Hear Samples of Net Sounds II in Real Audio
On February 6, 1998, the music world lost one of its greatest voices: the Beach Boys' Carl Wilson. Carl had the ability to turn a song into a prayer. His voice was beautifully featured in such timeless classics as "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations" and was an integral part of the intricate harmonies of the Beach Boys. More importantly, Carl was known as a kind and gentle soul who was often able to bring calm to the tumultuous world of his family and band. Heaven's choir gained a new angel when, after months of struggling, Carl lost his courageous battle against cancer.
Carl, it is to you, and to the memory of your brother Dennis, that
we lovingly dedicate Net Sounds II: Do It Again.
Net Sounds II: Do It Again is the follow-up to the successful Net Sounds, a collection of Beach Boys songs affectionately covered by fans. From the moment Net Sounds hit the streets, it became clear that a sequel was necessary. Contributors wanted to show their love of the band with new songs, and several other people wanted to jump aboard. The result is the CD set you have in your hands now.
Just who are these Beach Boys we are paying tribute to? There have been many people in the band over the years, but the five originals -- the people most associated with the band -- are the real key to their success.
For one, there's Mike Love. His nasal, boy-next-door vocals are recognized immediately by many and associated automatically with Beach Boys mega-hits like "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "Surfin' USA." He has an arrogance that makes you want to kick his butt, while at the same time wishing you could be just like him.
Then there's Al Jardine. Lucky for him, he caught the bus back from dental school after a brief hiatus from the group during their early days. Since then, he has become a key part of their famous vocal blend and has even stepped to the front to sing lead on such songs as "Help Me Rhonda" and "Then I Kissed Her."
Carl Wilson was the soul of the band, the quiet younger brother with the angelic voice. Not usually flashy, Carl never had the recognizable name that his oldest brother Brian or his cousin Mike had, but he seemed to like it that way. Carl often brought peace to the turbulent band, and quietly led the group for many years.
Dennis Wilson was the real beach boy until his drowning death in 1983, and he lived with an intensity that was often difficult to control. Thought by some to be the weak link in the band's harmonic blend, Dennis's raw voice -- emotional and honest -- was still an important part of their sound, especially in the early days. Dennis sometimes is referred to as "the heart of the Beach Boys," and every song he sang was a giant bear hug.
Brian Wilson's music tells the truth. Sure, many of his songs are about fantasies -- places and people who were never quite as depicted in his records. And yet somehow, maybe magically, the songs still tell the truth. There's always harmony, and love, and that's something real. It's something deeper than the chords or the words. It's hard to put a finger on it, exactly, but when you listen to one of Brian's songs, you know you can put a head on a shoulder, lay down your burdens, and stop worrying. Everything will be all right. Tomorrow you'll feel the warmth of the sun within you, and you'll go out and do it again.
The participants in Net Sounds 2: Do It Again hope that the love we have for this band and their music will be evident in our often flawed, sometimes brilliant attempts to recreate some of the gifts we have been given through the songs of the Beach Boys.
Note: In the lists of performers for each song, Pet Sounds List
members are shown in boldface type.
Net Sounds II: Do It Again begins with a seven song mini-tribute to Carl Wilson. It opens with a very authentic John Hunter Phillips remake of "Darlin'" from the Wild Honey album of 1967. For many years, Carl Wilson's performance of "Darlin'" was one of the high points of Beach Boys concerts.
A Carl Wilson classic! The first time I heard this song was at a 1967 Beach Boys concert. The song had not been released yet, so it was a real treat! The audience loved it. This R&B-influenced song showcases Carl's wonderful vocal range, without using falsetto. On my version, I also put a B-3 Hammond Organ, as well as a trumpet and tenor sax. I once asked Matt Jardine exactly what the words were in the introduction of this song, but I forgot what he told me so I used "Oh, Keep diggin' it, Darlin'." I think that's what was used on the David Cassidy version that Carl produced.
Dan Addington's take on "Angel Come Home," a song from 1979's L.A. (Light Album), stirs up the feelings of loneliness associated with the loss of a loved one.
