Posted: 06 Aug 2008 06:00 AM CDT
Posted: 06 Aug 2008 04:33 AM CDT
You know how some albums take a while to grow on you? At first they seem like nothing special, then gradually you are hooked into them? Well, the exact opposite happened to me on 15 Big Ones. At first I thought it was, well, not brilliant, but OK, and now, a few months down the road, I can only listen to about six of the songs on it.
It's for that reason I'm refraining from voting on MIU and LA until they sink in a bit, as I've only heard them once(though I'd heard some of the songs off LA before.)
At first listen, I kind of like MIU. I love the sound of it--I think it's the best-sounding Beach Boys album post Holland. The songs are pleasant and likeable as well, my least favorites being the covers. Like I said, I might revise my opinion, but for now I quite like it. Nothing blows me away, but it's nice. Frickin' hate the cover, though.
Posted: 06 Aug 2008 02:41 AM CDT
Posted: 06 Aug 2008 12:06 AM CDT
Posted: 06 Aug 2008 12:04 AM CDT
"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?
Posted: 06 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 11:52 PM CDT
I think the both the audio and video are great. Really good. I'm no "Brian can do no wrong" blueboarder, but this bodes very well for the album. I'm not really interested in the debate on how "live" this is (might be a comp or perhaps just the album version of the song with synched video) and I will leave this to others. Not many live videos are 100% live and most go through a fair amount of post production anyway.
But isn't this recording of the song MUCH, MUCH better than the demo? I sure think so. I am getting more and more excited about this release.
I agree with some others who have mentioned a bit of disappointment with the album version of MAD versus the demo. I will reserve final judgement until I get the pristine sounding version in my sweaty palms, but from what I have heard of the album version of MAD I concure that the vocal swell that comes at "makes me feel so alone" doesn't touch the demo. In the demo version it almost sounds as if the vocals are going to burst through the speakers and very desperate. Gorgeous moment. That moment is not nearly as rewarding on the album version. But that doesn't mean the album version is without it merits. I love the strings and some of the other touches in the album version quite a bit more than the demo. At least I already have a high fidelity cd copy of the MAD demo, so all is cool.
This new version of FSBMSG is heads and shoulders better than the demo. If this is an indicator of quality control, I suspect I will enjoy most of the album versions of the TLOS much better than the demos (and I quite like the demos). Bring it on!
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 11:47 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 11:47 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 10:24 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 09:33 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 09:15 PM CDT
Forgot to mention that at the end of Brian's trip #2 he somehow manages to get in his car & drive.
This works well disguised as the "truck driving man" in the "vast past" (as Brian went back in time in trip #2), "the last gasp" (as Brian ego-died in trip #2), "catchin' onto the truth" (via LSD),"catch as catch can" (as Brian drove to Marilyn's house & tried to embrace her sister).
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 09:12 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 09:07 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 08:30 PM CDT
Brian & Van Dyke aren't going to admit to what they were up to!!! That's not what SMiLE was about...you don't present the purposely unexplained mystery (in much the same fashion as the unexplained mystery was personally presented to BW in late 66) and then explain it. Brian didn't explain it to the Beach Boys, Anderle or any of the Vosse posse, or to his wife, or to the press, or in liner notes, or to Todd Gold. That's why nobody can tell you what SMiLE is about. They can't explain it even though they were closest to it (and that's the ultimate point of the original post of this thread).
Glad you mentioned "Cabinessence." Once again we have the "fire" stuff from Brian's #2 trip with the "fire mellow" and "light the camp." But this time instead of the fire engines from #2 trip were get the "Iron Horse" (since we're at Lake Arrowhead were, in the vast past, the train helped build the dam). Maybe the train is as red as a fire engine a la the train Brian & the Beach Boys posed on with BW dressed in psychedelic red (seen on the "Sloop John B" sheet music (I seem to recall).
