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652781 Posts in 26083 Topics by 3718 Members - Latest Member: CarlWilsonFan101 December 10, 2019, 07:24:33 AM
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Gertie J.
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« Reply #50 on: October 06, 2018, 03:37:28 PM »

^ thirded
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« Reply #51 on: October 06, 2018, 03:52:34 PM »

Fourthed.

I really enjoyed reading about how recording works in analog, as well as hearing the audio goodies.
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« Reply #52 on: October 06, 2018, 04:02:43 PM »

Fourthed.

I really enjoyed reading about how recording works in analog, as well as hearing the audio goodies.

Fifthed.  I am extraordinarily grateful for Stephen's efforts in presenting these videos to us.
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« Reply #53 on: October 06, 2018, 04:10:02 PM »

Sixthed. (ok these aren't words anymore).
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« Reply #54 on: October 06, 2018, 05:29:44 PM »

Sixthed. (ok these aren't words anymore).

Ah but they are: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sixthed

And seventhed.
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« Reply #55 on: October 06, 2018, 06:10:31 PM »

I find it rather amusing to see posters here & at PS joining discussion only to repeat the previous point ad nauseam that they hear Blondie, as if Mr. Desper didn't understand that fan point by now.

Yes.

Thanks to Mr Desper for all his hard work.
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« Reply #56 on: October 06, 2018, 06:44:31 PM »

At this juncture I'd simply like to once again let Stephen Desper know how much I and others appreciate his study videos and the fact that he is willing to spend time posting on both the SS and PS boards.



I second that.

I'll be more than happy to heartedly third that.  Rock!
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« Reply #57 on: October 06, 2018, 06:47:11 PM »

Long post warning here, right up front! It goes without saying that Stephen is, despite his protestations otherwise, a central figure in the most fascinating period of the Beach Boys' collective creativity--and was clearly a catalyst for it. But we should say it again, and be thankful for so much amazing detail that he's provided about the music produced by the group from 1968-73, most of which he was directly involved in committing to tape. The latest, just-released version of his book via Vimeo and the tremendous assistance of Mike Conner, is manna from Heaven for Beach Boys fans.

The SAIL ON SAILOR mystery probably can't be solved--and there's clearly more to it than the issue of the lead vocal. Craig's 2010 discussion of the song's genesis has some details that it would be interesting for Stephen to comment upon. Let's take this opportunity to bring that discussion over to this thread for that purpose...here's Craig:

Brian wrote the basic "gospel" piano vamp heard in the intro & verses sometime in 1970, and Tandyn Almer probably helped with the melody and/or possibly added the music for the "B" section, if indeed he was involved at this stage.  Then Van Dyke Parks came over one day, and came up with the "Sail on, Sail on sailor" hookline.  After attempting to get Brian to write a bridge, Van Dyke wrote one himself and taught the chords to Brian.  Brian apparently either didn't tell Van that Tandyn had helped him with the song previously, or he mentioned it so offhandedly that Van later forgot it, or Tandyn's involvement came later (or Brian simply added Tandyn's name to the credits as a "gift").  This was probably late December 1970, while the other Beach Boys were (coincidentally enough) on tour in Holland (which would explain Van Dyke's recollection, decades later, that the Boys were in the Netherlands when he and Brian wrote the song).  According to one observer who heard the cassette tape made of Brian and Van's songwriting session, the lyrics "Fill your sails with fortitude, and ride her stormy waves" graced the melody at this point.  

A short time later, Brian offered the song to Danny Hutton for Three Dog Night.  Danny called Ray Kennedy over to his house, and Ray worked with Brian there for three (probably cocaine-fueled) days, composing a complete set of lyrics (Ray recalls this as still being 1970).  Once again, either Brian didn't tell Ray that he had already worked on the song with both Tandyn and Van Dyke, or he mentioned it so offhandedly that Ray later forgot it, which explains why Brian and Ray are the only two songwriters credited on the KGB and Ray Kennedy solo versions.  It is possible that Tandyn's participation in the song's creation dates to this point in time, however since his involvement was musical rather than lyrical (according to the official songwriters' credits), the earlier date would seem more likely.  Brian and Ray then went into the studio with Three Dog Night and cut a basic track, but Brian changed his mind and freaked out, stating that he only wanted Van Dyke or Ray to sing this song, and he destroyed the master tape.  