"Angel Come Home" is a special song, and my tribute to a recently departed Beach Boy. Written by Carl and recorded by Dennis during sessions for the 2nd solo album he would never complete, it is a unique opportunity to hear these two brothers working together. My favorite Carl composition, it was especially poignant to listen to this song this summer.
|Rand Aaron Richard: Vocals, Yamaha PSR 530 Keyboard,
Gemeinhart Open Hole = Silver Flute
"I Can Hear Music," from the 1969 album 20/20, is one of the songs most readily associated with Carl by his fans. Although not an original Carl Wilson or Beach Boys song, Carl and the group transformed it and made it their own, as the Beach Boys were able to do with the best of their cover tracks. Rand Richard does the song justice in his remake.
"I Can Hear Music" has always been one of my favourite BB tunes. I loved it the moment I heard it. It's hard to explain. It just spoke to me -- Carl's perfect "pocket symphony" perhaps. The Beach Boys' music has been such a positive influence in my life. The music uplifted me on many occasions and continues to do so.
|Francis Greene: Piano, synthetic bass, electric piano,
Scott Rhoades: Vocals
The fourth track in the mini-tribute is the Bicycle Riders' version of Dennis Wilson's "Thoughts Of You," from Dennis's 1977 Pacific Ocean Blue album, the first solo album by a member of the Beach Boys. Interestingly, this is one of at least two songs in the set that illustrate the Beach Boys' universal appeal and their ability to bring together people from around the globe. The two Bicycle Riders live on separate continents and have never met, yet have become friends and songwriting partners due to the power of the Beach Boys music.
Scott says: "I was sitting around one day, not long after Carl Wilson died, thinking about what the loss of my favorite voice in the world would mean to the Beach Boys and to my life. I felt a profound sense of loss, both for Carl and Dennis but also for the group. It was clear to me that it was over. I wanted to do a song for Net Sounds 2 that reflected my feelings at that time. I've always loved "Thoughts Of You," and it seemed to express my feelings. It starts out, like the Beach Boys did, with sunshine, only, because of loss, the sunshine has become painful. The song then moves toward loneliness and a feeling of resignation, a sense that things will never be the same but life will go on. That's how I felt."
|Matthew Mollica: Yamaha CP70 Piano, snare and bass
drum, tambourine, sleigh bells (of course), mouth pops, Fender P-Bass,
Hammond B-3 Organ, Small "Hymn Master" organ, vocals
Matthew Mollica was a brave soul to be willing to try to perform Carl's signature song, the one song that will forever be associated with Carl. From the 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds, "God Only Knows" has been called the most beautiful song ever written by several people, including Paul McCartney. Matthew turns in a beautiful performance on this version.
As a teenager, for months I fell asleep every night listening to "God Only Knows" on my CD player in endless repeat. I love everything about the song. The words, the melody, the harmonies, the bass line, the horn introduction, the sleighbells, the sound of Carl, the contrast of Bruce, the cry of Brian, and the vocals weaving a bridge into a beautiful fadeout that never lasts long enough.
In relationships, especially love, I feel the closer two people are to God, the more He influences their love for each other. Brian communicates an understanding of this lyrically... musically... emotionally. How could one listen to Brian's recording of this song and not hear and feel God's beauty throughout?
I hope my humble version pays tribute to God's beauty and love, and Brian's interpretation of it.
|Dan Lega: Vocals, JV-1000 synthesizer/sequencer
On the Surf's Up album, Carl Wilson moved to the forefront as
a producer and songwriter, proving himself to be a worthy successor to
his big brother's throne on songs like the swirling "Feel Flows," a song
that brings to mind the impressionistic nature of the songs from the unreleased
album, Brian's unfinished masterpiece. Dan Lega imbues the song with a
psychedelic quality that brings a fresh new sound to the song.
The mini-tribute ends as it begins, with a John Hunter Phillips remake of a Beach Boys masterpiece: this time the a cappella "Our Prayer," originally meant for Smile but finally released on 20/20.
