SMiLE Sessions - The Beach Boys

Charlie Jefferson

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Is anybody else enjoying this revelatory, mind-expanding, synapse fizzing listening experience? After a long work day yesterday I eventually opened up the box at 10.30 last night, and went straight for the mono vinyl version of the Smile "album". I've accumulated plenty of bootlegs of this fabled recording and really love Brian and The Wondermints' 2004 recreation, but there was still a palpable thrill when the needle hit the "official" groove for the first time. A fantastic blend of the familiar and the occasional unexpected. The real thrills, for me, are to be found in the five Sessions CDs. I'm at work now, and sneaking a listen to Discs 1 &2 (on Spotify). At every turn there's something interesting, funny, strange or wondrous to behold. Two, of many, favourite moments so far are the vocal montage of Smile vocals and the rehearsal for Our Prayer. Oh, and there's one or two versions of at least one or two sections from Heroes and Villains. Anyone else having a delve?
 

Charlie Jefferson

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Aaah, I hate it when the disabling of rich text doesn't apply and you end up with a block of paragraph-less text.

Sorry.

Why do we need this irritating word verification thing? Assume this is a FAQ, but haven't spotted any answers.
 

MajorFubar

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Not yet but I'm going to. I can't wait.

Second only to a new album of unreleased Beatles recordings turning up, this is as good as it gets.

Other opinions are available of course.
 
Not yet - I've mixed views on the 'Smile' project. I've got on DVD the revival of the "album that never was" and the concert he performed with The Wondermints, and I kinda see the album as a Wilson/Wondermint collaboration rather than a Beach Boys set.
 

Charlie Jefferson

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Well, as you know, the new set is the 1966/67 recordings (when the Wondermints were still in primary school presumably). It's truly revelatory stuff to my ears.

I

've heard plenty of boots from these sessions, but this release has unearthed and polished up many, many hidden gems. The track sequencing on the discs is superb, the sound is impressive and the experience is totally immersive.

A word about the package: I was very taken with the SMiLE shop front effect that forms the main box, and there appears to be plenty of pictures and text to digest in there too.

Tonight I'll have three or four hours to really dive in and explore. I've also lined up Dominic Priore's The Making Of SMiLE book, to browse through too.

Yes, this is a significant release, up there for me, with The Beatles' anthologies, and Mono remasters, Neil Young's Archives and the plethora of brilliant Dylan out-takes and rarities.
 
Charlie Jefferson said:
Well, as you know, the new set is the 1966/67 recordings (when the Wondermints were still in primary school presumably). It's truly revelatory stuff to my ears.

I 've heard plenty of boots from these sessions, but this release has unearthed and polished up many, many hidden gems. The track sequencing on the discs is superb, the sound is impressive and the experience is totally immersive.

A word about the package: I was very taken with the SMiLE shop front effect that forms the main box, and there appears to be plenty of pictures and text to digest in there too.

Tonight I'll have three or four hours to really dive in and explore. I've also lined up Dominic Priore's The Making Of SMiLE book, to browse through too.

Yes, this is a significant release, up there for me, with The Beatles' anthologies, and Mono remasters, Neil Young's Archives and the plethora of brilliant Dylan out-takes and rarities.

Understand the original, but the rest of the Beach Boys were vehemently against 'Smile', with the possible exception of Denis Wilson, so legend has it.

Up until 2004 the Beach Boys had forgotten all about 'Smile': Only when Brian and the Wondermints (with some help of Van **** Parks) started to re-jig the demo version from 67 that Mike Love (the most vocal against the 'Smile' concept) smelt a profit.

I will, eventually, buy the album, out of curiosity, but certainly won't be top of my list.

Please you really like, though...
smiley-wink.gif
 

Charlie Jefferson

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For me it all started in 1976 when, as a 12 year old, I bought 20 Golden Greats, and heard Heroes & Villains and Good Vibrations for the first time.

I was sitting in a French lesson once, some weeks after I'd bought the album, and I turned to my friend and music fan, and asked in a loud whisper if he'd got "Good Vibrations", yet. Much ridicule and scorn ensued. Girls (and boys) are so cruel.

All musical roads have led to this moment. Yes, I'm sure the profit motive of someone or other comes into it, but the sounds simply transcend such considerations. When the Pet Sounds box came out, I bought it and devoured it accordingly, then fantastised about a similar treatment for "SMiLE". And now, here it is.

Great stuff.
 

mickeyjoef

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I'll be going for the two disc version, and I am really looking forward to hearing it. I love the Brian Wilson/Wondermints version, and will treasure for life the first time I heard it. Live at the Liverpool Empire, with the hairs on the back of my neck rising, and frequent tears in my eyes.

:)
 
Charlie Jefferson said:
For me it all started in 1976 when, as a 12 year old, I bought 20 Golden Greats, and heard Heroes & Villains and Good Vibrations for the first time.

I was sitting in a French lesson once, some weeks after I'd bought the album, and I turned to my friend and music fan, and asked in a loud whisper if he'd got "Good Vibrations", yet. Much ridicule and scorn ensued. Girls (and boys) are so cruel.

