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Author Topic: Reviewing Adult/Child as an actual Beach Boys album  (Read 49920 times)
brianc
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« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2008, 09:43:23 AM »

A Brian Wilson demos compilation is long overdue.
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Bean Bag
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« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2008, 06:49:26 AM »

A Brian Wilson demos compilation is long overdue.

Man, oh man is it ever.

The piano demos are at the purest level of Brian's art.  I love the sweetening, lush harmonies, synth and minimalistic drumming that gets added, but the piano demos with Brian's vocals...those are priceless.  I think it's because you can truly hear the dense chords.  Even in what sounds like simple material...the piano demo reveals a lot of intricate voicings.

Much of the same qualities that make those amazing vocal-harmonies so fascinating exist in just the plain ole piano demos.  Probably because he writes those harmonies on the piano in the first place...or its the same process for him to think of those handful of notes interacting.
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brianc
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« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2008, 09:34:03 AM »

I have a piano acetate of Hoagy Carmichael in the '50s, and it's incredible. Over the years, piano-only recordings and demos have come out by Duke Ellington, Randy Newman, Cole Porter, Gershwin and other. Brian Wilson has the added tragedy that not nearly all of his demos ended up making it to record as fully-realized productions. So these songs are a unique part of his canon.

I made a CD of about 25 of his demos, in sequential order... this was about eight years ago. Not sure what all has surfaced. But I just took demos that were on various rarities collections and bootlegs and put them together. Nothing unreleased or unbooted or anything. Just wanted to hear how they all sounded together. And it was just as I thought. An incredible listening experience.
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Bean Bag
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« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2008, 09:42:40 AM »

Brian Wilson has the added tragedy that not nearly all of his demos ended up making it to record as fully-realized productions. So these songs are a unique part of his canon. ...An incredible listening experience.

Excellent point.  In Brian's case these demos also serve as a MAJOR, MAJOR gap filler.  If they exist....
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brianc
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« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2008, 10:26:16 AM »

There's a lot of them. I'm always trying to find more from what Terry Melcher called "The Aesop Era"... when BW would come out of his bedroom, like Aesop out of the forest, and play a beautiful song, then disappear. It's not quite that drastic, I've been finding, though some stuff seems to be lost, just as Melcher said. But Brian did lay some of these songs to tape, and demos exist. This would otherwise be known as the Bedroom Years, which I would put at 1970-75, with the biggest period being 1973-74. After Murry died, and before he started work on 15 Big Ones.

But there's so much good stuff from all eras, in terms of these piano demos.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2008, 03:11:13 PM »

There were also lots of demos from the Sunflower/Surf's Up era, according to Desper, stuff Brian would work on when no one else was around, and then leave unfinished or erase. 
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Jay
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« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2008, 11:46:27 PM »

A Brian Wilson demos compilation is long overdue.
Forget "compilation". We need a 30 CD set, please. Hell, I'll even take the hundreds(literally...) of "homework songs" that Landy had him do. Grin
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« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2008, 05:13:05 AM »

There's a lot of them. I'm always trying to find more from what Terry Melcher called "The Aesop Era"... when BW would come out of his bedroom, like Aesop out of the forest, and play a beautiful song, then disappear. It's not quite that drastic, I've been finding, though some stuff seems to be lost, just as Melcher said. But Brian did lay some of these songs to tape, and demos exist. This would otherwise be known as the Bedroom Years, which I would put at 1970-75, with the biggest period being 1973-74. After Murry died, and before he started work on 15 Big Ones.

But there's so much good stuff from all eras, in terms of these piano demos.

Brian was doing too much in 1970 to call that a bedroom year at all. In fact it was the most public he had been in three years. Brian looked almost slim, was writing great songs, and I feel it to be really the last great Brian year as we originally knew him. The interviews he did are clear and seem to come from the same Brian as before. 1971 he still looked ok and according to Desper was doing more on Surf's Up then we thought. He also was doing Spring, and showed up at least once at a show. There was a difference, he was writing less, acting more eccenric in interviews. 1972 we see a change he is pulling back in the studio, gaining weight, but still when he did work it was top notch. Carl once noted that the So Tough sessions were the first time he realised Brian was doingg cocaine regularly.  1973 was the big decline, but I think Brian was far worse off from 1977-82 though he was in public more often then he was during the 68- mid 73 era. I look at like this Brian was then strong enough to work when he felt like it and play live when he felt like it. Until 1972 or so he worked often enough to maintain a strong presence. But those later years 15 Big Ones, KTSA,  the tours, I just see him not doing it for any other reason then he no longer had the will to fight it.
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TdHabib
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« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2008, 07:07:49 PM »

I'm mostly unfamiliar with the 'Adult Child' track listing, apart from the released tracks and the ones on 30 Years of good Vibrations.

