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Author Topic: Brian Solo piano album  (Read 2311 times)
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« on: June 08, 2020, 06:31:48 PM »

Okay, watching Brian on Colbert, and singing Happy Birthday to Nancy Sinatra, and noticing the comments in the threads, I just wanted to start this thread in case we could get any kind of traction with this thing.

I want a new Brian album, stripped down, live in the studio, no overdubs, no autotune, no bass harmonicas, minimal instrumentation. Maybe brush drums or a stand up bass player. Maybe an acoustic guitar. Not an electro-acoustic guitar, but just an actual mic'd up acoustic guitar. A couple of backing vocalists.

There is so much more heart and soul and personality from the real life Brian in these videos than the photoshopped, autotuned, glossy Brian we keep getting from his solo albums.

I want a Brian who hesitates at the piano, who misses the beat by a fraction, who almost forgets the words, who can magically out of FREAKING NOWHERE sound like his 20 year old self at almost 80 years old.

Get Van Dyke to back him on a couple of tunes on accordion. Maybe make it a sequel to Orange Crate Art if you want, but a full collaboration in the songwriting department.

Who's with me?
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 08:32:12 PM »

It doesnít do anything for me TBH. These clips are nice little treats but mainly for the novelty of seeing a guy almost 80 doing relatively well all things considered.

I notice he has a Pet Sounds award or disc just sitting on the floor behind him. If he wants to do a little YouTube solo..really solo, full ĎPet Soundsí like he did the other day with GOK, just for his fans, I wouldnít complain though. Just if the mood takes him.
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 10:30:50 PM »

Iíd like him to retire, relax and enjoy the rest of his life.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 10:47:17 PM »

If it's something he'd like to do--- a home recorded album like Smiley, Friends, Wild Honey ---   that would be amazing.

I wouldn't be opposed to electric instruments. I'd be cool with as many or as little instruments as he'd want. Could be bare voice/piano. Or a whole little group thing, like the albums mentioned above, or even those home studio recorded holiday stuff he's done over the years. That vibe.

While I'm a fan of overproduction in general, the idea of BW playing whatever he wants at home, with musicians like Al and others contributing any needed instruments or voices- either at Bri's place, or in their own home studio for safety reasons (like Mike's single)

Honestly, Totten could probably handle the project beautifully. His productions showcase Mike's natural voice, for the most part, and I feel he'd do the same for Brian. They'd make a wonderful team. Too bad politics, or any of that stuff would/could get in the way....

It'd be cool to have Bri play his favorites... BB stuff like Salt Lake City, Shortenin Bread, Night Was So Young... other artists' stuff like Be My Baby & other Spector, Let It Be & other Beatles, Four Freshman,Row Your Boat, Gershwin,  Rock N Roll Oldies, whatever....

If it's something he didn't want/or have the energy to do, I wouldn't press him, but if he was inclined to do it, I think a project like that would be wonderful
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2020, 11:17:58 PM »

I personally would love an entire album of  nothing but Brian and the piano. As I said in the other thread, Iíve been wanting this for years, and seeing this clips feels like some sort of vindication. The main thing for me is that Brian doesnít just sound good, it sounds like heís having fun. You can go all the way back to the Rolling Stone thing.

For those who have doubted him....THIS is the real Brian Wilson.
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2020, 12:27:51 AM »

HOLD MY NOSE

Brian Wilson Sings Mike Loveís Solo Songs And Leads. With special guest Al Jardine!

Teaser : https://youtu.be/5QGlQCnGpuU
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 01:55:15 AM »

I don't think the "Brian and just a piano" approach would work for a studio production. But "Brian and very sparse home recording instrumentation"? Yes, please, that sounds great. He's an incredible arranger, even on albums like Wild Honey, which sounds like there's not much going on other than piano, bass, organ and drums, but the little details here and there make all the difference.
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 02:28:32 AM »

I don't think the "Brian and just a piano" approach would work for a studio production. But "Brian and very sparse home recording instrumentation"? Yes, please, that sounds great. He's an incredible arranger, even on albums like Wild Honey, which sounds like there's not much going on other than piano, bass, organ and drums, but the little details here and there make all the difference.


