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Author Topic: Video - Sloop John B part II; isolations, corrections, additions  (Read 1177 times)
aeijtzsche
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« on: January 14, 2020, 10:11:47 AM »

Hello friends.

This is a new video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MteOTEwrA1I

It is a sequel and follow-on to my other Sloop John B video, featuring my ultra-accurate transcription of the 12-string guitars.  Well, it wasn't as ultra-accurate as I pride myself in being, so I had to redo a part.  And to make things more interesting for you, this time I have added the acoustic rhythm guitar that comes in after two times through the progression, and the Fender bass part.  So this is an isolation mix of my (now truly hyper-accurate) transcriptions of all 4 electric 12s, the acoustic guitar, and the Fender bass--all the guitars and indeed all the guitar-family instruments on the track.

There will be more of this kind of thing to come -- All guitars on a particular track transcribed, recorded, and presented in isolation.  Then after I've exhausted that I'll move on to some other instrument groups.

As always, feedback is welcome, desired, and appreciated.  I especially want you to request things that you would like to hear--I aim to please.
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JK
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 02:27:50 PM »

What to say? First off, JH, thank you so much for priding yourself in being ultra-accurate! If you weren't, we would never have had this wonderful expanded presentation of "SJB". It's another beauty, needless to say. (I've seen the word "heaven" used to describe your previous version.)

On the subject of presentation, I do think it helps when you yourself do some on-screen explaining. It adds warmth to what might otherwise come across as cold and clinical. So please, keep that aspect in! (Missy Hoisington is another welcome addition.)

As for requests, h'mm... After seeing and hearing you play the viola in the introductory video, I'm very keen to hear more string parts, say from the Pet Sounds album. Of course, a lot depends on if or when the other instruments are available. But that's a dream of mine. Another is tuned percussion, once again perhaps from Pet Sounds, a veritable goldmine of fascinating instrumentation. That said, I'm very happy just to sit out the all-guitar isolations for the time being!

Looking forward to the first true episode you mention. I'd say these "trial runs" are pretty darn good by any standards! They are certainly very much appreciated.
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"Ik bun moar een eenvoudige boerenlul en doar schoam ik mien niet veur" (Normaal, 1978)
You're Grass and I'm a Power Mower: A Beach Boys Orchestration Web Series
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rab2591
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 05:12:17 PM »

Yet another amazing video.

As for requests. There is something just so ethereal about these Sloop John B guitars. It is a showcase of how Brian could weave these heavenly undertones into a pop track to be played on top-40 radio. So my point being, I just humbly request that some future videos be dedicated to ethereal moments like these - such as a breakdown of the instrumental track of 'You Still Believe In Me' or the intro to 'California Girls'.

The thing is, I never would've expected those guitars from Sloop John B to sound so darn beautiful by themselves! But you extracted one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard associated with this band and it came out of nowhere for me. So if you know of more of these hidden beautiful moments in Beach Boys songs that you can show us, I think that would be awesome. Thanks for dedicating yourself to this great project!
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2020, 01:21:17 AM »

Like everything else in JH's pioneering project I posted this video at another forum, where it elicited the following pertinent question about "SJB":

"For this particular guitar arrangement, did Brian tell or demonstrate the parts to the session musicians, or did the musicians come up with the parts on their own?"

I would think he gave them a template, so to speak, a pattern to work with, and they took it from there but I may be wildly off the mark.

Whatever the case, I'm glad "Power Mower" is getting the attention it deserves, and not just here.
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"Ik bun moar een eenvoudige boerenlul en doar schoam ik mien niet veur" (Normaal, 1978)
You're Grass and I'm a Power Mower: A Beach Boys Orchestration Web Series
Handel French Ouvertures Project
rab2591
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2020, 03:17:38 AM »

In "The Making Of Pet Sounds" booklet from the boxset, there's a section that says "The arranging Brian did for multi-guitar parts on [Sloop John B] influenced Billy Strange to later write the same way on his hits for Jody Miller, Nancy Sinatra, etc."

And then Billy Strange's thoughts about Brian (however he doesn't specify an exact song, rather he's just talking about Brian in general): "Working with Brian was always an experience unlike working with anybody else. Over and above his composing, the man's brilliance shown through as an arranger. He would build things in his mind, and then try to convey them to you. He would play it to you on the piano, and we would spend so much time sitting and listening, waiting for what was going to come out of his mouth next. The man was genius when it came to putting harmonic lines together."

With the two quotes above in mind, and given how seamless and harmony driven this guitar arrangement is I would have to guess that much of this arrangement came from Brian. It just sounds like something more easily written/arranged initially on a piano by a composer rather than session musicians spending time trying to harmonize all these lines with one another.

However, I'll be happy to be proven wrong as its no secret that Brian used a lot of their ideas in his work.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 03:19:20 AM by rab2591 » Logged

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JK
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2020, 03:50:32 AM »

Thanks a lot, rab. I'll go along with your guess!
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"Ik bun moar een eenvoudige boerenlul en doar schoam ik mien niet veur" (Normaal, 1978)
You're Grass and I'm a Power Mower: A Beach Boys Orchestration Web Series
Handel French Ouvertures Project
JCarson
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 10:56:29 AM »

Absolutely gorgeous. You have a beautiful soulful way about you. Many thanks.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2020, 05:24:23 PM »

Thanks for the nice comments; it is really nice to get feedback.