I have always loved this a cappella masterpiece of Brian's! I hope I have managed to retain at least SOME of the spirituality of the original.
|Dicky Globman: Piano, bass, vibes, trumpet, trombone,
Jack Madani: Guitar, lead vocals, background vocals
Members of the Pet Sounds mailing list will see the names of these performers and break out in a sweat, wondering what to expect from this aptly named band. And they don't disappoint, performing "Do You Remember" from All Summer Long exactly as might be expected from this duo -- without doing any harm to the fugue-like dynamics of the original. Listen carefully to this one or you'll miss the patented Globman/Madani schtick. You'll also miss the highly sophisticated classical allusions that show The Jokers to be much more than your everyday rock-and-roll band. The only things missing are the sleigh bells, castanets, and peng-yoo-wins.
Also sprach The Jokers: We have long thought that Danny & The Juniors are the greatest act ever and choosing "Do You Remember" gave us a chance to slip a little of their music onto this CD. Ever since we heard the stunning rendition of "Denny's Drums" we have been hooked on BB music and have dedicated our lives to the worship of Mike Love and his saxophone solos therein thereof. The entire song was cut while the group members were residing in the Folsom County Jail on trumped-up charges of performing unnatural sex acts with a prune danish.
|Michael Carpenter: Drums, 5 & 4 string basses,
Acoustic, 12 string and Leslie Guitar and Guitar solo, Leslie Piano, Sleighbells,
Lead & Backing Vocals.
The Pet Sounds list's most vocal Aussie member comes through with a faithful remake of this Summer Days (And Summer Nights) classic, showing that the Wall of Sound is alive and kicking Down Under.
This has always been a favourite of mine for several reasons. It was a very uncharacteristic Beach Boys song for its time, and certainly a very uncharacteristic Brian vocal. Despite this, the raw instrumentation on the original and the incredible backing vocals, including a wonderful Mike Love bass vocal drew me to the song. Also, it was a song that I wanted to dedicate to my then girlfriend, now fiancee, because of its beautiful sentiment. (That's also the reason for the lyric change in the first line from small to tall. She's 5' 9"!)
Kimpei Ohara & Friend
|Kimpei Ohara: Programming, vocals, guitar, bass,
Special thanks to F. Greene for the original transcription of chords and to H. Yanagida for the transcription of vocal harmony and for his encouragement.
Those who have heard the original Net Sounds will immediately recognize the performer of that set's "California Girls." As on that tribute, Japan's Ohara Revival brings an international charm and beauty to this rendition of one Brian's best love songs, "Please Let Me Wonder" from the Beach Boys Today album.
I have been impressed by the incredible complexity behind the superficial simplicity of this song. I thought this piece was a real challenge for me. The song is so good but so difficult to play and sing. I wished I had another chance. What have the Beach Boys meant to me? Well, everything musical."
The International Set shifts now to Europe, to Italy, one of the few places in the world that shares Southern California's sunny climate. It's only natural that the Beach Boys would be known and appreciated there. The Pendletones (who have since officially changed their name to The Heroes and Villains) dish up a medley of the "Heroes And Villains" intro from Smile and "Barbara Ann" from Beach Boys Party.
"Barbara Ann" is maybe the most famous Beach Boys song in Italy. In fact, the Beach Boys' music really only came to Italy in 1965 with the "Barbara Ann" single. We wanted to record a song that could make all the people dance and sing when we would play it in concert.
Sweden's Seashells deliver a nice, peaceful version of this wordless classic from Friends, then add some words that seem natural in the song.
I've played in various groups during a rather long time. The Seashells started around 1990, and have since then made a bunch of records on various labels. The group has always been interested in and inspired by vocal harmony pop groups from the sixties.
We used one of Brian's microphones on the recording (yes, it is true!).
We did this song because "Passing By" is a little gem that many people tend to forget. It sounds very easy, but it is one of those mysterious songs that has an easy flow, but is *very* hard to sing and play.
The Holland album is represented by Dauber's moving remake of "Only With You." When people think of this song, they don't normally immediately think, "Strat," but Dauber shows that, well, maybe they should.
