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678312 Posts in 27401 Topics by 4045 Members - Latest Member: reecemorgan January 26, 2023, 01:53:48 PM
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9951  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian's new collaborator on: June 04, 2006, 04:49:28 AM
I'm not neccesarily opposed to Brian working with a collaborator or even another producer to co-produce or produce Brian. I'm not even neccesarily opposed to a collaborator being the majority part of some of those collaborations, as long as the material is good.

Brian clearly has produced hit-and-miss quality material as a solo artist in recent years, "Smile" aside (especially since we're talking about "new" material). After Joe Thomas made "Imagination" cringe-worthy for some fans (a possible example of a collaborator not bettering Brian's music), many fans called for Brian to just record and produce himself, perhaps even just take fairly recent unreleased songs and put them together for a new album. Well, we got exactly that on "Gettin' In Over My Head." While I don't dislike that album nearly as much as, say, Andrew G. Doe has said he does, I think many fans will agree that that album indicates that Brian is both short on new song ideas and unable or unwilling to really craft a high quality album of new songs.

I've always hoped Brian would work with Jeff Lynne again. The one song they did together on the '88 album, "Let It Shine", is one of the best songs on that album. Yes, a potential collaboration with Lynne in terms of songwriting and production would mean we'd be getting more Lynne than Brian in some ways. But again, I don't think it's a bad thing if Brian works with somebody else and lets the other person carry much of the weight, so long as the material and production is good. It doesn't have to sound "Smile-esque" or even overtly "Beach Boys-like." I'd much rather hear something like "Let It Shine" even if it sounds like Brian performing a Jeff Lynne song, than hear something contrived like "South American."

As much as I do like seeing "Produced by Brian Wilson" on Brian's recent and present projects, I don't think it has to be that way. I think perhaps BB/Brian fans are scared off from outside producers controlling things on an album based on some rather iffy results in the past (Steve Levine, Joe Thomas). It's a bad idea to let somebody else run the show instead of Brian, but only if the person running the show isn't producing quality material. I would not be the slightest bit put off by somebody else coming in to produce Brian and perhaps even write or co-write for him, if the material is high quality. Brian's place in history as a producer and songwriter is secure, so I don't see a problem with having a new album with, say some co-writes with Andy Paley, Jeff Lynne, etc. and a "Produced by Jeff Lynne and Brian Wilson" tag.

I'm not suggesting Brian sell out. I don't want to see a "duets" album, nor do I want to see Brian trying to get contemporary (i.e. "Smart Girls"). The material can sound retro, 60's, poppy, whatever, and still have a lot of imput from somebody else.

Maybe if Brian is working with this new guy Pack, the material will be good. If, on the other hand, Pack is simply being brought in to make Brian "contemporary", or if he's being brought in to write "Beach Boys-esque" material, or if he's being brought in simply to slightly re-write lyrics to old unreleased songs (i.e. "She Says That She Needs Me", "You've Touched Me"), then I can't imagine that has a high chance or producing high quality results. But who knows?

Bring on the live and studio outtakes via the new BB website. That's where the high quality material remains in terms of the BB's.
9952  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys Hallmark CD on: June 03, 2006, 02:41:38 AM
we'll see more BB stuff through this new website.

That's the idea....

Think Elvis/FTD....

I'm not at liberty to discuss what was said, but I seriously doubt we'll be disappointed by what is in store for us...... in fact I think I was almost drooling at some of the stuff he mentioned.... and if you were paying attention at Hodadfest, Mike Meros let something slip he probably shouldn't have....

Now if I could only hurry up and get a job so I could pay for all the goodness coming our way soon....

The only thing I knew about FTD was that it is a flower delivery company. A quick search shows that FTD is a label that issues all sorts of "speciality" releases of Elvis music (live soundboard recordings, studio outtakes), and this sounds precisely like what I'd love to have the BB's do. It seems as though the FTD thing for Elvis consists of real CD releases, not download-only. Can I assume the BB project will be the same? I certainly hope it isn't download only. Not only would CD releases of course sound better, but for people who are still on dialup, it is the only real option.

If the BB's are doing something similar to this FTD label for Elvis, it will be interesting to see if it consists mostly of live recordings (which would still be great), or if the various BB's will be convinced to allow release of Brother-era studio material.

As for the Mike Meros comment, I too would love to hear what it was. I wasn't there either. For that matter, I'd like to hear any interesting comments he made.
9953  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson 'Les Chan' (on the 'Cocaine Sessions' CD) on: June 02, 2006, 03:38:34 AM
He still kinda sounds like his young self there.

How weird to here a clip of Carolyn Williams...

This is indeed rather strong evidence that the slurring started later on. However, I think this tape is running way too fast. So while Brian does sound very energetic and is not slurring, I think his voice probably didn't sound quite that high-pitched in 1981. He sounds like his 18 year old voice there, and other examples I've heard of his voice circa 1981 have his voice a bit deeper than that.
9954  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys Hallmark CD on: June 02, 2006, 03:35:55 AM
Soundscan monitors sales, but they only monitor sales at certain places, thus a "non-traditional" outlets (like grocery stores, I believe) that sell CD's or DVD's don't get counted in sales. I would tend to doubt that Hallmark sales are monitored.