Yeah, I agree that a solo piano album at this point probably wouldn't work, and I don't know if Brian would even want to do that; after all his arrangements are many times such a big part of the song itself. Now, I love the recordings of Brian at the piano that we have. I just think (and maybe I'm wrong) that the energy in his playing is mostly gone, due to his age. But a collection of Brian's demos through the years would be great.
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2020, 10:01:48 AM »

Not veering too far away from the simplicity and intimacy of a solo piano and vocal project...what would be most welcome and long overdue would be to have Brian play some Hammond B3 organ on such a project too. Something like this doesn't need extra musicians, it doesn't need a lot of cooks in the kitchen either. But how great would it be to hear Brian again playing Hammond organ along with piano?

It's those little moments and little turns of a vocal phrase that makes this guy special, as I said in the Happy Birthday Nancy discussion. That moment just at the end of the song where he turns two syllables into four, and he sounds like he's 23 again. He pulls this kind of thing seemingly out of a hat, and people who know his work can spot them right away. In terms of producing records, every truly great record has that moment of surprise and pure joy, it's the great undefinable X-Factor in making music that some just seem to have more access to than others. Those are the greats, Brian is one of them. If he can do this in the last notes of Happy Birthday, is any more proof necessary?

So here is another example just for comparison: C50 tour, September 27, 2012 at Royal Albert Hall, in that batch of final C50 performances weeks after the dust-up hit the press. Some who were there say Brian brought his A-Game to this show, and was throwing his fastballs that night. Was he sending a message? Topic for debate. But this was Brian doing "Please Let Me Wonder" at that show, stay tuned to the very end of the song. Brian leans back and hits a falsetto note that speaks for itself. Still one of my favorite musical moments in all the BB's catalog fortunately captured on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsB3s9xDzRI


Those moments are what should be captured on a recording project. Just pure, unfiltered, and surprising magic moments that make a great song or performance even better. Seriously, the way he can do it with just piano and vocal, you don't need anything else. Get him in the studio with a piano and microphone and start rolling tape. And again, if there are doubts that such a thing would "work", look no further than Johnny Cash's last recordings. People are still buying and playing them.
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2020, 11:22:59 AM »

Not veering too far away from the simplicity and intimacy of a solo piano and vocal project...what would be most welcome and long overdue would be to have Brian play some Hammond B3 organ on such a project too. Something like this doesn't need extra musicians, it doesn't need a lot of cooks in the kitchen either. But how great would it be to hear Brian again playing Hammond organ along with piano?

It's those little moments and little turns of a vocal phrase that makes this guy special, as I said in the Happy Birthday Nancy discussion. That moment just at the end of the song where he turns two syllables into four, and he sounds like he's 23 again. He pulls this kind of thing seemingly out of a hat, and people who know his work can spot them right away. In terms of producing records, every truly great record has that moment of surprise and pure joy, it's the great undefinable X-Factor in making music that some just seem to have more access to than others. Those are the greats, Brian is one of them. If he can do this in the last notes of Happy Birthday, is any more proof necessary?

So here is another example just for comparison: C50 tour, September 27, 2012 at Royal Albert Hall, in that batch of final C50 performances weeks after the dust-up hit the press. Some who were there say Brian brought his A-Game to this show, and was throwing his fastballs that night. Was he sending a message? Topic for debate. But this was Brian doing "Please Let Me Wonder" at that show, stay tuned to the very end of the song. Brian leans back and hits a falsetto note that speaks for itself. Still one of my favorite musical moments in all the BB's catalog fortunately captured on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsB3s9xDzRI


Those moments are what should be captured on a recording project. Just pure, unfiltered, and surprising magic moments that make a great song or performance even better. Seriously, the way he can do it with just piano and vocal, you don't need anything else. Get him in the studio with a piano and microphone and start rolling tape. And again, if there are doubts that such a thing would "work", look no further than Johnny Cash's last recordings. People are still buying and playing them.


Thanks for sharing that awesome PLMW clip, GF. That end bit was really brilliant. It left me breathless for a moment.
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2020, 11:59:02 AM »

That PLMW clip is fantastic! What a joy to see him so energetic and with it!
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2020, 04:50:26 PM »

I've gotta say I think you guys are somewhat delusional. There is no way Brian is going to do anything. I think one of the reasons he may be happy, if indeed he is happy is because he doesn't have to tour and he can stay home and watch TV.  Brian is old and I'm sure very tired. I'm 65 and I'm exhausted sometimes. I can only guess what it's like to be closing in on 80.
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2020, 05:49:07 PM »