What's being described here are songwriting sessions, at which it's virtually certain that Stephen was not present. This is all colorful material and is heavily tied into the "mad Brian" trope--which is something that Stephen doesn't dismiss as part of Brian's behavior pattern, but is something that he characterizes in Part Two as something that did happen upon occasion (the "Til I Die" lead vocal incident).

What's clear from Craig's account is that we do still have some way of verifying this story. Danny Hutton could tell us if Three Dog Night ever worked on a version of SOS.

Now Stephen's recollection is that a version of SOS was underway sometime in 1971. No reference to this can be found in Andrew's session log listing (don't have Badman's book handy, so someone else will have to determine if he lists a '71 session for SOS). I think Stephen might want to revisit his memory about any salient details about that '71 recording session. This is clearly the missing link in the narrative.

I also think it would be very useful if Stephen would be willing to make available the full recording of SOS that he had on that cassette, and not just the a cappella version that concludes Part Two. If we presume that the instrumental arrangement is from 1971, we can then at least surmise that the band created a version that was able to be offered to the FIVE SUMMER STORIES folks in the first half of 1972. Here are Craig's notes on that:

The plot thickens even further with the recently surfaced report that "Sail On Sailor" (along with "The Trader" and the third part of the "California Saga" suite) was given by Brian to the producers of the cult surfer film "Five Summer Stories", and was used in the soundtrack of that movie, which premiered no later than June 1972...a full five months before those Village Recorders sessions!  Subsequent prints used for the VHS and DVD home video releases replaced the Beach Boys' music with that of the band Honk (who toured with The Beach Boys and recorded at Brother Studios), but early VHS and DVD copies do contain the Boys' music; the versions of these songs used in the film's soundtrack (at least on these VHS and DVD versions) are said to be identical to the mixes released on Holland (although in some cases edited down in length).  The only logical explanation for that would be that the film, when it premiered in the first half of 1972, contained some recent Beach Boys' music (likely from the Surf's Up and So Tough albums), but not the three Holland tracks...these were presumably added to the soundtrack for a later theatrical re-release, possibly in late '72 (which would still be prior to the Holland album's official release in January '73).

Certainly versions of these songs could have been in the works for awhile. We should ask Stephen if he has any recollection of "The Trader" or "California" in terms of session work.  My guess is that these two songs probably made it into production somewhere after the SO TOUGH sessions but before the band packed up for Holland. These early versions might have been what was offered to the FIVE SUMMER STORIES producers--absent the ability to listen to that original soundtrack, of course, we'll never know for sure. This is where Ed Roach and several others might search their memories and try to recall what they heard: were these full songs or snippets...were they backing tracks only? A followup to the producers didn't seem to produce any further information in 2010; is it still possible to make another attempt to reach them for clarification? Specifically, we need to know what songs were actually on the original version of the documentary...several Amazon purchasers of the DVD specifically mention missing the BBs music, so we know that some music was definitely there.

Now the rest of the story brings us back into the mysteries surrounding the released version of the song and what changes were made after the '71 sessions that Stephen recalls. Here's Craig on that:

Two years later, when The Beach Boys needed a "single" for their Holland album, Van Dyke took the rough cassette from his songwriting session with Brian over to Warner Brothers, and convinced the label that the song had "hit" potential.  Van was apparently unaware that anyone else had written lyrics for the tune as of yet.  It was probably at this point that Jack Rieley wrote an essentially new set of lyrics, keeping only about 8 words from Ray Kennedy's original attempt.  

What remains mysterious, though, is when the final version of the song was actually recorded...Desper claims to have recorded a Beach Boys version at Brian's home studio in late 1971, however the recollections of Blondie Chaplin, Ricky Fataar, and Alan Jardine (which are supported by evidence on the actual multi-track tape masters and console strips) point to the final version being a product of the November '72 Village Recorders sessions.  Based on Desper's description below, a likely scenario is that the original piano track from the version he recorded was later used as the foundaton for the reworked Village Recorders master, and that the VSO notation on the 11/29/72 tape box (referring to Variable Speed Oscillation) explains the difference in tempo that Desper remembers existing between the two versions.