The "timely hello" line matches the description of his first trip as in his bio. Brian mentions there being something sacred about the "hello" that greets one prior to dropping acid.
So the train in "Cabinessence" is also a metaphor for the fire engines of trip #2. The "who ran the iron?" backing lyric heard on some bootlegs implies "heat" as does "home on the range" as in stove. Actually you can see this in Frank Holmes' depiction for "Cabinessence." There's a big "range" in the picture.
Phillip Lambert, in his book on Bri's music, musically links the "home on the range music" and "Mrs' O'Leary's Cow"(which is yet another fire reference).
So as you can see by this post & my prior one that I'm linking both "Heroes & Villains" and "Cabinessence" as well as "Mrs.O'Leary's Cow" to Brian's second trip. It is, at this point, interesting to note Steven Desper's claim that "'Heroes & Villains' and 'Fire' are mystically related in Brian's mind" (this claim can be found VIA Priore in the revised LLVS).
Here's another one.....Dennis Wilson was present at the writing of "Surf's Up" (see "bio" and/or talk to Mr. Stebbins about this) and Dennis further inspires the rivalry between the BB camp & the British Invasion. So I think that the epic warlike images in "Surf's Up" have, on some level, something to do with this.
Also Dennis' presence may have inspired the "hand in hand line" as Brian & the BBs join forces, "some drummed along" is a 'drummer' reference, and "to a handsome man & baton" is Dennis (the sex symbol of the group) with his drumstick!!!
"Are you sleeping Brother John?" is the "I'm Only Sleeping" Lennon being asked if he's going to be caught sleeping, as the BBs have a proper answer for this Invasion stuff!!! Also of course "I'm Only Sleeping" is a cool LSD song. Folks typically only tend to pick up on the "Frere Jacques" reference.
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 08:09 PM CDT
1. Were The Band fair, good, or great musicians?
Great, without a doubt. Check out the first disc to the A Musical History Boxset to hear how they got their chops playing R&B in merdaty little clubs as different variations of The Hawks for over a decade. Their cover of "Honky Tonk" to me sounds better than anything they recorded later as The Band, and is worth the price of the steep admission alone. They could play a groove like know one else, and at least early on (for the first two albums) everything that went in instrumentally always supported the concept of songcraft. Watch the great Rhino documentary on the making of The Band to hear George Harrison explain just this. Seeing that video is what caused me to really dig deeper into the group's albums (Music From The Big Pink is phenomenal, but can be a very oblique listen), and go on a serious kick that lasted over a year. The greatest musician? It depends on your definition - but for pure chops, diversity, and musicality look no further than the group's "musical instructor", classically trained Garth "Honeyboy" Hudson. And that's not even mentioning that they had three distinct, incredible lead vocalists.
2. What is the real reason they broke up in 1976?
Hard to say. The Band had some serious internal problems post "Stage Fright". Richard Manuel basically spun further and further down into depression and drugs - and basically stopped writing songs. For one of his last true gems check out the sublime "Sleeping" from that lp. Everyone kinda got bogged down in the trappings of instant fame and success - and none of them handled it very well, although they all reacted differently. Robbie took the lion's share of the songwriting credits, and thus, the lion's share of the royalties. This is still hotly disputed today, and it's a sticky situation to wade through. Robbie definitely had some sort of overall vision going on, but one can't deny that he took direct influence from his American band mate Levon (think Kerouac writing about Neal Cassidy) - not to mention that he could have never pulled off his visions without the strength of this incredible ensemble behind him. In the case of this group, the sum without a doubt outweighed its parts. This really sowed some seeds of bitterness, mostly betwixt Robbie and Levon. Throw in some really belligerent behavior and you have a recipe for disaster. In the end I think Robbie just had enough, wanted to move on to things he was in more control of, and didn't want to stick around to see Richard finally self-destruct.