I've gotta say I think you guys are somewhat delusional. There is no way Brian is going to do anything. I think one of the reasons he may be happy, if indeed he is happy is because he doesn't have to tour and he can stay home and watch TV.  Brian is old and I'm sure very tired. I'm 65 and I'm exhausted sometimes. I can only guess what it's like to be closing in on 80.
Agreed. While it would be cool to get a stripped back Brian and a Piano album, similar to that Prince Piano & a Microphone 1983 album a couple years ago, itís extremely unlikely.
Personally, Iím hoping that in a couple years, we get all of the Love You and Adult Child piano demos officially released
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2020, 05:53:55 PM »

Nobody is saying anything about touring. I take offense about being called delusional. Unless your  name happens to be Brian Wilson, you canít get inside his head and saying ďthis is what he is or isnít going to do ď. Thatís not what this thread is even about; itís what we would like him to do if he wanted to do something.
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2020, 07:22:11 PM »

I've gotta say I think you guys are somewhat delusional. There is no way Brian is going to do anything. I think one of the reasons he may be happy, if indeed he is happy is because he doesn't have to tour and he can stay home and watch TV.  Brian is old and I'm sure very tired. I'm 65 and I'm exhausted sometimes. I can only guess what it's like to be closing in on 80.

You still have time to change that all around. I'm 7 1/2 years older than you and while I can't do what I used to do, I'm doing my best to not be exhausted and work out three or four days a week, take care of 2 acres and have a part time job. I wish I were 65 again! Brian is 5 years older than I am and I'm amazed that he can do what he does. He's an inspiration, indeed!
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2020, 08:59:15 PM »

Age is nothing but a number. Iím going to be 42 in a few months , have had two strokes and that has resulted in health issues making it likely I wonít see 80.  I could sit around feeling sorry for myself or I could do what Iím doing and enjoy the f*** out of life. I donít know Brianís current health situation but the days of him sitting around feeling sorry for himself are many years behind him, and I think heís choosing the latter option as well ; he knows heís gonna be 80 soon and it seems like that has lit a fire under him.

I donít know...I could be wrong but I suspect thatís not the case.
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2020, 09:04:15 PM »


You still have time to change that all around. I'm 7 1/2 years older than you and while I can't do what I used to do, I'm doing my best to not be exhausted and work out three or four days a week, take care of 2 acres and have a part time job. I wish I were 65 again! Brian is 5 years older than I am and I'm amazed that he can do what he does. He's an inspiration, indeed!

No doubt you can source a drop of inspiration (in purely that regard at least) from all our beloved Beach Boys then, even Michael E. Love?
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2020, 09:05:57 PM »

Iíd like him to retire, relax and enjoy the rest of his life.
Amen.
Brian did his work when he was a young man. The remainder of his career has been spent celebrating those accomplishments.
He's earned his retirement. Covid 19 may have brought that on a little sooner than we all expected, but I will be very disappointed if the Powers That Be resume the Never Ending Greatest Hits Tour next year.
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2020, 01:40:20 AM »

Oh! Thatís right guys, the Powers That Be completely control Brian. Do you guys really think that Brian himself wanted to wish Nancy Sinatra a happy birthday? Look closely at the framed Pet Sounds award in the background of that video - thereís a reflection and GASP! thereís Melinda holding a baseball bat making sure that Brian goes through with the video.

Whatís the tin-foil hat theory? Brian is forced to tour at gunpoint because Melinda desperately needs the money? Itís a shame COVID-19 happened because apparently Brianís touring brought in copious amounts of money for the Wilson household...No doubt Brian and Melinda will be out panhandling within weeks due to this financial loss!

Talk about delusional.

As for an album, if the dude canít even sit in front of a piano for an hour and a half a couple nights a week without a few sensitive people getting all ďoH mY GoOdnezz gUys HE iS BEiNg cOnTrOlLeD!!!!!Ē Iíd hate to see the reaction from these people when Brian spends a few hours in a studio a week recording an album for his fans...granted, the last time he made an album for us ďfansĒ, half the fans had mental breakdowns at the slightest sound of vocal pitch correction...perhaps Brian isnít making albums anymore because he doesnít want people feeling so negative.

Personally I would love to hear a solo piano album if Brian is up to it. At the moment Iím just glad weíre treated with these little snippets of happiness from Brian in such a negative time.

Also, OSD, glad to hear youíre living life to the fullest!
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2020, 11:36:07 AM »

Oh! Thatís right guys, the Powers That Be completely control Brian. Do you guys really think that Brian himself wanted to wish Nancy Sinatra a happy birthday? Look closely at the framed Pet Sounds award in the background of that video - thereís a reflection and GASP! thereís Melinda holding a baseball bat making sure that Brian goes through with the video.