"To my ears, the first version was more polished with more production value. What came out was more funky-downhome. Only the basic bass parts are heard. The track is only the original piano and drums with a new guitar part. I remember the song being a tad slower. I think some of the background parts were lost or not included. I miss a vocal background that moved along with the song like a wave lapping against a boat. There was more there than oohs and aahs in the version I remember. There were Breakaway-type inversions in the harmonies - like the inversions in the Hey Stevie version before the guitar vamp (Great version! Love the vamp!). I had a delayed echo flap thing going on the snare Ö. A lead vocal fugue answer part is gone. The horn section is inaudible with the trombone moots going boo-oop. The backgrounds that did get recorded sound thin to me. There was more to the song before it left these shores. None of that is in the released version. The words on the one I recorded were by, I thought, Van Dyke Parks, not the Jack Rieley and Ray Kennedy re-write. Carl sang a hefty, full-bodied lead. Except for the words, it was more like the version cut by Hey Stevie." (Desper)

The question remains, though, as to why the group would bother recording new vocals (especially the lead) when a full lead vocal (sung by Carl) already existed on the Desper version.  The likely explanation for that, based on Desper's recollection of "his" version featuring different lyrics, is that Rieley rewrote the words sometime after the recording of the first (Desper) version, and the group (or Rieley) wanted the new words on the released version, and so the vocals were redone.  Interestingly, Desper recently played a rough mix of the song he has in his possession over the phone to a fan, and this mix reportedly sounds very similar to the released version, except that it has different "wave-like" background vocals in the verses...but Blondie Chaplin's lead is said to be firmly in place!


Now, shouldn't the version Stephen describes being on his cassette show all of those different arrangement characteristics, differences in "feel," etc.? The only way for us to evaluate that is to hear the full song on Stephen's cassette, and not merely the vocals.

What we know from listening to the version on Part Two is as follows: 1) The lyrics include Jack Reiley's changes. 2) Carl is singing the counter-melody or "response" portions. 3) The other backing vocals sound like the ones on the released version, albeit much more prominently displayed in the a cappella mix. 4) The vocal inflections of the lead singer on this tape seem (to this ear, and many others) to be identical to the released version.

Clearly Stephen's '71 version should have a different instrumental arrangement in some sonically demonstrable way from what has become familiar to all of us on the released version. So the first order of business, if Stephen is amenable, is for us to audit the full (vocal and instrumental) version of the song on that cassette.

The rest may never be resolvable, but I submit that this is the first place we can start.

--A semi-unrelated question that hopefully can be answered in this context: the instrumental version of SOS on the HAWTHORNE compilation--which I must admit is one of my favorite "Stack-O-Tracks"-type artifact--is IIRC not considered to be the final backing track. (At least that's the hearsay I remember about it.) Can anyone clarify that for us? It might be interested if Stephen would also make an isolated instrumental version of what he has on his cassette, so we can compare it to what was released on HAWTHORNE.
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« Reply #58 on: October 06, 2018, 07:26:27 PM »

Eighthed! (Just saying...but I'm really looking forward to check out Mr. Desper's video in details, as well as other videos I haven't checked out properly.)

Anyway, I was informed by a fellow BB fan in Japan on Twitter that Rob Fraboni, who engineered Sail, On Sailor, once said that the FINAL version of the song was mixed as early as Spring 1972. Does anyone have the source for this?

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« Reply #59 on: October 06, 2018, 07:49:37 PM »

I'm going to be in the very wee minority and say I hear something different on SOS, leading to the possibility of Carl singing in a very different style, and it may just be my imagination, but the vocal seems like it's going a bit fast near the end. The backing vocals seem much fuller too.
One question, if this is from a cassette, why does it sound like CD quality?
BTW, I love the matrix effect of the matrixed Surf's up songs.
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« Reply #60 on: October 06, 2018, 07:50:46 PM »

Just to add, speaking of Holland, the history of Funky Pretty seems to be murky as well.
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« Reply #61 on: October 06, 2018, 08:19:14 PM »

I think it may possibly be as simple as Mr Desper confusing one cassette tape for another and thinking he's describing one tape, while another one was used for the study video.
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« Reply #62 on: October 06, 2018, 10:00:35 PM »

^ That can definitely happen. Wish I could chime in otherwise but I canít play this on my iPhone and I wonít have WiFi access for at least another month!
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« Reply #63 on: October 07, 2018, 03:00:47 AM »

^ That can definitely happen. Wish I could chime in otherwise but I canít play this on my iPhone and I wonít have WiFi access for at least another month!

