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Author Topic: Carl or Brian on God Only Knows?  (Read 3194 times)
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2018, 08:35:01 PM »

Rocker's point about BBs sounding alike is well said. This GOK debate is puzzling but since 1st hearing, to my ears it's Brian. It doesn't seem like Brian copying Carl's vocal style. Not a bit. Maybe Carl then copied Brian's style if it's he? I just don't hear anything Carl in this song. Either way, it's really good version. & we get back to Rocker's correct point.
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« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2018, 07:40:31 AM »

For as long as most of the people in this thread have been listening to the Beach Boys - how can you not think that Carl isn't at least one of the double tracked voices? He's totally the prominent voice. Listen for the distinctive chubby cheeks phrasing.
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« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2018, 09:37:08 AM »

Edit: This is maddening.
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« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2018, 02:33:15 PM »

100% Brian.
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« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2018, 05:07:07 PM »

Itís Al Jardine.




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« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2018, 11:01:50 PM »

It's 100% Carl, it was Carl when this topic was first discussed 10 years ago on here, it was Carl when it was discussed a few years back, it's Carl today and it will be Carl tomorrow.

IT"S CARL WILSON
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« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2018, 12:08:17 AM »

I feel like I'm witnessing a Yanny or Laurel thread.


It sounds like Carl to me.  Or possibly one track of Carl that's dominant, with a lower-volume overdubbing of Brian's voice. 
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« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2018, 05:26:43 AM »

I think this is a good example of cognitive biases at play.  The initial mistake was made, for whatever reason, and now it can't be erased.
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« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2018, 07:38:14 AM »

As someone who knows these voices plenty well, yet also hasn't obsessed over *this particular* track, I can come at it with a relatively strong objectivity.

Much like the "Holland tape" and discussion of Brian vs. Al, I think the reason this "God Only Knows" situation is one where it's *absolutely understandable* why there's debate and confusion.

Anybody who says it's 100% Brian or 100% Carl and that it's clear as day and as clear as any of their other lead vocals, I'm not inclined to strongly weigh an opinion with such absolutism on this particular issue. No offense, believe whatever you want, but this alternate take of "God Only Knows" wasn't labeled by someone (Linett, Leaf, someone else) who worked on the PS Sessions set as a "Brian lead" out of pure ignorance. It sounds less "sweet" as Carl's finished released lead does, and a bit more brusque/forceful as some of Brian's leads of that period do.

Listening to the song now (and, as I said, this isn't an alternate I've played to death over the years), my first thought was/is that it literally sounds like both of them. The fact that it's double tracked, and there are moments where it sounds a bit more "Carl" and others a bit more "Brian" *screamed* to me that it sounds like Brian double tracked Carl's lead (or vice versa I guess).

These guys (both the related ones and the non-related ones!) could uncannily imitate each other at times (some fans *still* insist it's Brian rather than Al on "Be Here in the Morning"). They also could weave one voice into another (think what Brian did with Dennis's lead on "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times").

To me, this GOK alternate sounds like Brian doubling Carl, with Carl's part a bit less sweet, thus magnifying a bit the effect of it sounding like Brian when Carl is also on the recording.

Assuming this rough take of a double-tracked lead vocal only exists on that mixdown and not on an multi-track means we'll probably never be able to pull it apart to say for sure. It sure would be interesting to hear each layer of that double-tracked vocal and see if that ended the debate or only spurred more debate.
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« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2018, 07:48:19 AM »

Well-written post - reading it bit by bit, it explains this debate really well in easy language.
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« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2018, 08:06:26 AM »

My best guess is that it's Carl's first attempt to sing the song following Brian's work lead. Somehow it survived as a "take" and we are hearing it out of context. It does leave us with the question of why we don't have a version just with Brian's first pass, but lots of stuff has been known to disappear in the BB's archives...

There's a variation of that process found on the original tape for "Can't Wait Too Long," where Brian is guiding Carl through the lead vocal.
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« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2018, 09:23:15 AM »

This is Carl's voice.
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« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2018, 09:37:32 AM »

Well, so much for not speaking in absolutes....  LOL
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« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2018, 09:49:20 AM »

Again, I find it so darn peculiar that the work of two generations of Beach Boys archivists and researchers is so easily discarded by fans. Every single person who has dealt with these tapes in a professional capacity have confirmed what the track listings say. Itís a Brian lead. Yes, itís certainly possible thereís a track of Carl in there. But the dominant voice is BW.

This reminds me of theeea when folks believed the Wrecking Crew tracked every BB song after the first album. It took year for folks to accept that yes, those guitar solos that sounded like Carl actually were. That Dennis actually drummed, etc. This is. So hereís an alternate of GOK with BW singing it. It is what it is.
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« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2018, 10:45:45 AM »

It sounds a lot like Carl, but I think this is Brian.
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« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2018, 12:04:10 PM »

Again, I find it so darn peculiar that the work of two generations of Beach Boys archivists and researchers is so easily discarded by fans. Every single person who has dealt with these tapes in a professional capacity have confirmed what the track listings say. I

The problem with that is that said archivists have no more recourse to documentary proof than anybody.  There is no multi of that take to strip down, and there is no definitive written record.  We're all on the same footing.