Apparently, a few past Hallmark-exclusive releases sold quite well. Somebody once said that the McDonald Christmas CD or whatever it was sold over a million copies. So perhaps that one would have charted had it been monitered; I don't know if it charted or if it was monitered.

While a lot of these Hallmark CD's apparently sell quite well, and while I'm sure the BB CD will sell fairly well to captive audiences at these stores, I wouldn't be surprised if the BB CD is one of the lesser-selling of recent Hallmark releases. Most of the previous Hallmark stuff I've seen tends to be sort of Adult-Contemporary type music. But who knows, maybe the BB CD will sell well and we'll see more BB stuff either through Hallmark or at least through this new website.

In one of the very early press releases about the CD, I recall Hallmark mentioning that they might attempt a mainstream release of the CD after its exclusive turn at Hallmark stores. I can't imagine the CD really selling that well as a standalone mainstream release, unless it is sold for $5-$8, so I don't know what exactly Hallmark is thinking.

Now watch, later this year they will announce a mainstream, worldwide release of "Songs from Here & Back", with one EXTRA bonus track or something.
9955  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: new BB dvds on: June 01, 2006, 02:44:25 PM
The DVD on Amazon listed as "1961-1973" appears to simply be a private seller selling a copy (an overpriced one at that) of this DVD that was released in the UK. It hasn't been released in the US thus far, and it doesn't appear as if this listing is indicating a forthcoming US release. I wouldn't lose sleep over it, as most reviews of this were pretty negative. This appears to be one of a series of "Music in Review" DVD "documentaries" that use a bit of footage under the guise of the DVD being a "critical review" and then add in a bunch of interviews with random and seemingly unknown music journalists, "experts", etc. I've seen on of these on ELO, and it's not very impressive.

The "Summer Dreams" DVD does appear to be a forthcoming official DVD release of the infamous 1990 TV movie. It's listed at only $5.98, and as bad as the movie is, it might be worth $6 to buy it if you don't have it on videotape, if only to see the infamously bad fake facial hair and classic lines like "you're out of the band Buckwheat!", "I can't have music in my head if I'm always on the road!", and "Duh, Al." The guy who plays Murry is actually pretty good. I haven't a clue if he's at all accurate to how Murry really was, but this character in the movie is pretty entertaining.

A reviewer said back in 2000 when ABC aired the Stamos 2-part movie something along the lines of "ABC apparently makes a Beach Boys movie once every ten years", so now that we're at 2006, somebody is probably in the process of working up another script for the 2010 attempt!
9956  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Does the on stage talent level of the BB's piss you off? on: May 29, 2006, 04:01:50 AM
I've given a listen to a relatively huge number of live BB shows, and I think that the BB's could be pretty impressive and sometimes quite horrible. In the early-mid 60's, they sounded quite solid, if not as polished as the studio recordings. If you listen to, say, the Michigan '66 live tracks, you hear a pretty polished band, especially considering that by that time they were playing "Good Vibrations" and some "Pet Sounds" stuff. Interestingly, the 1966 BB's were probably a more solid live band thatn the tired, ragged 1966 live Beatles, even though I feel the Beatles were all better musicians. This is proven (in my opinion) by the fact that if you listen to the Beatles' 1969 rooftop concert, which is the closest approximation to what the Beatles could have sounded like had they toured in 1969, the Beatles smoke compared either to past Beatles shows as well as any circa 1969 (or earlier) BB show.

Around 1967, the BB shows started to mirror the contemporary recordings of the time, thus a more laid-back, sparse sound. This could still sometimes sound tight, while other times it could sound pretty sloppy.

By 1968-69, they were sounding more solid again, as is evidenced by the generally enjoyable "Live in London" album. Of course, it was in 1967 and into 68 when they started to use backing musicians.

The pre-Blondie/Ricky early 70's shows were pretty impressive, with the band pulling off tracks like "Surf's Up." When Blondie and Ricky joined, they did hit their peak in terms of musicianship, a more rocking sound, and what was one of the last times their sound was really in line with the contemporary sound of live shows.

When the "Brian's Back" era hit, the BB's still had a bunch of backing musicians, but it seems as if Brian either directly or indirectly brought the quality of the live shows down with him. Carl sounds mildly drunk at shows as early as January 1977, culminating in the infamous collapsing incident in Febuary or March of 1978 in Australia. Carl got his act together soon after. Brian, who had been pretty active in live shows in 1977 and part of 1978, withdrew more by 1979 and was usually just off to the side adding a few vocal bits on songs like "Sloop John B" and "Surfer Girl." Dennis was absent for around a year from mid '79 to mid '80.

Many see 1980 as a turning point with the live band, but I think even in 1980 they sounded pretty strong overall. The 1980 tour was one of the last times that the actual BB's on stage outnumbered the backing members, as there were usually 6 BB's and only 3-4 backing musicians.

