Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Beach Boys - 1967: Sunshine Tomorrow; In Which the Beach Boys Offer the First True Stereo Mix of the Wild Honey Album and They Open the Vaults for a Treasure Trove of Recordings From 1967



The Beach Boys rehearsal for a concert in Honolulu, 1967
[Photos courtesy of The Beach Boys unless otherwise specified]

1967: Sunshine Tomorrow by The Beach Boys has been eagerly awaited by Beach Boys fans. This 2-disc set opens with the Wild Honey album, for the first time mixed in true stereo (tracks 1-11). Then it's Christmas in July as The Beach Boys offer 54 essentially bonus tracks of previously unreleased studio and live recordings. Sunshine Tomorrow brings you back into the control room as you hear 1967 recording sessions. The Wild Honey sessions are first after the album. Hearing early versions, alternate versions, vocal arrangements, etc., it's just fascinating to me. Then we get five live Wild Honey tracks, four from '67 and one from '70. Following that, one song of session vocal highlights from "Mama Says" closes Disc 1.



Disc 2 opens with ten tracks of sessions from Smiley Smile, also fascinating. I must admit here that my love for "Heroes and Villains" is counterbalanced by my distain for "Vegetables" (the song, not the food); I guess this is a classic example of you take the good with the bad.

Up next are fourteen tracks that in my opinion are worth the entire price of the album. Here's what happened: In August of '67, The Beach Boys recorded two concerts and two rehearsals in Hawaii intended for a live album called Lei'd in Hawaii. When these tapes were determined to be "unusable", they sought to rerecord these performances in recording studios in California. The production on these tracks was a little thin, most of the versions would not be considered definitive. Still, based on what they were trying to do, being a fly on the wall during these sessions is pure joy. These were not only some of The Beach Boys best loved songs, there are some amazing covers such as "The Letter" (The Boxtops), "With a Little Help from My Friends" (The Beatles), and "The Game of Love" (Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders). I absolutely love this version of "With a Little Help from My Friends". It was recorded at Brian Wilson's home studio and it is presented in both mono and stereo mixes.

The next five tracks were actually recorded in Hawaii. There are three concert recordings plus two tracks recorded at rehearsal including "Heroes And Villains". The Hawaii master tape was found in a closet at Brother Records (The Beach Boys' label). Next up are three live tracks recorded on The Thanksgiving Tour of that year. After that are two very nice studio recordings. One is an early version of "Surf's Up" recorded during the Wild Honey sessions; this tune was originally intended for the legendary Smile album. The other is a gorgeous a cappella vocal mix of "Surfer Girl" recorded during the LA Sessions for Lei'd in Hawaii.

Although this album will be undoubtedly considered as essential by Beach Boy fans and collectors, I think even casual fans will like the new true stereo Wild Honey album as well as the real and faux live recordings. I also want to thank Capitol Records for releasing this at a street price well under twenty bucks, and not making it necessary to buy an elaborate box set. Although I haven't seen anything specifically addressed on this topic in terms of this album, it is possible that this release is as much about protecting the copyright as it is a gift to Beach Boys fans. Whatever the case might be, I say when the label vaults swing open like this, it's time to rejoice.


Photo: Rollingstone.com

Excerpt from the press release: (PRNewsFoto/Universal Music Enterprises)
1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow dives into a fascinating and frenetic chapter in The Beach Boys' long, groundbreaking creative arc, exploring the band's dynamic year in the studio and on tour. The Beach Boys' final studio session for the shelved SMiLE album took place on May 18th, 1967, with Smiley Smile album sessions booked at Brian Wilson's new home studio from June 3rd through the end of July. The band's 12th and 13th studio albums were released exactly three months apart to cap the year's studio efforts: Smiley Smile on September 18th followed by Wild Honey on December 18th.

"I wanted to have a home environment trip where we could record at my house," recalls Brian Wilson in the liner notes for 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow. "I wanted to try something different, something new. I produced Smiley Smile, but Mike inspired me. He said 'Brian, let's make a really good, easygoing album'. We had an engineer convert my den into a studio. We had my piano detuned to make it ring more."

"Just prior to that, Brian had built up this production peak and then just completely reversed field, and (for Smiley Smile) did something so light and airy, and y' know, easy," explains Mike Love. "That was an underground album, I figure, for us. It was completely out of the mainstream of what was going on at that time, which was all hard rock, psychedelic music, and here we come with a song called 'Wind Chimes.' It just didn't have anything to do with what was going on – and that was the idea."