You know, I actually find the whole arrangement thing a bit mystifying.  So many of the session players say the same thing: Brian "knew what he wanted."  And clearly, he was able to eventually communicate these things to the musicians, through singing it to them or writing out crude charts.  But isn't it so interesting that Brian's own playing on piano is always the same sort of poundy style?  I have never heard him play the piano (or bass for that matter) with anything approaching the subtlety we find in his arrangements.  It's also interesting that he has more or less forgotten everything having to do with these arrangements, viz. he couldn't tell you what instruments were used if his life depended on it, it would seem sometimes.

And yet somehow he managed to be, in collaboration with people capable of realizing what he wanted, the most creative arranger in pop music.
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c-man
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2020, 10:52:16 PM »

Thanks for the nice comments; it is really nice to get feedback.

You know, I actually find the whole arrangement thing a bit mystifying.  So many of the session players say the same thing: Brian "knew what he wanted."  And clearly, he was able to eventually communicate these things to the musicians, through singing it to them or writing out crude charts.  But isn't it so interesting that Brian's own playing on piano is always the same sort of poundy style?  I have never heard him play the piano (or bass for that matter) with anything approaching the subtlety we find in his arrangements.  It's also interesting that he has more or less forgotten everything having to do with these arrangements, viz. he couldn't tell you what instruments were used if his life depended on it, it would seem sometimes.

And yet somehow he managed to be, in collaboration with people capable of realizing what he wanted, the most creative arranger in pop music.

Well, AGD once witnessed Brian playing a note-perfect rendition of "Rhapsody In Blue", so I could see him sitting down and picking out the arpeggiated "SJB" riff for the guitar players, for instance. As for horns and woodwinds, well those guys say they always brought their full compliment of instruments with them to sessions, and Brian reportedly just had them start trying different ones 'til they hit on one that he liked for a part.
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rab2591
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2020, 05:22:45 AM »

Yeah, he seems to step into the more intricate with Rhapsody in Blue
https://youtu.be/l2l3K5nQEHc

I can visualize Brian slowly mapping out these guitar harmonies out on paper kinda like he’d map out the vocal harmonies for the guys. But I totally agree that it’s such a departure from his usual pound-the-keys style. I wish there were audio/tapes of Brian at the piano piecing these songs together. The ‘Don’t Talk’ piano demo is the closest vintage example I can think of.
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JK
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2020, 06:04:17 AM »

Thanks for the nice comments; it is really nice to get feedback.

Well thank you, JH. Smiley

Quote
You know, I actually find the whole arrangement thing a bit mystifying.  So many of the session players say the same thing: Brian "knew what he wanted."  And clearly, he was able to eventually communicate these things to the musicians, through singing it to them or writing out crude charts.  But isn't it so interesting that Brian's own playing on piano is always the same sort of poundy style?  I have never heard him play the piano (or bass for that matter) with anything approaching the subtlety we find in his arrangements.  It's also interesting that he has more or less forgotten everything having to do with these arrangements, viz. he couldn't tell you what instruments were used if his life depended on it, it would seem sometimes.

And yet somehow he managed to be, in collaboration with people capable of realizing what he wanted, the most creative arranger in pop music.

I've passed these comments on to the poster doing the asking at the other forum. And wonderful to see you using the word pop instead of rock! Grin
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 06:05:18 AM by JK » Logged

"Ik bun moar een eenvoudige boerenlul en doar schoam ik mien niet veur" (Normaal, 1978)
You're Grass and I'm a Power Mower: A Beach Boys Orchestration Web Series
Handel French Ouvertures Project
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2020, 12:05:08 PM »

When I watch that clip of Brian, it actually sort of confirms what I said--that is not a very sensitive, subtle reading of the Rhapsody; it's mostly banged out and rhythmically erratic.  Of course the most important thing that Brian got out of that are the nice jazzy harmonies, which of course, Brian has no problems nailing on the piano.

And regarding having players bring everything they had--I think that certainly did happen, and that's how you end up with Billy Strange being a major tambourine player on Summer Days, or Steve Douglas playing percussion, or, in extreme cases, something like Pet Sounds instrumental, where everybody plays percussion and they do a weird overdubby thing to build the track.

We also rarely get to hear instrument and part changes.  For example, Glan Campbell's change from banjo to archtop on IJWMFTT.  Or we can occasionally hear when an idea just doesn't work, like Brian eventually giving up on Howie Roberts doubling Carol on LHRW.

But with that all true, Brian did fall into his habits and favorites and phases--which is a fun part of watching him develop and watching his tastes change.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2020, 04:25:13 PM »

First, tear-inducingly beautiful playing of what for my money has always been the greatest of the "Stack-o-Tracks."

Second, I think the evolution of Brian's piano playing from the "poundy" paradigm doesn't happen until we're moving away from the Wrecking Crew days--and that is something that might be traceable at some point later on, when you've checked off a number of other items from the "(all we want you) to do" list (!). It seems to me that the detuning era is eventually accompanied by a change of piano style that would take some amount of work to describe and isolate. Even later in time, there's that upright piano that seems to cut through so many of the tracks on "Holland" (per Jack Rieley's interviews in several BBs documentaries)--I think someone answered the question as to who was playing piano on most/all of those tracks, but I'm not remembering it.

Third, the "habits" and "favorites" are definitely some of the things I think we'd love you to point out in future installments of what is already becoming a landmark series. Thanks so very, very much!
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