To quote Carly Simon (a personal fave of mine):  Anticipation...
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« Reply #64 on: October 07, 2018, 03:18:37 AM »

I think it may possibly be as simple as Mr Desper confusing one cassette tape for another and thinking he's describing one tape, while another one was used for the study video.

This is what it sounds like to me. I have 0 doubts that at some point Desper recorded Carl singing an early version of Sail On Sailor, but over 4+ decades of muddled Beach Boy history something might've happened so that casette ended up with an a capella mix of the version with Blondie singing on Holland. Stranger things have happened.

Also just wanna add to the appreciation for Desper taking the time to post and respond here, ignoring SoS discussion for a sec this study video was incredible! 'Til I Die vocals-only, wow. And it's great to have some more clarity on how the SU coda came together with what Bruce and Brian contributed. My favourite part was the in-depth details of the group's lunch break habits tho
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 03:20:49 AM by wjcrerar » Logged
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« Reply #65 on: October 07, 2018, 03:41:35 AM »

COMMENT to fan jackjachman:  Believe me, after working on this book since 1998 and now finally getting the second part out, I am not happy about the response. Iím sorry I even included SOS and will figure out a solution.

I know this song, from it's beginning as a recording production to its end in 1971. That version was mostly recorded at the House Studio, including vocals. It is from that multi-track that I pulled the a cappella mix for the cassette.

What happened to the mulit-track -- what was added or deleted -- I do not know. I was not involved at that time or after late í71.

As I said, when I heard SOS as released, I thought (and wrote about) how much Blondie's performance had nailed a copy of Carlís lead. How it was in step with the lead it replaced. And that was it. I too enjoy listening to the song, who ever (whom ever?) is singing. Iím not rooting for one singer or the other.

So it was in all innocence that I thought my copy of Carl singing SOS would be appreciated. Rather it is questioned, along with my professional abilities. But that's OK because I know what I'm talking about because I was there, everyone else is an isolated visitor, removed from the issue by distance and time.

I canít account for anything done to the multi-track during the post-Blondie releases (early í72 and on) because I was not there.

I can enlighten you about the pre-Blondie times (up to late í71). Those times had Carl singing the lead on the Multi-track with several tracks of vocals. Sail On, Sailor was one among other songs in various stages of production being worked on at the same time. It was on my list of vocals to mix a cappella. So I put all these songs mixed in a cappella on one side of a cassette tape, that is, multi-track to cassette. The cassette is the master. Itís a quality Type II High Bias Advanced Cobalt Ferric cassette. The list of songs was posted earlier. All the songs are a coppella. There are no instrumental tracks on the cassette.  BRI has reviewed the cassette in question and used some of the tracks on a Box Set. Evidently, other tracks have found their way into the bootleg market and are now out their as you cited.

Meanwhile after the summer of 1971 the SOS multi-track was stored because the House Studio was abandon. Evidently, the next time the multi-track comes off the shelf is years later. Itís revisited by, a then a changed Beach Boy group. Some things are added to the multi-track and some things are removed. But most tracks are used to make a mix for release or so I hear when I listen. Thatís all I know.



I would ask fans to stop making up excuses for me. None of you is going to change my mind, I know what Iím doing, and what Iíve done. I know what is on the cassette and who is singing, from the time-line.

But what Iím hearing on the album release of SOS is now a mystery to me Ė an unsolved sonic situation. However, I did not release Part Two of my book to create a conspiracy theory.  That takes all the joy out of the entire project. And right now, Iím not happy.

Responding to all the controversy over this section of the book is taking up too much of my time. I do other things in my life and need a break from posting.

Thanks to all of you who enjoyed part two of my book. 
~swd    
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 03:50:26 AM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
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« Reply #66 on: October 07, 2018, 04:11:27 AM »

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« Reply #67 on: October 07, 2018, 05:29:26 AM »

Hearing Carl sing SOS in 1996, you might think itís Blondie. Definitely Carl.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jYZshgP99KI

And here, somebody isolated Blondieís lead on SOS from Holland.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g2BG0cw3sVU

My conclusion is that it is Carl on Stephenís tape.
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« Reply #68 on: October 07, 2018, 05:55:00 AM »

Not again.... Cry
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« Reply #69 on: October 07, 2018, 06:18:59 AM »

Hearing Carl sing SOS in 1996, you might think itís Blondie. Definitely Carl.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jYZshgP99KI

And here, somebody isolated Blondieís lead on SOS from Holland.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g2BG0cw3sVU

My conclusion is that it is Carl on Stephenís tape.