I believe 1981 was the turning point both in terms of setlist and performance quality. Carl left, and the BB's performed what has to be their worst-sounding live show that was ever broadcast, the July 5th Queen Mary show in Long Beach. Everybody in the band sounded horrible, including several of the backing band (Baker, Knapp). Carter, Meros, and Figueroa were still on their game, but it wasn't enough.

When Carl returned in mid-1982, one of his conditions for returning was that the band rehearsed more. This sounds to be the case, as shows from 1982 into 1983 sound markedly better, helped by the addition of Jeff Foskett in late 1981 and the return of Billy Hinsche in 1982. But by this time, a live BB show was really hit and miss. In general, especially by the late 80's, they usually sounded the same: Generally tight musicianship-wise (save Kowalski's drumming), and vocally middle of the road. They were certainly able to pick up their game, as is heard from the late 1993 "boxed set tour" shows.

BB shows from any time period could occasionally sound pretty dreadful, and this was the case moreso in the post-1975 period as Jon Stebbins referred to. But this generally had little to do with Dennis' drumming or Al's guitar playing. Dennis often had a second drummer in later years, and when he didn't have a second drummer, that meant he was on his game. Al's guitar playing, which is actualy quite solid, was never a big part of the mix (and I'm talking literally about the sound mix), nor was Bruce's keyboard. Carl was always solid on his few lead guitar spots. By the time they had a significant live backing band by the early 70's, the BB's could never bring a show down themselves based on their musicianship. The main thing the actual official BB's brought to the shows was their vocals, and this is what they often succeeded and failed on.

The BB's are about vocals and the songs, while Stevie Ray Vaughn and those of his ilk are much more about the musicianship; the virtuoso nature of one player. To me, I'd much rather hear a good *song* without any virtuoso musicianship as opposed to some flaming guitar playing with mediocre or repetitive song material. In terms of Stevie Ray Vaught specifically, for someone who isn't a fan of his, I've ended up hearing and watching him quite a bit because a friend of mine is a big fan of his. He was a great guitar player, but I just could never enjoy a full set of his music. It's too much 12-bar blues stuff with busy guitar playing all over it.

Anybody who listens to live recordings or goes to live shows primarily to hear a live act whose main showcase is musicianship more than the actual song material or group vocals, is going to be disappointed by most live BB material.
9957  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Is this for real?! on: May 29, 2006, 03:39:32 AM
Van Dyke Parks is overrated, for sure, but "columnated ruins domino" is the best lyric I can think of to fit that part of the song. Better than something like, "Don't you sweet baby I love you so" or "I popped the clutch in time and man I flew". The music of Surf's Up is not fit for the lyrics of I Get Around.

I think it was Elvis Costello who said (in the "Endless Harmony" documentary, I believe) that the words to "Surf's Up" sound good when they are sung. In other words, the alliteration and how the sounds of the words go together, as opposed to what the words mean or what they can be interpreted to mean. This is how I feel about most of VDP's lyrics. I'm not terribly interesting in dissecting potential meanings, but most of his words on those BB songs sound good when sung.
9958  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson 'Les Chan' (on the 'Cocaine Sessions' CD) on: May 29, 2006, 03:34:42 AM
I think I've heard of (but have never heard) this recording. Is there any music on it, or just talking with Brian?
9959  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Does the on stage talent level of the BB's piss you off? on: May 29, 2006, 03:34:12 AM
Quote from: Sheriff John Stone


This is how I rank the Beach Boys' drummers:

1. Hal Blaine
2. Jim Gordon
3. Ricky Fataar
4. Bobby Figueroa
5. Mike Kowalski
6. Dennis Wilson


I would rate Mike Kowalski at the bottom of that list. Not only is he by far the worst drummer I've ever heard play with the BB's, he's the worst live drummer I've ever heard playing with even a half-way successful or notable band. Interestingly, the examples of Kowalski's drumming during his first stint with the live group in the late 60's/early 70's sounds pretty decent. But when he returned in 1982 or 83, and since that time, his drumming has been awful almost uniformly. He drops beats, often sounds awkward in general, and sounds stiff overall. On *some* of the BB stuff, it's pretty easy to just do a basic 4/4 thing and make it sound decent, but Kowalski has often managed to make even that sound pretty subpar.

Since we're talking live shows here primarily, I don't think it works to even rate the studio drummers like Blaine against the live drummers. As far as live drummers, I'd say Fataar and Figueroa were somewhat comparable (they even played together for a time, as did Figueroa and Kowalski), and Dennis at his worst was still somewhat better than Kowalski. Dennis at his best was, in my mind, pretty darn decent. Listen even to shows from 1980 when he was starting to really go downhill, and he still pulls it off pretty well.
9960  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Is this for real?! on: May 28, 2006, 08:40:18 AM
There's another interview from that time, maybe it's the same, where Bruce says really awful things about "Smile" and not the nicest things about Brian, if I remember correctly

I'd like to read that. I never thought Bruce to have a sour bone in his body.

I don't know about that interview, but I remember that a few years ago when Bruce started appearing on the Beach Boys Britain message board, he made some comments, particularly about Brian, that I found to be pretty insulting. He called Brian's band something along the lines of a "tribute band", and I think this was also around the same time that he referred to attempts to release archival BB material as "bottomfeeding."