Also, I have dealt with these tapes in a professional capacity.  Regardless of whether I have or not, it's still objectively Carl.
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« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2018, 12:15:22 PM »

While there are cases where documentary proof could be weighed and tip the scale (e.g. if there were a tape box notation that specifically stated "Brian and Carl doubled" or whatever), apparently that isn't the case for this take.

The most fascinating thing with this particular case to me is the unwillingness of much of anyone to say "I'm really not sure." Maybe there are a bunch thinking that and just not posting.

There are other cases where a fan or group of fans has an idea that such-and-such person is singing where, when I listen to it, I'm immediately like "No way, you'd have to be nuts to think that!"

But this "God Only Knows" take is not one of those cases. The closest comparison I can think of is the "Daddy Dear/Susie Cincinnati" tape. But even there, it's harder to tell because it's of low fidelity, and is a single voice (at a time anyway).

This GOK recording has an *obvious* *potential* explanation for why people are hearing Brian, or Carl, or both, or "Carl sounding like Brian" or "Brian sounding like Carl." It's a double-tracked vocal, and Brian (and others) are documented as having taken stabs (or guide attempts) at lead vocals eventually sung by others. Brian also has a track record on PS for smushing different voices together.

I do know this: When you take one single track of a double-tracked vocal, it sounds WAY different, more than you'd think. Listen to that "Rhythm of Life" documentary bit with Brian and George Martin futzing with the "God Only Knows" multi-track. On that, they *do* have both isolated tracks of Carl's released double-tracked vocal. When they single one out, it sounds way different. It doesn't just sound like Carl, but not as loud. I'd say it's even more "different" sounding than Brian's single-tracked YSBIM vocal.

In any event, my guess is that if there were a way to pull apart the two parts of the double tracked lead on this alternate version of GOK, one would start sounding more definitively like Brian, and one more definitively like Carl.
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« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2018, 01:16:10 PM »

The thing that makes me feel sure has something to do with the pronunciation, which is inextricably linked to Brian's youthful personality. it just seems positive that it's Brian in my sense memory while listening. As far as the double-tracking goes, it seems like common sense that they would double-track the same person's voice while giving it a full test run to decide who would eventually do the lead on the finished track.
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« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2018, 02:03:57 PM »

I could totally picture Brian deciding to test out double-tracking on top of Carl. We know from anecdotes from the GOK sessions that he didn't mind just finishing a session without the other guys (e.g. doing the ending round with Bruce, etc.).

I honestly don't know if this came from some sort of unlabeled tape or what; it may well have been an off-the-cuff mixdown of something never intended even in concept to be released. As in, Brian adds a vocal on top of Carl's, with an eye towards wiping one or both and doing new takes, but in the meantime someone did a quick mix down.
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« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2018, 03:02:34 PM »

The problem with that is that said archivists have no more recourse to documentary proof than anybody.  There is no multi of that take to strip down, and there is no definitive written record.  We're all on the same footing.
This.

To be blunt, 99% of the time it's not very hard to tell the BBs voices apart. When there's a conflict between what archivists, researchers or other authorities say and what my ears say, I tend to believe my ears unless there is overwhelming evidence presented to the contrary. And there hasn't been in this case.
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« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2018, 03:42:02 PM »

Regardless of whether I have or not, it's still objectively Carl.

You may think itís Carl. You may believe so strongly. But there is simply no way to say that itís objectively Carl. The only person you might say it was objectively ó given the official credits and words from authorities ON THIS VERY THREAD ó is Brian. That simply has to do with what the word objective means.
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« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2018, 03:43:26 PM »

The fact that it's difficult to tell one brother from the other, I think speaks volumes.
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« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2018, 03:54:53 PM »

It's Carl. The Good Vibrations guide vocal with Tony Asher's lyrics is also Carl. The Daddy Dear/Susie Cincinnati demo is Brian and no other Beach Boy is singing on the recording. Carl sings the opening line of This Whole World alongside Mike who's buried in the right channel.

We're done here
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« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2018, 04:51:56 PM »

Regardless of whether I have or not, it's still objectively Carl.

You may think itís Carl. You may believe so strongly. But there is simply no way to say that itís objectively Carl. The only person you might say it was objectively ó given the official credits and words from authorities ON THIS VERY THREAD ó is Brian. That simply has to do with what the word objective means.

Except it is Carl's voice.  There is objective truth in this world.  The argumentum ad verecundiam is not convincing.
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« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2018, 07:11:34 PM »

It's still Carl one day later and it will be tomorrow. It's Carl.
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