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676410 Posts in 27291 Topics by 4032 Members - Latest Member: theangel August 10, 2022, 03:48:32 PM
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Author Topic: The Wilson/Paley Sessions  (Read 1081 times)
Zenobi
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« on: July 28, 2022, 07:19:44 PM »

Somebody has called them "the greatest album that never was". The definition once reserved to SMiLE.
In any case, I think they deserve a treatment like the 2011 SMiLE Sessions, completed with a "reconstructed" album.
What do you think?
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HeyJude
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2022, 10:39:55 AM »

The material should of course be released. No, it's not as great as "Smile." I don't know who called the Paley stuff "the greatest album that never was", but while a lot of the stuff is good, I wouldn't use such hyperbole.

It was never a fully sequenced album as far as I know, just an extended series of sessions that yielded far more than an album's worth of material.

I'd love to see all the tracks released. But really, a good hunk of the best stuff has been released, and much of the rest circulated in pretty solid sound quality. There are some tracks that only exist in pretty crummy-sounding versions, and I can only imagine there's stuff we haven't heard at all.

But between the tracks on Brian's current website, the "Playback" comp, and the "Long Promised Road" soundtrack, you've got a good hunk of the tracks right there in more or less "original" condition. Some other stuff has been futzed with to some degree, such as a bit of stuff on the "Gettin' in Over My Head" album and "You're Still a Mystery" from the "Made in California" set.

Now that they've dumped a good hunk of the sessions out there already, I can't see why they shouldn't release everything they've got. I don't think it needs to be presented as an "album", just put it all on a couple discs' worth. There would be some questions as to what can or should be used. They probably can't use BB vocals on a Brian release (though clearances could be pursued), and I'm not sure if they'd want to include the Paley guide vocals.
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Zenobi
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2022, 11:55:51 AM »

Of course they are not so good as SMiLE (nothing is). Still, imho it's pretty impressive stuff for a musician who, according to some, did nothing good after 1967, or even 1966....
« Last Edit: July 29, 2022, 11:58:01 AM by Zenobi » Logged
HeyJude
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2022, 12:13:21 PM »

I think the best tracks from the sessions could have been molded into a very good 1995 Beach Boys album.

Brian has done well by having partners that can help facilitate him creating, and also help get projects out the door. Many such as Gary Usher, Don Was, and Andy Paley were able to the former, but not the latter. That's why, despite some drawbacks, Joe Thomas has been an important figure at a few points in Brian's career, because he was able to do both, and do it both with Brian solo and with the Beach Boys.
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2022, 01:18:04 PM »

Sire Records, where Andy is well-connected, offered to fund the completion of the Wilson/Paley album. Joe, who had somehow weaseled himself into being Brian's intermediary, refused their offer. How the hell does this guy have a reputation for "getting projects out the door"?

Better question: why would anybody even want completed Brian Wilson projects if it's just going to be tainted by a corporate dinosaur from Hollywood with the worst taste in music that you can possibly imagine? I'd rather Brian stayed at home and be comfortable banging out Phil Spector riffs on the piano. Why should he be coaxed into writing anodyne soft-rock? Hasn't this man suffered enough?

I wouldn't be surprised if Brian's estate/handlers are hoarding a huge trove of unreleased Wilson/Paley recordings spanning the 1990s-2000s. Like, several albums of non-bootlegged material, none of which will ever see official release, even after Brian passes. Well, we might get 1 or 2 songs thrown on the next greatest hits package, due for 2032. But don't expect the tracks to sound like how they were intended to be heard.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2022, 02:21:04 PM by terrei » Logged
Zenobi
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2022, 04:21:24 PM »

This shows that even blatant trolls, absurdly, can get something partly right once in a while.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2022, 04:21:58 PM by Zenobi » Logged
♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2022, 04:58:53 PM »

What’s that saying about a broken clock being right twice a day?
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“My cape is at the dry cleaners,” he explained.

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HeyJude
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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2022, 11:13:11 AM »

The point was not that Thomas is a great producer, nor a cultivator of all of the best work of Brian's. The point was that Joe Thomas got s**t done. I'm not a fan of his production style (though it eased off on the later 2010s stuff compared to the late 90s). But like him or not, he's one of the main starters behind making the 50th anniversary happen in 2012.

But the point was not that Andy Paley didn't have connections in the industry. The point was that Andy was not able to navigate both the Brian and Beach Boys political machine to get his project done. Neither was Don Was. Despite both of them working on some very good material.

Joe Thomas was able to navigate the Brian world, and then eventually also the even more nefarious BB world. Was it by ingratiating himself in ways that led to not the best musical outcomes? Probably. Certainly initially by molding "Imagination" into something that, while it has some good songs and good Brian vocals, is not the musical direction most folks wanted.  

Also, Joe Thomas had $$$$, and access to $$$$. I think by leaps and bounds Thomas's best achievement in the BB world was making the reunion project happen. As someone said back then, the Beach Boys finally had a guy with the organizational skills and the *MONEY* to secure guarantees, and he was the guy clapping his hands and saying "ok, now here's what we're going to do." That worked. For about a year. But that's more than most anybody else could have mustered. He secured a reunion album deal based on the songs he had written with Brian, secured a tour with the money and organizational skills to put together that "50 Big Ones" production company with Brian and Mike, and he also got a live album and two live DVDs/Blu-rays out. All in a year (obviously some of the ancillary stuff didn't make it out until 2013).

So yeah, the point was not to argue the musical merits of these respective collaborators. The point was that the guy LITERALLY got projects out the door, as in he got them released. That was Joe Thomas. I'm not saying there weren't many, many factors. I think in another time and place Don Was certainly could have made something happen.

But I think by 2011 Thomas was pretty aware of what it took to make a BB reunion happen. Specifically, it needed his bag of songs he had started with Brian in the late 90s (a number of which *are* on par with the best Paley material I believe), the ability to secure up front cash advances for the needed parties, and the organizational skill to balance all of the projects. He also clearly learned some lessons from his first run with Brian in the late 90s where he was always by Brian's side in interviews and on camera. How many photos of Joe Thomas from the C50 reunion period even exist? I think I may have seen one? And I think I've seen one 2013 photo of Thomas during the Brian/Al/David tour.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2022, 11:15:31 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2022, 05:36:01 PM »

Just as a side note, Joe Thomas did a excellent job producing the latest Chicago CD... very worthwhile recording.
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"A voice or a song can be so comforting to someone who really needs it."
..................................Brian Wilson, 1990
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