Interestingly, it seemed to me that when the fans weren't responding very postively to some of Bruce's comments, particularly when it came to Brian's band, it wasn't long before Bruce was all of a sudden posting about how great Brian's touring was and how he recommended every fan to go see Brian's show, etc.

Certainly Bruce is not always postive and glowing. Just read his commonly cited quote about the "Surf's Up" album! "A big, hyped up lie!"
9961  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al as a guitarist. on: May 26, 2006, 02:13:50 AM
A few thoughts:

Regarding Al's guitar skills, for a long time I assumed he was a solid rhythm guitarist and never intended or wanted to be a flashy lead guitarist. I still believe this is true, but last year when I saw Al perform (at a charity show with Stevie Heger's band), it really blew my mind that Al was actually playing some of the lead parts on stuff like "Sail on Sailor", "409", and "Fun Fun Fun", and he sounded pretty good! I had always heard people say Al sometimes didn't even turn his guitar up or didn't have it mixed up during some songs at BB shows, and maybe that was true, but at this show I was able to not only hear his leads, but his impressive rhythm guitar playing ability. Certainly he's not a virtuoso, but he's a much better guitarist than I had previously believed.

I remember reading an interview once where Eric Clapton said that George Harrison could have been as great of a gutiarist as Clapton or Hendrix or any other hot shots if Harrison had really wanted to. While some may believe this is somewhat of a stretch, I do believe that people that are so inherently talented and musical in any different number of ways, be it Harrison or Al Jardine, have the inherent ability to become much better at a number of musical pursuits if they ever care to. Harrison wasn't interested in being better than Clapton, and certainly Al Jardine was never concerned about even being the best guitarist in the Beach Boys, let alone be compared to anybody else. But I think someone like Al Jardine has the inherent musical gift that means he could have been a more impressive guitarist if he had wanted to.

Regarding David Marks, I'll wait until Jon Stebbins' book before I even begin to pick apart Marks' input on actual BB recordings, because I'm sure there is a lot of new information to clear up about that. But my sense about Marks has always been that he may be a great guitarist, but even in his latter-day stint with the touring BB's, he never got much of a chance to show this. I've seen the video of the show Marks did with the then in-limbo "Beach Boys" in May 1998 (the show where Al is gone, but Matt Jardine is still there), and it seems like apart from a few solo spots doing the solo bits Carl had used to in concert, Marks wasn't doing much in the show. I don't think it had anything to do with his ability. Maybe it had more to do with having another "official" Beach Boy to add to the band. I believe David Marks alluded to this in inteviews a few years ago. But this is probably another area than Jon's upcoming book will get into, which is a part of the story I'm particularly interested in reading.

Regarding difficulty of playing Beach Boys songs on guitar, I think a lot of their stuff is rather difficult. One reason for this is that many of the songs seem to be in a non-guitar-player-friendly key (not surprising considering the liklihood that Brian wrote most of the stuff on piano). If you want to play some of their stuff in the original key, you can't get away with only knowing all the easy open chords. I remember when I first started to learn guitar, I got a hold of a BB music book, and even on seemingly simpler songs without a ton of different chords, it was difficult to play some of the stuff because it wasn't in an easy key like A major or something. And in addition, there are songs like "This Whole World" that would be difficult in any key, with like 57 different chords. I recall that in that "hotel room" video that's been around for years from 1990 with Brian, Bruce, Stamos, and Foskett, Bruce mentions to Brian that the touring BB's can't regularly perform "This Whole World" because there are too many chords. (The touring BB's performed the song on some of the 1988 tour and performed it pretty well, if lacking some of the nuance of the original recording.)
9962  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Good Vibrations 40th Anniversary CD Due June 27th? on: May 23, 2006, 12:17:22 AM
Amazon.com  has a "Good Vibrations 40th An ed." listed as due out on June 27th. It's listed as having an $8.99 list price. Since this price seems to be higher than a domestic CD single would be, yet cheaper than a full-length CD, I suppose this could be some sort of a "maxi single" or EP or something with several versions of the song perhaps.

Honestly, I'm pretty confused about what is or isn't coming out this year or what was or wasn't planned. There was a "Warmth of the Sun" CD which has apparently been postponed, the contents of which nobody is sure of. Most believe that one was going to be another hits compilation, perhaps a "Sounds of Summer 2" sort of thing.

There has also been talk of 40th anniversary releases for both "Pet Sounds" and "Good Vibrations", although what form such releases might take is unknown, nor is it even known if any such releases might take place at all.

Can Alan Boyd or anybody discuss this "Good Vibrations" release coming up, if it indeed is actually even coming up?
9963  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Flame/Spring on: May 19, 2006, 11:03:15 PM
I have the UK issue of the Spring album on "See For Miles Records", and it should be noted that this version of the CD uses the UK billing, "American Spring", so perhaps it might help track down that version if you search for that version of the name.
9964  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The last Greatest Hits comp you'll ever need on: May 19, 2006, 11:00:52 PM
I made this compilation a few years ago and have found it to be a great disc to hand out to friends.  All tracks are sourced from GH1, GH2 and GH3:BotBY.