All musical roads have led to this moment. Yes, I'm sure the profit motive of someone or other comes into it, but the sounds simply transcend such considerations. When the Pet Sounds box came out, I bought it and devoured it accordingly, then fantastised about a similar treatment for "SMiLE". And now, here it is. Great stuff.

This is the problem I had: I was 12 years old in 75 and was going to Dr. Feelgood concerts. Coming from S. London and singing surfing songs didn't go down well with my peers... (you can probably guess the verbal battering I received).
 

jerry klinger

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Ah, Dr Feelgood... how very 70s. (kidding)

Actually my recollection is that your pals must have been a bit out of kilter with the Beach Boys revival, as 'Love You' particularly and the NME articles on Smile had raised the BBs' street cred by the time of punk.

Worth noting on a HIFI forum that the Smile CDs are mastered in HDCD for those of you with the available hardware (e.g. Naim XS upwards, older Rotels and Arcams etc).

Brian's solo 1967 version of Surf's Up is especially enchanting to these ears.
 
A

Anonymous

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My big box of Smile Sessions arrives today, and as much as I too love Brian Wilson and the Wondermints version, Smile, there really will be no comparison in my humble opinion, as Smile Sessions is the Beach Boys at the very top of their game, and but for Mike Love's hissy fit over leaving their traditional sound behind, may have seen the light of day in 1967.

History will prove him wrong.

I think the Good Vibrations version on this new release ought to be released as a single followed by Heroes & Villains and then Vega-Tables as the world is ready for it.

If you love the Beach Boys sound this is a time of rejoicing, whichever version you like. I saw Brian in Brighton for the Pet Sounds Tour and I too could not believe how close to the studio album it sounded, and was truly moved (ex-choir boy).

This is the Sgt. Pepper moment for the Beach Boys and the only sadness is that Carl & Dennis aren't around to enjoy the vibe and this should be 1967 but it isn't.

Roksan TMS Signature, SME IV, Ortofon Kontrapunkt H, Cyrus AEQ7, 2 Cyrus Mono's, Cyrus CD8X, Cyrus AV8, 4 PSX-R's,

Nakamichi DR-2, Cyrus Linkserver, 2 Cyrus Linkports, Ruark Solstice, Ruark Dialogue II (centre), Quad 77-11's (rears)

Bang & Olufsen Avant.
 

MajorFubar

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plastic penguin said:
Coming from S. London and singing surfing songs didn't go down well with my peers... (you can probably guess the verbal battering I received).
To be fair, Brian Wilson went to great lengths to try to ditch that image, at least after he heard the Beatles' Revolver, if not before. In trying to do so, it seems incredible now that he met with such hostiity, not just from his record-label who wanted the 'surf, sea and sun' bubblegum-records to continue, but also from his fellow bandmates such as Mike Love, who legendarily condemned Good Vibrations as "avant-garde sh*t" despite helping Wilson write the lyrics.
 
A

Anonymous

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I agree, the hostility from Mike Love doomed the Smile project, especially as he was going to be the band leader onstage after Brian decided to stop touring, so he didn't want any difficult pieces to have to reproduce live. Also Brian's father having conned his son out of ownership of the Sea of Tunes music publishing wanted more of the same music not any risky deviations. Is it any wonder brian turned to drugs in a big way? I'm in favour of the artist owning the rights to his music, but the Beatles also were conned out of theirs too.

Still it's a happy week for us fans as it sees the light of day. Mine is being delivered at 1 o'clock by Amazon so my village will fall victim to a broadcast as I open all the windows and doors and share.

If you ever have a choice of a new tone arm go with SME. My mk IV is 17 years old and i wrote to SME recently and asked what I needed to do to recommission my arm-the reply was nothing sir it will just go on for ever.

I only live an hour from the factory in Steyning, so I may request a visit just to admire their work.

I am on the lookout for a Nakamichi Dragon cassette deck so if you hear of one for sale please let me know, my Nakamichi DR-2 is good but i would love to own the top of the range now they have stopped making any.
 

Charlie Jefferson

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" I love my Carl, I love my Brian, my Dennis and my Al

I could even find it in my heart to love Mike Love"

So sang Belle & Sebastian in their song, I Love My Car.

Anyway, good to hear a few others around these parts are enjoying the thrill of the SMiLE Sessions album/box.

Last night I spent hours listening to the album on vinyl and then big chunks of the Sessions discs. I knew my old Arcam CDP would have to be warmed up again, as opposed to streaming, just to soak up the Beach Boys in HDCD.

An abundance of glorious stuff abounds.
 
TBF, as I got older I had an admiration for Brian Wilson (in my record collection I've "Live in London" and " Good Vibrations" and, somewhere, there's a Greatest Hits from the 60s).

However, my original comment still stands to a certain degree: My local beach of any sort is 45 miles away. I wonder how many of those US west coasters can associate with Kinks records?
 

Charlie Jefferson

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Knee deep into the box. It's greater than the sum of it's parts.

The titling of tracks is, by turns, confusing and illuminating. For example, disc 2 of the box set version is mostly devoted to Heroes & Villains, but includes so many disparate elements of tracks hitherto known by different names. It's a mesmerizing and often bewildering aural "trip".

I'm truly caught in it's spell.
 

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