the end of the Beatles' "Long Long Long", where Paul hits an
organ note that causes the Blue Nun wine bottle sitting on top of the organ to start
rattling...

I think it's a Mellotron or Chamberlain tape-loop error. If you listen to the Sagitarius track 'Musty Dusty' you hear that same sound. Perhaps Gary Usher hired the same equipment ? By the way, on 'Musty Dusty', is that Bruce singing ?
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c-man
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2006, 08:14:55 AM »

I think the crackling on Country Air is a problem with the organ or an amplifier and not the recording equipment.

I think it sounds cool...like I said, it reminds me of a single trumpet note being held. 
This reminds me of the end of the Beatles' "Long Long Long", where Paul hits an
organ note that causes the Blue Nun wine bottle sitting on top of the organ to start
rattling...

I think it's a Mellotron or Chamberlain tape-loop error. If you listen to the Sagitarius track 'Musty Dusty' you hear that same sound. Perhaps Gary Usher hired the same equipment ? By the way, on 'Musty Dusty', is that Bruce singing ?

Do you mean "Country Air" or "Long Long Long" when you say it sounds like a tape-loop error?
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c-man
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2006, 08:22:48 PM »

I betcha that "trumpet" sound I'm hearing on "Country Air" IS a Mellotron loop...I've got a similar-sounding trumpet patch on my Roland FP digital piano.  If I hold a note to sustain it, it sounds almost identical (but thankfully doesn't distort). 
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« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2006, 10:25:17 PM »

I love that freaking sound. I've been trying to duplicate it with my synth, but to no avail...
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2006, 01:49:35 PM »

I always thought is was the buzz of bees flying around, especially on an album called Wild Honey. Major hit in my Beach Boy line-up.
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2006, 09:05:30 PM »

I betcha that "trumpet" sound I'm hearing on "Country Air" IS a Mellotron loop...I've got a similar-sounding trumpet patch on my Roland FP digital piano.  If I hold a note to sustain it, it sounds almost identical (but thankfully doesn't distort). 

Is there any documentation that the band ever used a pukka Mellotron ? Tannerin, yes, Chamberlin, yes... but I don't ever recall them using a true Mellotron.
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