3. Why didn't the solo members have any commercial success? Or did they?
One could argue that both Robbie and Levon did. Robbie had mild solo success in the 80's as an artist and a producer. Robbie is currently the head of Dreamwork's music division. Levon has garnered a lot of acclaim in recent years, and I highly recommend his last album "Dirt Farmer". If you ever get the opportunity to see him at one of his intimate Midnight Rambles upstate I say run, don't walk.
Interesting sidenote for Beach Boys fans: In the eighties Blondie Chaplin replaced Robertson as the Band's lead guitarist on the road. He played in his own fluid style, much in contrast to Robertson's restraint. There's a tape floating about of him, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel performing "Sail On Sailor" live to a bunch of college kids that's pretty damn special.
4. I read/hear so many musicians from that era praise The Band. Why?
Buy the first two albums and listen, listen, listen. They are amongst the best marriages of lyrics/message/instrumentation/vocals out there. This is the reason why their version of "Tears Of Rage" is definitive - not Dylan's.
5. I know Ricard Manuel and Rick Danko had substance abuse problems; what about the others?
It's said the Levon really liked downers, and crashed some cars and assaulted some police of his own. His ex-girlfriend and ex-woodstock scenester Libby Titus also accuses them of all being serious heroin users at one point. Robbie Robertson during the Last Waltz period allegedly left his wife to hole up with fellow bachelor Marty Scorsese, where they preceded to board up the window's of the latter's mansion and go on a year's cocaine binge. Garth is the only one who seems to have been on the level in regards to substance abuse.
6. Why is The Last Waltz so great? I watch it everytime it's on TV.
It's like watching some sort of crazy train wreck, or eating a cake that's too rich. It's indulgent, and largely an unfair representation of Rick, Richard, and Garth - who are often quoted as looking like escaped extras from "Deliverance". Richard by far got the worst of it, and you can't completely blame Robertson or Scorsese for his portrayal... but for those who remembered Richard "The Beak" clean shaven and handsome, charismatic and refusing movie roles in the late sixties have a really hard time viewing this footage.
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 08:00 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 07:47 PM CDT
Yep, he has official MySpace and Facebook pages now. Those savvy Capitol marketing people no doubt.
the facebook page has more pics from the session:
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 07:42 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 07:37 PM CDT
Well, they're all the real Brian, more or less. They just show off different aspects of his characterI wouldn't quite say it like that, but close. I'd say they are different pieces of work. Work is work. He's not putting out one album over and over. Like anyone, he has different ideas over time. Like anyone, he has different outside influences over time. "The real Brian" (or the real anyone) is the end result of all that, internal and external.
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 07:35 PM CDT
Luther: True enough. But when you look at something like GIOMH and see it released on Rhino -- that's because Brian and his people made a two-record deal with Warner's (Smile being the other one). So the contract was with one company, but the albums were split between labels. It's the same thing with Elvis Costello and the bizarre recent contracts he's signed in which whatever he records can come out on whatever Universal label is appropriate.Not quite the same thing, in that Costello's is a long-term plan (admittedly an odd one). Wilson's albums may have all come out on Warners subsidiaries, but they weren't pre-planned that way as part of a long-term package. As you said, there was one such instance of a two-album deal. Not the same. And in between each deal, he's been shopping. It's largely coincidental, I'd guess, that each time he ended up on a Warners sub.
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 07:33 PM CDT
Luther: Touche. But when you look at something like GIOMH and see it released on Rhino -- that's because Brian and his people made a two-record deal with Warner's (Smile being the other one, and which came out on Nonesuch). So the contract was with one company, but the albums were split between labels. It's just not true to imply that because they're on two labels that he signed with one, then was dropped, then signed with the other -- which is what a statement like Andrew's can imply.
It's the same deal with Elvis Costello and the bizarre recent contracts he's signed in which whatever he records can come out on whatever Universal label is appropriate. Lost Highway, Deutsche Grammophon, etc.
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 07:27 PM CDT
Posted: 05 Aug 2008 11:46 AM CDT
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