I hate myself for getting sucked into this again as I swore I was done but... argh, here I go again. Listen to what Mr. Desper posted and the isolated Blondie vocal from Holland back to back, or side by side. They're the same thing! You can't say one is Carl and one is Blondie, because they're identical. They aren't different versions, different takes, or anything. They're the exact same recording. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone or Wonderland at this point that people are actually debating this.

Look, I synced up what Mr. Desper posted and the Holland Sail on Sailor - one is on the right, one is on the left. I did this quick and dirty, so some slight variations in speed and pitch are there (due to one source being from a cassette tape) but you can hear they're the same vocal - Blondie's. This is not debatable people, the evidence is right there.

https://instaud.io/2LPj

If you want to debate the recording history of Sail On Sailor, that's fine; it's murky, and muddled due to fading memories and lack of documentation. But you can't debate who is singing on the final recording - it's Blondie. There is no question about this. If you can't accept that fact, then you are not living in reality, I'm sorry. And listening to an isolated version of that same vocal and deciding it's someone different is farcical.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 06:21:37 AM by KirkK » Logged
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« Reply #70 on: October 07, 2018, 06:36:33 AM »

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« Reply #71 on: October 07, 2018, 06:45:42 AM »

I'm not sure what's the purpose behind trying to convince Mr. Desper & the other posters who think it's Carl that it's Blondie. Many backed you up, KirkK. You et al think it's Blondie, what else there really? The few who think it's Carl will stand by it as well. If you, as you say, can see reality, why try to make the others see it? I never understood the need in fans helping fellow fans. Bizarre. To me, it matters little who sings that "Sail On Sailor".

Sigh... If someone is writing something to be a scholarly work, the facts need to be correct. The facts MATTER.

I donít ďthinkĒ it is Blondie singing on that recording, just like I donít ďthinkĒ the year is 2018. I donít ďthinkĒ the Earth revolves around the sun. These are all verifiable facts that I know to be true, not a matter of opinion. Getting facts like this wrong throws into question all the other information Mr. Desper provides, and that is an absolute shame. I wish I didnít care at this point, but this is just driving me nuts and Iím fighting a losing battle to stay out of it! Wink
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 07:45:35 AM by KirkK » Logged
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« Reply #72 on: October 07, 2018, 07:36:08 AM »

Well damn  it, we chased another one off. Stephen Gaines all over again. Let's hope that Mr. Desper hasn't left us for good. We love you and all you've done for us, the beach boys, and all the countless fans who love the songs you worked on. I'm at a loss to explain or understand all this. And I'm not denying my part in it. I debated and questioned it myself. May I politely and respectfully suggest that maybe you take a day(your schedule permitting, obviously) to go through your archive, just to double check everything, making sure that all of your tapes are in order and properly labelled? I don't doubt that you have a tape of Carl singing SOS. I just think that possibly the wrong one was used.
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« Reply #73 on: October 07, 2018, 07:56:24 AM »

We should start a gofundme for Stephen to release hard copies of his book!
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« Reply #74 on: October 07, 2018, 08:08:22 AM »

I know it's upsetting anytime an argument happens with a respected figure close to a band we all love, but this was not a personal matter at all, it is one of indisputable fact. Kirk and I and others on this thread have all stated our immense appreciation for Stephen making these study videos, that is all genuine.

All I can say is that the past two pages of this thread have featured Stephen Desper referring to the "mystery" of who sang the finished studio version of "Sail On Sailor", NOT the cassette he posted, but rather the official version we all know so well. If anyone sees that as a point worth defending, a point that basically disrespects the legacy of Blondie singing his signature vocal, all in the name of obviously mislabeled evidence, then have at it.

And a final reminder that is a discussion of an academic piece of work, which is why fact checking obvious truths matter. If PetSoundsPete came along and posted his first thread where he claimed that it might be Dennis singing the studio release of "Help Me, Rhonda", I probably wouldn't care, it's just some guy. But someone like Stephen, who people would rightfully be more inclined to believe than any other random person on an internet forum, making an argument that the official studio credit for the lead vocal on "Sailor On Sailor" is now a complete mystery could lead many other fans to read that and think it's true. If that's the kind of world of half-baked conspiracies you want to live in, be my guests. Just don't be surprised when you are greeted with a completely logical factcheck.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 08:11:24 AM by jackjachman » Logged
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