'Games Two Can Play' is a very nice track.

But nothing earth shattering.
You probably meant that "Play" was nothing earth shattering, but as far as Adult/Child material goes, "It's Over Now" was easily one of Brian's most meaningful songs, and of course it sat in the can for 16 years! I really love that song personally, although it shouldn't have been slowed down, it's natural speed is far more preferable.
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« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2008, 09:42:13 AM »

was "its over now'  intended to be slowed down? 
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« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2008, 10:27:22 PM »

If it HAD come out, it would have been in my top 5 albums. I'm not ashamed to admit that I freaking love the music on this. Better than 15 BO and Love You, honestly. If Brian had spent the rest of his career doing music like this, I'd have been happy. Why in the blue gravy f*ck are Brian's "people" trying to push Brian towards the 1965-era, when it should be the 1976-7 period that would suit Brian best now?!

Got off topic. Anyway, thumbs up from me. And dammit, "Games Two Can Play" should've been on Surf's Up at the very least.

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« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2008, 02:01:36 PM »

First time I heard Games Two Can Play, I thought, "Wow, this is absolutely terrible." Then I listened a few more times and I like it a lot, but it makes so much sense that they wouldn't release this, especially in 1971 when they were trying to be serious.
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picassosson
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« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2008, 04:28:05 PM »

Gotta say this thread inspired me to revisit these tracks and this time period in BB history.  Since I've had a bellyfull of "Games Two Can Play" and "H.E.L.P." (both of which deserve to languish in obscurity on the Good Vibes Box), I restructured the album a bit for personal listening.  These earlier curiosities of Brian's are interesting just to see what he was up to - but don't really hold up as strong songs in their own right or fit into the broader scheme of anything.  Why they were chosen for the box instead of real lost gems like Dennis's "A Time To Live In Dreams","Wouldn't It Be Nice To Live Again", "Lady", "Carry Me Home" etc. is beyond me.  (Or if they really HAD to stick with Brian "Soulful Old Man Sunshine", "Sail Plane Song", or the vocal snippet from "Old Man River" would have been much better unheard choices IMO.  Hell, even Mike's 4/4 "Big Sur" could've won out.) 

Uh, back to Adult/Child... I also ditched "Hey Little Tomboy" (nice melody/arrangement, but *shudder), the insipid "On Broadway", and "Shortnin' Bread" - just because they don't seem to fit very well.

I really wish Brian completed a "Big Band" Beach Boys album, with Dick Reynolds filling out the arrangements.  It definitely would have been artistically satisfying if not commercially viable at the time.  Most of the songs Brian was writing around this time have a uniqueness to them with the way he takes the slice of life situations that he was in at the time: going to the gym (Life Is For the Living), listening to Frank Sinatra (It's Over Now), bumming around his house (Everybody Wants To Live), waiting in lines at the movies (Lines), watching a baseball game (I'm Starting To Say), and waiting for the maid to cook dinner (Still I Dream Of It) and marries them to larger emotional themes and lyrics that are very universal.  (Something that a song like "Johnny Carson" fails to do).  Because of this back and forth these songs take on a surreality that is wonderful. 

There is also something distinctly Americana about the themes, arrangements, and subjects that these songs explore - an Americana that Brian hadn't tapped into yet - but was obviously always interested in.  I really do wish he had the discipline and enthusiasm to have seen this project through... I feel the same way about his brief experiments with recording musicals and standards (Old Man River/Old Folks Home/Walk On By) in the late sixties.  Fantastic stuff.