"Times were changing," adds Al Jardine. "We were happy to put our musical skills to work. We didn't have to look at the clock; there was virtually 24-hour availability to experiment."

"Take away their sorrow / Give them sunshine tomorrow"

On August 25th and 26th, 1967, The Beach Boys (absent Bruce Johnston, but with Brian Wilson on organ in his first concert appearances with the band in more than two years) recorded two concerts and rehearsals in Honolulu for a prospective live album to be titled Lei'd In Hawaii, applying a new Smiley Smile-inspired aesthetic to the performances. Just over two weeks later, the band (with both Brian and Bruce participating) began re-recording the live set in-studio at Brian's house and at Wally Heider Recording in Hollywood, after the Honolulu concert tapes were deemed unusable. Although completed and mixed, the final planned audio element of a canned concert audience was not added and the Lei'd In Hawaii project was canceled. Those live, in-studio performances morphed into sessions for the Wild Honey album, primarily comprised of original Brian Wilson/Mike Love compositions.

In a 1976 look back at 1967's most heralded albums, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau praised Wild Honey with an "A+" review, writing, "It's perfect and full of pleasure; it does what it sets out to do almost without a bad second."

Bruce Johnston says that Wild Honey showcases a band devoid of pressure: "Here's the thing – the most important thing – you need to know about Wild Honey. It was just an album for us to exhale and do something real simple; but as it's Brian and Mike's music, it's still fabulous and not so simple. I love the album."

Two days after wrapping the Wild Honey sessions on November 15th, 1967, Mike Love, Carl and Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston returned to the road for The Beach Boys' Thanksgiving Tour, premiering several songs from the forthcoming album at their concerts.

The Beach Boys - 1967: Sunshine Tomorrow
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Tracklist: Click on titles to listen

CD 1

Wild Honey Album (Stereo)
New stereo mix, except as noted above.* Recorded September 15 to November 15, 1967 at Brian Wilson's house and at Wally Heider Recording in Hollywood, California

01. Wild Honey (2:45)
02. Aren't You Glad (2:16)
03. I Was Made to Love Her (2:07)
04. Country Air (2:21)
05. A Thing or Two (2:42)
06. Darlin' (2:14)
07. I'd Love Just Once to See You (1:49)
08. Here Comes the Night (2:44)
09. Let the Wind Blow (2:23)
10. How She Boogalooed It (1:59)
11. Mama Says* (Original Mono Mix) (1:08)

Wild Honey Sessions: September-November 1967 (Previously Unreleased)

12. Lonely Days (Alternate Version) (1:45)
13. Cool Cool Water (Alternate Early Version) (2:08)
14. Time to Get Alone (Alternate Early Version) (3:08)
15. Can't Wait Too Long (Alternate Early Version) (2:49)
16. I'd Love Just Once to See You (Alternate Version) (2:22)
17. I Was Made to Love Her (Vocal Insert Session) (1:35)
18. I Was Made to Love Her (Long Version) (2:35)
19. Hide Go Seek (0:51)
20. Honey Get Home (1:22)
21. Wild Honey (Session Highlights) (5:39)
22. Aren't You Glad (Session Highlights) (4:21)
23. A Thing or Two (Track and Backing Vocals) (1:01)
24. Darlin' (Session Highlights) (4:36)
25. Let the Wind Blow (Session Highlights) (4:14)

Wild Honey Live: 1967-1970 (Previously Unreleased)

26. Wild Honey (Live) (2:53) — recorded in Detroit, November 17, 1967
27. Country Air (Live) (2:20) — recorded in Detroit, November 17, 1967
28. Darlin' (Live) (2:25) — recorded in Pittsburgh, November 22, 1967
29. How She Boogalooed It (Live) (2:43) — recorded in Detroit, November 17, 1967
30. Aren't You Glad (Live) (3:12) — recorded in 1970, location unknown

31. Mama Says (Session Highlights) (3:08)
(Previously unreleased vocal session highlights. Recorded at Wally Heider Recording, November 1967)


CD 2

Smiley Smile Sessions: June-July 1967 (Previously Unreleased)
Recorded June and July 1967 at Brian Wilson's house, Western Recorders, SRS, and/or Columbia Studios, except as noted above*