As good as "Sounds of Summer" is, this is the one disc that I wish they'd release as the ultimate greatest hits comp.  Great for cranking up in the car, windows down, and goin for a nice cruise.

Best Vibrations: Their All-Time Greatest Hits
===============================
01) Surfin Safari
02) Surfin USA
03) Shut Down
04) Surfer Girl
05) Little Duece Coupe
06) Be True To Your School
07) In My Room
08) Fun, Fun, Fun
09) I Get Around
10) Don't Worry Baby
11) When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
12) Dance Dance Dance
13) Do You Wanna Dance?
14) Help Me, Rhonda
15) California Girls
16) The Little Girl I Once Knew
17) Barbara Ann
18) Caroline No
19) Sloop John B
20) Wouldn't It Be Nice
21) God Only Knows
22) Good Vibrations
23) Heroes and Villains
24) Wild Honey
25) Darlin
26) Do It Again
27) I Can Hear Music
28) Rock and Roll Music
29) It's OK
30) Come Go With Me
31) Getcha Back
32) Kokomo

One of these days I'll get around to making a Volume 2.....

I can't argue that these are all great songs, but this track lineup is pretty darn close to "Sounds of Summer." By my quick and hopefully correct count, it simply excludes "Good Timin'" and replaces it with "The Little Girl I Once Knew", "Caroline, No" and "It's OK." Like I said, all great songs that I can't argue with, but your formula for track inclusions is pretty similar to the one they used for "Sounds of Summer"; you simply have added a few more songs and made one different decision. I can't argue with the inclusion of "The Little Girl..." and "Caroline, No", although I would prefer "Good Timin'" to "It's OK."

I do appreciate that your track lineup is chronological. "Sounds of Summer" has a really odd order of songs. Clearly, they've chosen to pack the front of the CD with some of the most well-known early hits and lead off with "California Girls." It also appears they grouped most of the cover versions together with "Come Go With Me", "R&R Music", "Barbara Ann", and "Do You Wanna Dance", although they stuck "Dance Dance Dance" in the middle of those for some reason. I haven't a clue why "Getcha Back" is in between "WIBN" and "Come Go With Me." It also appears that they stuck most of Carl's lead vocals at the end of disc, and I don't know whether that is simply a track programming decision, some potential slight to Carl, or a tribute to Carl showcasing his lead vocals as the grand finale. 
9965  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: BW's work on MIU-LA-KTSA on: May 19, 2006, 10:48:51 PM
As I understand it, every copy of "Our Team" floating around looks pretty crummy overall. Certainly there are watchable copies floating around, but it sure seems like whatever copy leaked out years ago already looked iffy, and then since then it's been copied a million times on VHS. Since the BB's produced the documentary themselves (or I imagine I should say they contracted some company to make it), I would imagine the BB's have the master in the Brother vaults, although I'm sure Alan Boyd would be able to answer whether this is the case or not.

What is strange about the documentary is that it presumably was made to air on TV to promote the album, yet there are at least two songs prominently featured in the documentary ("Mike Come Back to L.A." and "Our Team") that were not even put on the album. So even if the thing had aired, people might have bought the album only to find out that those two songs aren't even on the album!

They did a similar thing with the Rolling Stone "Going Platinum" special featuring the making of KTSA when they showcased "Goin' To the Beach." But at least in that instance, they clearly discuss that the song was dropped from consideration. Presumably, they are showing this as part of the "process" of recording; songs are often dropped at various points.
9966  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Still selling..... on: May 19, 2006, 10:42:01 PM
I think the rule now for Billboard is that after two years, and album can no longer appear on the pop chart and moves to the "catalog" chart. "Sounds of Summer" was released in 2003, so it belongs in the catalog chart.

Years ago, an album stayed on the pop chart as long as it sold well enough to be in the top 200, thus the famous instances of things like "Dark Side of the Moon" being "on the charts" for like 10,000 weeks or however long that was.
9967  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: May 16, 2006, 10:49:50 PM

Brian's track is somewhat disappointing. I thought I would enjoy it more. Comparisons to the 27 prior versions of the song are inevitable. In that sense, the biggest problem with the new version is that the key has been lowered noticeably, which right off the bat makes the song sound less energetic.

I think it sounds about a whole step lower. Noticeable, yes, but I don't think that makes any issues be the fault of the key.

Certainly, the fact that the key is changed or a whole octave change is only noticeable when compared to previous versions. I don't mean to say that the actual key makes it better or worse, as if the key of A is better than C irrespective of how that affects how the singer sings it, etc. Clearly, the key/octave was changed because Brian couldn't sing it in its original form. So it is in that sense that the song ends up having less energy, because Brian is singing it about a whole octave lower. I'm not saying he should have strained to hit notes he couldn't hit, though.

I think just hearing hearing the new version for the first time was a sort of off-putting at first in the same way as when I first head Brian and his band do "Wouldn't It Be Nice" or "Don't Talk" dropped down, and a few other songs.