My twelve song comp:

Life Is For Living   
Deep Purple   
Marilyn Rovell   
Had To Phone Ya   
It's Over Now   
When Girls Get Together (Instrumental)
Everybody Wants To Live   
My Diane   
Lines
I'm Starting To Say   
New England Waltz (Instrumental)
Still I Dream Of It   

P.S.  Anyone know the scoop on "New England Waltz"?  Nice little instrumental, was it actually arranged by Brian?  Maybe I don't wanna know...
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 07:10:19 PM by picassosson » Logged
picassosson
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« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2008, 04:36:14 PM »

"There's been songs about Celebration / But if you ask me I can't see why / There's too much pain, too much pain in my heart now / You're gonna have to prove it to me" - Everybody Wants To Live

Could this possibly be a dig at Mike's musical side project that Brian participated in?  Would the dates align with when this song was originally written?
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MBE
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« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2008, 09:47:27 PM »

No Celebration was over a year off then.
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Aegir
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« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2008, 10:00:31 PM »

I know A Time to Live in Dreams wasn't discovered until the 90s.
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« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2008, 10:04:14 PM »

"There's been songs about Celebration / But if you ask me I can't see why / There's too much pain, too much pain in my heart now / You're gonna have to prove it to me" - Everybody Wants To Live

Could this possibly be a dig at Mike's musical side project that Brian participated in?

What do you think this is, Lennon and McCartney? Grin
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Bean Bag
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« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2008, 10:18:23 AM »

If it HAD come out, it would have been in my top 5 albums. I'm not ashamed to admit that I freaking love the music on this. Better than 15 BO and Love You, honestly. If Brian had spent the rest of his career doing music like this, I'd have been happy. Why in the blue gravy f*ck are Brian's "people" trying to push Brian towards the 1965-era, when it should be the 1976-7 period that would suit Brian best now?

 Bow
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picassosson
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« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2008, 03:22:59 PM »

I know A Time to Live in Dreams wasn't discovered until the 90s.

Well, I guess that would explain that!

"There's been songs about Celebration / But if you ask me I can't see why / There's too much pain, too much pain in my heart now / You're gonna have to prove it to me" - Everybody Wants To Live

Could this possibly be a dig at Mike's musical side project that Brian participated in?

What do you think this is, Lennon and McCartney? Grin

Haha... hey man, at least McCartney never made John Lennon sing "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic"
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Leo K
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« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2008, 05:13:50 PM »

When I listen to Adult/Child...I hear a story like this:

A man struggling to live in the middle age of his years, gaining some wieght...lonely after a hard break-up...trying to enjoy life again...to find a 'new world' through movies and baseball and etc. Theres even a call for spiritual release in It's Over Now and Still I Dream of It, with references to heaven, angels and Jesus. There is a feeling through this song cycle of being trapped in this conditional world and trying to accept the world, yet there is a 'crying out' for a happiness that will be eternal. What an interesting contrast to Dennis's POB...fascinating and yet I can relate to this music emotionally.

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Bean Bag
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« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2008, 06:16:58 AM »

Good thoughts Leo.  You could almost replace the lyric "Baseball's on..." with "life goes on..."

There is something strangely satisfying about this music.  I'm not sure what it is...you may have nailed it with your analysis above, I've actually never thought about it that deeply....beyond the surface. 

What I've liked is that there IS, there simply is something beyond or below the surface. True probably with most of their music and probably ALL of Brian's music.

What lies beneath the surface is all sorts of things...and it's that layered quality, in terms of human meaning - not just musical depth, that has us all here.

In listening heavily to Pet Sounds lately, I reaffirmed or rediscovered that point.  On top, there's Wouldn't It Be Nice, great melodies -- classic Beach Boys songs....but underneath...well...........there's something going on.
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« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2012, 03:36:28 PM »

such a testament to BW's abilities that listening to this album today, i assumed that 'it's over now' was a big band standard style piece before looking it up and realizing he wrote it!
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« Reply #47 on: May 29, 2012, 05:06:56 PM »

I find it depressing, miserable, and indicative of everything that felt bad about the late 70s. It ain't no lost classic for me.

It has its moments though.
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« Reply #48 on: May 29, 2012, 05:32:30 PM »

I find it depressing, miserable, and indicative of everything that felt bad about the late 70s. It ain't no lost classic for me.

It has its moments though.

Better than MIU though, no?
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onkster
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« Reply #49 on: May 29, 2012, 05:36:36 PM »

That's a tough one. I only recently got MIU, and I didn't see what's so bad about it. Other than it's just very...mediocre. Which almost makes it worse than bad, in a way, in that it elicits so little emotional reaction.

At least Adult Child has "Still I Dream of It", which is a great song, but still a tremendous downer in the form it's in. Is HELP really supposed to be on this album? If so...I like that one quite a lot. (Is there a true track order/lineup to this album?)

"It's Over Now" is great in its own way, but it's so sad, I can't bear to listen to it. Seriously. Most of this album makes me feel realllllly old, and not in a good way...more like a John Lennon's "Nobody Love You When You're Down and Out" way.
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