01. Heroes and Villains (Single Version Backing Track) (3:38)
02. Vegetables (Long Version) (2:55)
03. Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (Alternate Mix) (2:28)
04. WWind Chimes (Alternate Tag Section) (0:48)
05. Wonderful (Backing Track) (2:23)
06. With Me Tonight (Alternate Version with Session Intro) (0:51)
07. Little Pad (Backing Track) (2:40)
08. All Day All Night (Whistle In) (Alternate Version 1) (1:04)
09. All Day All Night (Whistle In) (Alternate Version 2) (0:50)
10. Untitled (Redwood)* (0:35)
(Previously unreleased instrumental fragment. Studio and exact recording date unknown. Discovered in tape box labeled "Redwood")

Lei'd in Hawaii "Live" Album: September 1967 (Previously Unreleased)
Recorded September 11, 1967 at Wally Heider Recording in Hollywood, CA, with additional recording September 29, 1967 (except as noted above*). Original mono mixes from assembled master 1/2" reel, dated September 29, 1967, discovered in the Brother Records Archives.

11. Fred Vail Intro (0:24)
12. The Letter (1:54)
13.You're So Good to Me (2:31)
14. Help Me, Rhonda (2:24)
15. California Girls (2:30)
16. Surfer Girl (2:17)
17. Sloop John B (2:50)
18. With a Little Help from My Friends* (2:21)
(Recorded at Brian Wilson's house, September 23, 1967)
19. Their Hearts Were Full of Spring* (2:33)
(Recorded during rehearsal, August 26, 1967, Honolulu, Hawaii)
20. God Only Knows (2:45)
21. Good Vibrations (4:13)
22. Game of Love (2:11)
23. The Letter (Alternate Take) (1:56)
24. With a Little Help from My Friends (Stereo Mix) (2:21)

Live in Hawaii: August 1967 (Previously Unreleased)
The Beach Boys recorded two complete concerts and rehearsals in Honolulu on August 25 and 26, 1967. Brian Wilson rejoined the group onstage for these shows; Bruce Johnston was not present. The following tracks derive from the original 1" 8-track master reels discovered in the Brother Records Archives.

25.Hawthorne Boulevard (1:05)
26.Surfin' (1:40)
27.Gettin' Hungry (3:19)
28. Hawaii (Rehearsal Take) (1:11)
29. Heroes And Villains (Rehearsal) (4:45)

Thanksgiving Tour 1967: Live In Washington, D.C. & Boston (Previously Unreleased)
The touring Beach Boys — Mike, Carl, Dennis, Al, and Bruce — embarked on a Thanksgiving tour immediately after delivering the finished Wild Honey album to Capitol Records. For this tour, the band was augmented by Ron Brown on bass and Daryl Dragon on keyboards.

30. California Girls (Live) (2:32) — recorded in Washington, DC, November 19, 1967
31. Graduation Day (Live) (2:56) — recorded in Washington, DC, November 19, 1967
32. I Get Around (Live) (2:53) — recorded in Boston, November 23, 1967

Additional 1967 Studio Recordings (Previously Unreleased)

33. Surf's Up (1967 Version) (5:25)
(Recorded during the Wild Honey sessions in November 1967)
34. Surfer Girl (1967 A Capella Mix) (2:17)
(Previously unreleased mix of Lei'd in Hawaii take from the Wally Heider Recording sessions in September 1967)

Excerpted from the 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow Producers' Notes by Mark Linett and Alan Boyd:
After the decision was made to shelve the unfinished Smile album in early 1967, The Beach Boys opted to return to recording as a self-contained band, working mostly at Brian Wilson's home and using rented recording equipment. The two albums they released that year, Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, were both originally presented in mono only (with Capitol also issuing re-channeled “pseudo stereo” editions). Smiley Smile was remixed and released in stereo in 2012. Now, at last, The Beach Boys and Capitol present the first true stereo mix of Wild Honey, along with outtakes, session highlights, and selected backing tracks from both the Smiley Smile and Wild Honey sessions.

*Note that the 8-track master for “Mama Says” could not be located, so that song is presented here in its original mono mix. In addition, the organ solo on “How She Boogalooed It” was actually overdubbed as the song was being mixed to mono (as was the organ on the rest of the song), so that section is also presented in mono.



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1 comment:

Charlie Ricci said...

I always loved WILD HONEY but Smiley Smile was a big joke. The former is one of their great unsung albums. I didn't know about this. I can't wait to hear the live stuff.