Question for Alan Boyd if he's reading: What other sorts of songs did Al play for the Hallmark people? I don't know how much info you could divulge about these recordings, but were they finished, new, completely solo Al recordings? Is Al going to give us a solo album ever? For that matter, can you talk at all about how the Hallmark CD came about and how the track selection and concept came about? I'd be interested to know how it was decided to use 1989 live tracks, for instance. Was there any thought given to making some Brother-era outtakes the "new" studio tracks? Or perhaps offering each of the BB's a chance to provide a new, solo track was a way to motivate them to be involved and supportive of the CD. It sounds like Hallmark had rather strong control over the tracklisting. I imagine they were looking for a mainstream thing to offer, so I would guess a CD full of "Holland" outtakes or something wasn't ever going to fly! Smiley
9968  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: May 16, 2006, 01:01:02 AM
I've got the CD and finally gave it a listen. The first thing I've noticed is that I can't really hear Brian on the '89 tracks. Are we sure he's actually on these tracks?

Come to think of it, if these '89 tracks are taken from the Univeral show that is shown in segments on the syndicated "Endless Summer" TV show, then I'm pretty sure Brian can't be on most or perhaps any of these tracks. I'm almost positive, for instance, that the "Endless Summer" TV show showed the Universal Amphitheater performance of "Kokomo", and Brian was not on stage during that song as I recall. This seems to be supported by the fact that I don't really hear Brian on the CD either. There is a high, slightly nasal voice, but that sounds more like Jeff Foskett in the harmonies, not Brian. (You can hear what Brian sounds like on "Kokomo" by watching that dreadful episode of "Full House" that the band did together).

As I recall, while there were other bits of the group with Brian shown during the "Endless Summer" show (the fireside bits, a few "Club Kokomo" performances), I don't think any live tracks featured from the Universal show featured both the group and Brian. There were a bunch of group performances, and a couple of Brian solo without the other BB's.

Interestingly, I recall other shows from '89 when Brian would come on stage for a few songs with the group and then do a few solo songs, and I recall that Brian joined them for "Surfer Girl" and sang the bridge. On the new CD, the '89 live version of "Surfer Girl" has Al singing the bridge, which I would think indicates Brian was not on stage during that song.

Some folks have mentioned that some of the live tracks sound almost too polished. I would imagine it is possible some post-production work was done on the '89 live tracks back in '89 for the "Endless Summer" TV show. The BB's have often done this for TV specials and the like. It sounds more or less like live stuff I've heard from the time period, so I don't think there are any drastic alterations. Mike's lead vocal on "Dance Dance Dance" sounds a bit too polished and up front, like it could have been re-recorded in the studio back then, but I'm just guessing on that. If there is any post-production work on these songs, it isn't much, and almost surely any work that would have been done would have happened back in 1989 when they were prepping these live tracks for that TV show. The only thing that was done in 2005/06 was to mix the stuff I'm sure.

The '74 tracks are blended in quite well with the '89 tracks, and I would imagine most casual fans who pick this up would never know that they are taken from shows 15 years apart. It particular, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" sounds like the drums have been mixed to sound as close to the '89 tracks as possible. Maybe that's just how the drums came out on that '74 show, but it usually seems like live stuff from back then had the drums sounding a bit less echoey and snappy and a little more dry and thick. All of the live tracks are a bit wet/echoey, a bit more than my personal tastes dictate (I'm probably in the minority in that I actually enjoy rather dry, up front, up close-sounding mixes for live stuff, which some say totally negates the whole live/ambient sound of live recordings), particularly the '74 stuff, but it all sounds really great from a sound quality point of view. Certainly, this is evidence of the huge amount of live material that the BB's could release.

As for the solo tracks, I was a bit shocked originally that the Al solo track was "PT Cruiser", given that the song isn't really "new", and while it's neat for what it is, it isn't the most substantial thing Al could have included. But given the explanation that Hallmark chose it, I can apparently safely remove any blame from Al's shoulders (other than perhaps to suggest he shouldn't have offered it up as a possibility, but I don't think that is a very fair criticism). The track sounds good from a recording standpoint; it sounds very warm, and Al's lead vocal is excellent. His voice has held up amazingly well. Too bad the song is such a novelty sort of a thing.

The Mike track is not bad at all, probably better than anything I've ever heard released under his solo name. The backing vocals, especially the intro vocals, have a bit of that really sharp, yet sterile, Beach Boys copycat-ish sound heard on other stuff from the past like the Adrian Baker-produced tracks or "Looking Back With Love." But the song itself is catchy, quite reminiscent of the more catchy stuff on "Summer in Paradise", yet with much more laid-back, organic sounding production than what was heard on "Summer in Paradise." I'm not big on sax solos; unless they are done in certain styles in certain circumstances, they otherwise always make songs sound to me like an overblown 80's ballad, so I think the song could have done without that. But that's just my lack of preferences for saxophones in general.   