Whatís the tin-foil hat theory? Brian is forced to tour at gunpoint because Melinda desperately needs the money? Itís a shame COVID-19 happened because apparently Brianís touring brought in copious amounts of money for the Wilson household...No doubt Brian and Melinda will be out panhandling within weeks due to this financial loss!

Talk about delusional.

As for an album, if the dude canít even sit in front of a piano for an hour and a half a couple nights a week without a few sensitive people getting all ďoH mY GoOdnezz gUys HE iS BEiNg cOnTrOlLeD!!!!!Ē Iíd hate to see the reaction from these people when Brian spends a few hours in a studio a week recording an album for his fans...granted, the last time he made an album for us ďfansĒ, half the fans had mental breakdowns at the slightest sound of vocal pitch correction...perhaps Brian isnít making albums anymore because he doesnít want people feeling so negative.

Personally I would love to hear a solo piano album if Brian is up to it. At the moment Iím just glad weíre treated with these little snippets of happiness from Brian in such a negative time.

Also, OSD, glad to hear youíre living life to the fullest!
I still donít get the big deal about a tiny bit of pitch correction.
Sure, Mike Love lathering his voice in layers and layers of it, making him sound barely human, just to record another version of Fun Fun Fun is just the worst. But Brianís last album had new material, most of it very good. And his voice clearly isnít what it was in 1965. So, if heís using technology to help him out, I really donít see the big deal. Itís a studio effect, it can be used fantastic, and it can be used super poorly, much like any other studio affect.
In the 60s, when new Studio techniques became available, these guys use them. They use multi tracking. They used speeding up and slowing down. They used the cut and splice techniques. They used reverb.
And trust me, if pitch corrector existed in the 60s, they would have used it to.
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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2020, 11:40:17 AM »

We need to stop this stupid idea that all modern studio technology is bad, and everything was better before. Because the truth is, it wasnít. Sure, there are a lot of modern production techniques that can be taken way too far. But lets stop getting mad when we notice that Pitch corrector, or some other ProTools plug-in is being used, and realize that itís 2020. Of course theyíre going to use whatís available nowadays. and in 2020, much like everything else, music production is Digital, and mostly done on computers. And thereís absolutely nothing wrong with that
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« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2020, 12:24:45 PM »

We need to stop this stupid idea that all modern studio technology is bad, and everything was better before. Because the truth is, it wasnít. Sure, there are a lot of modern production techniques that can be taken way too far. But lets stop getting mad when we notice that Pitch corrector, or some other ProTools plug-in is being used, and realize that itís 2020. Of course theyíre going to use whatís available nowadays. and in 2020, much like everything else, music production is Digital, and mostly done on computers. And thereís absolutely nothing wrong with that
I would love to elaborate, without today's technology, we would probably still be listening to records in mono, or having instruments panned onto one side and the other ala the Beatles! I think modern music technology just leads to more flexibility for the producer and musicians involved. I think about old piano recordings from Laura Nyro or Todd Rundgren, and the fidelity just can't compare to something even from the 80's or with American Spring. With old recordings, you get a lot of noise and compression due to bouncing from tape to vinyl/analog media. Digital music production has come a long way, and I firmly believe that the technology itself is not at fault for a lot of the overproduction that plagues many records today. To me, I specifically blame whoever mixes and masters the music, as it is typically mastered as loudly as possible in order to compare to specific frequencies of other contemporary songs.

I don't want to open that can of worms, but to me, to say that modern microphones or technology like Protools is to blame for some mediocre shlock of a production, I also think about some of Brian's better modern efforts like Lucky Old Sun, Gershwin, and Smile as examples of well-engineered works. The fidelity just doesn't compare!

As for auto-tune/pitch correction, etc. I also see double-tracking vocals as a form of pitch correction, so let's not put the blame on newer tech for that, when clearly, it was pioneered by the  himself!
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« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2020, 01:00:05 PM »

Oh! Thatís right guys, the Powers That Be completely control Brian. Do you guys really think that Brian himself wanted to wish Nancy Sinatra a happy birthday? Look closely at the framed Pet Sounds award in the background of that video - thereís a reflection and GASP! thereís Melinda holding a baseball bat making sure that Brian goes through with the video.

Whatís the tin-foil hat theory? Brian is forced to tour at gunpoint because Melinda desperately needs the money? Itís a shame COVID-19 happened because apparently Brianís touring brought in copious amounts of money for the Wilson household...No doubt Brian and Melinda will be out panhandling within weeks due to this financial loss!

