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663638 Posts in 26587 Topics by 3815 Members - Latest Member: ILikeTheBeachBoys October 30, 2020, 11:40:15 PM
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Author Topic: Vega-Tables single thoughts  (Read 895 times)
AaronReturn2005
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« on: September 19, 2020, 04:04:16 PM »

The article from late April 1967 in which Derek Taylor says that "All 12 songs for SMiLE are finished and will be released very soon" has some information on what was going to be the lead single from SMiLE. While describing "Vega-Tables" as a "light and lyrical, day to day, green grocery song on which Al Jardine sings a most vigorous lead", he describes the Wonderful Version 3 session as a improvisation session [for Paul McCartney of all other things, causing more suspicion] despite fans thinking it was for the song PROPER due to the fact that all arrangements of that song had minimal instrumentation and some excerpts being included on Unsurpassed Masters Volume 18 [which should be a Smiley Smile-themed release. Guessing the compiler thought they were trying an "happier" rendition similar to the SMiLE version but performed in a different key before going back to the darker one].

In the version known as the "April Assembly" [the T-2580-2 version is similar, but shorter], you can hear that Brian doesn't know where to place the "Do A Lot" chorus, placing a failed take of it [aka the "breakdown" chorus to fans of classic SMiLE boots] after the second verse, while overlaying the second verse with the second half of the "I know you'll feel better..." verse and the Vocal Insert, and two lengthy versions of the chorus appear after the wordless verse.

It's clear he hasn't figured out the structure yet, and when he said a version of SMiLE without H&V and Vegetables that would've followed Smiley Smile it meant he was already done with both songs after the lacklustre Smiley sessions, despite fully re-recording the first 1:30 of Vegetables [as it was now known]. And when Mark Linnet attempted his own version of Vega-Tables for the GV box set, he used the "fade" segment as an outro to his reconstruction and "Do A Lot" as a chorus despite '67 Brian most likely wanting both segments to enter the cutting room floor.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 03:03:22 PM by AaronReturn2005 » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2020, 02:04:58 AM »

What you've got here isn't quite right. That 'April assembly' isn't a Brian edit - it's a bootlegger compilation derived straight from the multitracks with all faders up, plus a big gap in the middle. Brian mixed various individual sections at the time but no edits by him have surfaced. Vegetables' basic track wasn't initially modular, it was a whole piece, recorded: Verse / Verse / Chorus / Verse / Fade Chorus

At some point down the line Brian decided to extend it by adding a scat verse and tracking the final verse lyrics over the second verse (to be dubbed down individually and moved elsewhere), experimenting with a Marilyn a capella fragment, replacing the choruses, then adding the fade and Ballad Insert. I think Alan Boyd's edit for the Smile Sessions is pretty damn close to what it eventually arrived at, maybe with the Ballad Insert and last verse the other way around. What Alan did is better anyway.

The third version of Wonderful is the one that was recorded as a b-side to Vegetables. The first version had been thrown away by January, the second version in turn by April. Derek Taylor described an improv performance by the group around the piano during Paul McCartney's visit, not what had already been put to tape.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 02:20:03 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
AaronReturn2005
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 01:59:27 PM »

[Deleted]
At least that's what we think it is.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 02:58:43 PM by AaronReturn2005 » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2020, 03:58:26 PM »

Wonderful v3 (and the possible-bridge Child section) is the first thing on a Sound Recorders comp reel before the various Vegetables sections in chronological order, meaning it existed by the first Vegetables tracking session on April 4 at the latest. It's a modular recording set for copy & pasting - tracked over 5 takes - that received three overdubs (Mike doubled in the first verse and the group live into two mics during the second verse). It's not finished, but there's zero question that this was an actual studio master. There's nothing to say those vocals couldn't have been added during the session Paul visited but it isn't the off-the-cuff performance Derek Taylor talked about.

The lead on the second version is Carl, and there was probably more to Brian scrapping it than one flubbed take of a vocal.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 04:06:41 PM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
juggler
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2020, 09:42:21 AM »

I love Vega-Tables, and the Boyd-Linett 2011 mix is my favorite.  If something like that had been released as a single in May '67, I honestly think it could have been a hit.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 09:42:55 AM by juggler » Logged
AaronReturn2005
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2020, 02:23:46 PM »

Listening to the Secret Smile April Assembly clearer, it's the second half of the second verse where the overdubs are clearer. The "candy bar" verse is on top of it, making it illegible. As for the first half ["i'm gonna keep well"], the final verse overdub seems to just be the backing vocals, can't hear the final verse's lyrics at all. So I agree with another poster's theory.
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AaronReturn2005
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2020, 03:09:35 PM »

I think Alan Boyd's edit for the Smile Sessions is pretty damn close to what it eventually arrived at, maybe with the Ballad Insert and last verse the other way around.

Maybe not. Let's consider that the Cantina version of H&V doesn't use all the segments recorded around that period, and beforehand.
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rab2591
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2020, 07:27:56 AM »

I love Vega-Tables, and the Boyd-Linett 2011 mix is my favorite.  If something like that had been released as a single in May '67, I honestly think it could have been a hit.

So much agree. To my ears, unlike most other SMiLE songs, the 2011 mix sounds like it was recorded yesterday - the mix is so clean, and the song itself (along with 'Cabin Essence') is the pinnacle of Brian's studio creativity...but yet it's catchy, quirky yet somehow approachable. And those closing harmonies ("I know that you'll feel better if you send us in your letter...") are still some of my favorite harmonies The Beach Boys ever created/released.
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AaronReturn2005
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2020, 01:48:45 PM »

Update: Having listened to the 1988 Mark Linnet edit of Vega-Tables a few times ago, I noticed there's something clearly missing in-between the second and third chorus. While they both end as session takes in the Secret Smile version, there's a bad spilt between the second chorus and the left-mostly-unaltered-from-the-multitrack third chorus. I think it would've been like this, since it's the only way I see it work (sorry BWPS stans, I heard a fanmix that did similar but used the slow Ballad Insert):

Verse 1/Verse 2/Chorus/Verse 3 (wordless intro)/Chorus/Verse 4 (Uptempo Ballad Insert)/Fade Chorus
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 01:49:43 PM by AaronReturn2005 » Logged
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