Brian's track is somewhat disappointing. I thought I would enjoy it more. Comparisons to the 27 prior versions of the song are inevitable. In that sense, the biggest problem with the new version is that the key has been lowered noticeably, which right off the bat makes the song sound less energetic. The whole production seems a bit lethargic. The mix is way too wet/echoey, which is something I've noticed with a lot of Brian's recent productions (including another one-off compilaton re-recording, "California Feeling"). The near Spector-ish ambience at times makes the song lack a bit of crispness which is heard on the other two solo tracks. The arrangement itself is not too dissimilar to previous versions, although I don't like the altered drum beat added under the first line of the verses. Brian's lead sounds a bit lethargic as well. The rest of the backing vocals aren't bad. The a capella ending redeems the song a bit. I could do without the saxophone solo, although in fairness I can't say I would have wanted to hear the over-the-top 80's sounding electric lead guitar heard on some of the old versions either.

I certainly hope this CD is a sign of more CD releases through the new website, or by whatever means. If Alan Boyd can talk about the website at all, I'd like to know if the possibility of archival material being presented on the website would only be confined to downloads. I'm not big on downloading (more than anything because I'm still on dialup!); I'd rather get the stuff on CD, so I'm hoping that whatever might be offered on the website would be offered on CD. The website doesn't say anything about downloads, I've just heard a few fans mention this as if it was common knowledge that the website was going to be all about downloads. Of course, I'm sure I'm getting away ahead of the whole website project, which I'm sure is still being worked out.
9969  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: May 07, 2006, 11:22:20 PM
I tried looking around for this CD at several of the local Hallmark shops in my area (Kennesaw, GA) and could not find it.  I asked several of the employees there about it and they said it would probably be out after Mother's Day is over.  Anyone in the Atlanta area find this CD?

Keep in mind that the CD's release date is supposed to be May 15. So there supposedly shouldn't be any copies being sold anywhere. So there's nothing wrong with stores that aren't selling it. It's really just a case of some stores screwing up and putting it out early (I'm assuming they aren't doing it on purpose), which of course is a plus for fans. I've called at least 7 or 8 stores within a reasonable driving distance, and none of them have it. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I've been surprised to see that many of the stores are on the ball in the sense that they seem aware of the CD and many of the stores specifically knew about the May 15th release date. Of course, I wish they would have broken the release date, but it's at least good to know that I won't go into the store on May 15th only to find that they have no idea what I'm talking about when I ask about the CD.

There are tons of copies up on EBay. By the time I found the copies on EBay, I've passed figuring that by the time I put in a bid, pay, and wait for it be shipped and arrive, it will probably be on or after May 15th. I start to get pretty motivated to hear this CD, but then I remember that we're not talking about an Endless Harmony-style archival package. It's still a neat little release, but I certainly hope the new website has some even more interesting material to buy on CD and/or DVD.
9970  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys MK 1...how'd they perform? on: April 28, 2006, 11:29:58 PM
The yearbook page of photos I discussed above is posted at this address:

http://www.geocities.com/beachboysopinionpage/bblive64.html

This is a scan of a photocopy of the yearbook page. The quality isn't super, but you can definitely make out what's going on.

I should note that these photos aren't total proof that it was a four-piece band performing. In fact, there is another microphone in place where Brian's would normally be, and it seems to be in a taller position as his would be. But I still think Brian is likely not at the show. First of all, he isn't seen in any of the pictures. I would think they would have ended up getting Brian in at least one of these pics if he was at the show. Secondly, Al is playing bass. Would Al have ever played bass at a show in early 1964 if Brian was also at the show? I suppose Brian could have been off to the side playing piano or something, thus neccesitating Al playing bass and explaining why Brian isn't in any shots. But this doesn't seem very likely.

My guess would be that perhaps Brian's absence occured at the last second at this show. Thus, they had it setup for him to play with them, but then went on without him.

In short, I'm about 95% sure that this is a four-piece band without Brian. I'm also pretty sure that at some point they were either expecting Brian to show up, or at least had a mic set up incase he showed up. It's kind of weird that Al and Carl are sharing a mic when there's another one available. Who knows. I got this yearbook page from somebody who was at this show, but that person is not with us anymore, so I can't ask if they remember whether Brian was there or not.

In any event, we definitely can see that Al is playing bass in these pics.
9971  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: April 28, 2006, 07:49:54 PM
Thanks for posting the scans. A couple of interesting things I've noted on the artwork:

It does indeed state that all 9 live tracks are from the Universal Amphitheatre. So, either that listing omits the info on the two 1974 recordings, or perhaps the 1974 recordings were also performed at the same venue. Dates would have been nice, but somehow we have the dates anyway based on early reports.

It appears that Brian thanks "The Beach Boys" underneath his solo track (and also dedicates the track to Carl and Dennis). This certainly isn't any sort of hard evidence of a pending BB's reunion or anything. But I recall that recent releases from Brian have often been dedicated to Carl and Dennis but have not mentioned the Beach Boys. It just seems like sort of a weird thank you, considering that the track in question was, apart from the Hawaii anniversary show performance in which they tacked on a few BB's to a solo recording, intended way back when as a solo track.