Talk about delusional.

As for an album, if the dude canít even sit in front of a piano for an hour and a half a couple nights a week without a few sensitive people getting all ďoH mY GoOdnezz gUys HE iS BEiNg cOnTrOlLeD!!!!!Ē Iíd hate to see the reaction from these people when Brian spends a few hours in a studio a week recording an album for his fans...granted, the last time he made an album for us ďfansĒ, half the fans had mental breakdowns at the slightest sound of vocal pitch correction...perhaps Brian isnít making albums anymore because he doesnít want people feeling so negative.

Personally I would love to hear a solo piano album if Brian is up to it. At the moment Iím just glad weíre treated with these little snippets of happiness from Brian in such a negative time.

Also, OSD, glad to hear youíre living life to the fullest!
I still donít get the big deal about a tiny bit of pitch correction.
Sure, Mike Love lathering his voice in layers and layers of it, making him sound barely human, just to record another version of Fun Fun Fun is just the worst. But Brianís last album had new material, most of it very good. And his voice clearly isnít what it was in 1965. So, if heís using technology to help him out, I really donít see the big deal. Itís a studio effect, it can be used fantastic, and it can be used super poorly, much like any other studio affect.
In the 60s, when new Studio techniques became available, these guys use them. They use multi tracking. They used speeding up and slowing down. They used the cut and splice techniques. They used reverb.
And trust me, if pitch corrector existed in the 60s, they would have used it to.

Exactly!

All of Brian's albums have tastefully used effects to their advantage. Sure, I may not care for some songs he's done, but its never because of the vocal production. I'm glad other people see this perspective.
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« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2020, 04:33:19 PM »

We need to stop this stupid idea that all modern studio technology is bad, and everything was better before. Because the truth is, it wasnít. Sure, there are a lot of modern production techniques that can be taken way too far. But lets stop getting mad when we notice that Pitch corrector, or some other ProTools plug-in is being used, and realize that itís 2020. Of course theyíre going to use whatís available nowadays. and in 2020, much like everything else, music production is Digital, and mostly done on computers. And thereís absolutely nothing wrong with that

100% disagree
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« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2020, 04:34:36 PM »

Oh! Thatís right guys, the Powers That Be completely control Brian. Do you guys really think that Brian himself wanted to wish Nancy Sinatra a happy birthday? Look closely at the framed Pet Sounds award in the background of that video - thereís a reflection and GASP! thereís Melinda holding a baseball bat making sure that Brian goes through with the video.

Whatís the tin-foil hat theory? Brian is forced to tour at gunpoint because Melinda desperately needs the money? Itís a shame COVID-19 happened because apparently Brianís touring brought in copious amounts of money for the Wilson household...No doubt Brian and Melinda will be out panhandling within weeks due to this financial loss!

Talk about delusional.

As for an album, if the dude canít even sit in front of a piano for an hour and a half a couple nights a week without a few sensitive people getting all ďoH mY GoOdnezz gUys HE iS BEiNg cOnTrOlLeD!!!!!Ē Iíd hate to see the reaction from these people when Brian spends a few hours in a studio a week recording an album for his fans...granted, the last time he made an album for us ďfansĒ, half the fans had mental breakdowns at the slightest sound of vocal pitch correction...perhaps Brian isnít making albums anymore because he doesnít want people feeling so negative.

Personally I would love to hear a solo piano album if Brian is up to it. At the moment Iím just glad weíre treated with these little snippets of happiness from Brian in such a negative time.

Also, OSD, glad to hear youíre living life to the fullest!
I still donít get the big deal about a tiny bit of pitch correction.
Sure, Mike Love lathering his voice in layers and layers of it, making him sound barely human, just to record another version of Fun Fun Fun is just the worst. But Brianís last album had new material, most of it very good. And his voice clearly isnít what it was in 1965. So, if heís using technology to help him out, I really donít see the big deal. Itís a studio effect, it can be used fantastic, and it can be used super poorly, much like any other studio affect.
In the 60s, when new Studio techniques became available, these guys use them. They use multi tracking. They used speeding up and slowing down. They used the cut and splice techniques. They used reverb.
And trust me, if pitch corrector existed in the 60s, they would have used it to.

This is a common argument I hear, but the fact remains - they didn't have it, and the records sound the way they do partially as a result of not having these things. Which lends credence to the argument that the old ways were better.
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