The mention of the upcoming website that will hopefully offer some substantial things for fans does now give a better context for this Hallmark CD. It seems like it could be a sort of "sampler" to offer both to the fans and perhaps the BB's themselves to show what sort of archival releases are possible in the future. Hopefully future archival releases would be more substantial than this Hallmark CD, but it seems to bode well for possible future releases.

I don't see a Brother Records logo on the back cover, which is a bit surprising. Brother of course is mentioned in the booklet.

I think the overall design of the CD is pretty good. It's way more subdued than I thought it would be. I thought the artwork would just look like another one of those BB compilations you see in drug stores and gas stations, but this artwork is pretty understated and tasteful, within the confines of still having to show surfboards, woodies, etc. Plus, I like orange for some reason, which is probably why I didn't think the original CD artwork for "Endless Harmony" was as bad as most people thought! Smiley

Too bad none of my local Hallmarks are breaking the release date. I'd ask somebody to pick a copy up for me, but by the time I got it all sorted out, it wouldn't be too long before I could go get it myself (assuming the Hallmarks near me don't screw up and not put the CD out at all!).
9972  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: April 27, 2006, 08:21:46 PM
Is anybody willing and/or able to post a picture of the front cover (and/or the back cover or any other artwork from the CD)? Or, at least a description of it? I'm mildly curious as to what the CD looks like.
9973  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: April 27, 2006, 07:16:47 PM
If I remember the early word on this CD, the '89 and '74 tracks were going to be mixed together (with five songs from '89 and two from '74). One way to tell if there are any '74 tracks: Is Al singing the lead on "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" If so, it's probably not from 1989, as Carl had taken over the lead on that by '89. (Although, I've heard shows from the 1988-89 timeframe in which the band kind of can't decide who is singing lead. I've heard a show from 1988 that features Al, Carl, and Jeff Foskett all singing the lead in unison for some reason; even Mike comes in well before the bridge and is singing too. Really weird.)

As for how your Hallmark store is selling the CD, I doubt there's any big mystery behind it. The store probably just put it out before they were supposed to. Most of the stores probably already have the CD's in stock, they're just waiting to put them out for sale on May 15.
9974  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys MK 1...how'd they perform? on: April 27, 2006, 07:11:36 PM
Thanks for answering my questions, Jon. Here's a totally loaded question: *If* Al wanted you to do an authorized biography, do you think you'd do it? On the one hand, he perhaps doesn't have some of the mystique or interest that Dennis or David Marks have. At the same time, he was there for the entire time and he's probably the only person who was always there and is still lucid and willing to recount everything that happened.

One other question related to early BB touring lineups: I'm sorry if I've missed mention of this elsewhere, but when was David Marks' last show with the BB's (during the 60's of course, not his stint in the late 90's)? If this is info you're saving for people to see in the new book, I understand. The reason I ask is because I just came across an old photocopy of a page from a local high school yearbook (from Cupertino, CA to be exact). I've had this for years, but just recently looked at it again. It features pictures of a show the BB's did at this high school. The date is February 28th (and while I don't have a year listed on this page, it has to be 1964), and the pictures show a four-piece BB lineup of only Mike, Dennis, Carl, and Al. Carl is playing his Jaguar, and Al is playing bass.

How often did the post-Marks BB's perform with Al and without Brian or any other replacement? For some reason, I've had it in my mind that the BB's were always a five piece one way or the other apart from one-off instances. I've always thought it was Dennis, Carl, and Mike plus David and Brian, or Al and David, or Al and Brian, or then Al and Glen Campbell or Bruce by 1965, etc. I'm sure I've read over the years that there were times in the post-Marks era that Brian missed shows so that the BB's went on as a four-piece. I guess I just never thought it was that common. The show I'm looking at was probably some little promotional thing. Certainly a high school show was something Brian could have missed as it wasn't a high profile event. Brian was playing with them less than a month later in what was later released as "The Lost Concert." Has David Marks mentioned to you a lot of instances of playing local high schools all around the country? I would think it would have been easy for the BB's to play high schools in the southern California area, but I didn't know they did a lot of that in other areas.

Anyway, this was just something that struck me all of a sudden recently. In the past, I've never been especially interested in the formative years of the BB's (perhaps having things like the Gaines books in years past meant for better or worse that it was easier to learn about the sordid 70's era), but the annoucement of your David Marks book has certainly led me to find a great deal more interest in the formative years.

(By the way, if anybody is interested, I can post a scan of this yearbook page. It's only noteworthy because it shows a four-piece lineup, and Al playing bass. Otherwise, the pics and bit of text are right out of the "Concert" album type of thing.)
9975  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Hallmark Beach Boys CD "Songs From Here And Back" on: April 27, 2006, 05:07:25 PM
I just thought I'd mention that it doesn't appear that this early release is planned by Hallmark. It sounds like one store (and no doubt a few) have simply messed up and put the CD out early. I've just called four different local Hallmark stores and none of them have it out yet. Interestingly considering how clueless retailers can sometimes be, most of the Hallmark stores I called were quite aware of the BB CD, and were quick to mention that it is due in May (15th to be exact, although one store mentioned they might get it early, just not this early).
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