When people listen to this track, they'll say 'Who ever told Dauber he could sing?' The answer: my girlfriend Lisa. "Only With You" is a special song for the two of us, which is one reason I chose the song. The other reason is that it's actually in my range, and it's fairly easy to play as well.
|Rick Mannor: lead vocal, backing vocals, drums, chimes,
Brian Mannor: lead vocal, backing vocals
Sheila Mannor: backing vocals, organ
Joel Brown: lead guitar, electric & acoustic rhythm guitars
Dan Nolf: bass guitar
Jennifer Otmanowski: violin
Produced by: Rick Mannor
Engineered by: Scott Zylstra
Studio: Frontier Recording - Copemish, Michigan
Rick Mannor is joined by family and friends on this Love You song, capturing both the spirit and quirkiness of that album on one of Brian Wilson's "day-in-the-life-of-Brian" songs.
I have a soft spot for the Love You album, and this song is certainly one of its highlights. Carl's gentle lead on this track made it a perfect choice for a CD paying tribute to his talent.
My favorite night-time sound has always been the Spring Peepers, AKA Tree Frogs. Their calls, and those of the Bull Frog, can be heard at the beginning and ending of the song. These sections were taken from a tape I recorded several years ago, near a pond deep in the woods behind my parents' home.
A special thank you goes to the Cadillac Middle School for the use of their chimes. Also to Francis Greene for some help with chords.
This song will not be immediately recognizable to some Pet Sounds list members, but John Barone's version of this song will convince both those who are familiar with Sweet Insanity and those who are not that this is one Brian Wilson song that should definitely not remain in the can. This is quite simply one of Brian's best compositions of the last 30 years.
I chose "Don't Let Her Know" because there are two very different versions of it that I really love: the demo, which is haunting but incomplete, and the final mix, which has some great harmonies. So I tried to combine the best parts of each version and create one whole new one.
The Beach Boys have given me more hours of fun and enjoyment than any other entertainers. The music is timeless and will never fade away.
What is more natural than "California Girls" played on the ukelele? Following a deep, almost disturbing intro, the Summer Days (And Summer Nights) song moves into the cheerful island sound of the uke and a fun, old-fashioned vocal that brings something fresh to this moldy oldie.
When the Beach Boys did their "Lei'd in Hawaii" concert in 1967 Brian Wilson wanted the audience to bring ukeleles so he could record the sound of thousands of ukes joyfully strummed by loving, happy Beach Boy fans in the beautiful warmth of Hawaii. Being a uke player, his image appealed to me greatly and inspired me with enough heart energy to go into a studio and cut a track, one of the most classic of all-time Beach Boy songs, "California Girls." I was on what I call a spiritual love high during this session, and thank god some of it was captured onto tape. You should have seen the way Gaza was jumping around the kit! I really hope you enjoy my little effort and it brings some happiness into your life. Thank you all for the opportunity and thanks for listening!
Here's the second transcontinental effort on Net Sounds. It's not easy pulling off a difficult Pet Sounds instrumental piece across an ocean, but Blue Sunshine pulls it off without a hitch.
Tobias chose the song because it was one of his faves. Something memorable about the recording...it only took a day to record and mix.
It's not really a band. We are an ocean apart.
|Mark Raphael: piano and vocals
Here's another little-known Brian Wilson song that deserves to be a
classic. This version of the 20/20 song strips the original of all
of its trappings to highlight the beautiful melody and relaxing lyrics,
demonstrating that Brian can indeed write a good song.
|Ric Reynolds: guitar, bass, vocals
We return to the Holland LP with Reynolds' performance of one of the Beach Boys most bluesy songs, and a tribute to those oft-forgotten Beach Boys, Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar.
This recording is significant in that it was the first time I ever attempted to play keyboards of any kind (I did the synth solo during the instrumental part.) I had the recording engineer play the B3 organ during the chorus. Oh, and I played the keyboard drums, too.
I heard this tune for the first time this year. I never got my hands on the Holland album until Goofy Jeff (Malicki) sent me a dub of the album in trade for the Steve Dahl-BW interview, which I had obtained from Bengt Stenstrom in trade for something else. (This list is great!)
I really dug the song 1) because it was a little different from your normal Beach Boys song and 2) it featured Ricky Fataar, who has received little or no recognition in any compilation.
Dave Prokopy, Jim Gardner
|James A. Gardner: piano, organ, percussion
Dave Prokopy: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion, lead and backing vocals
Brad Estes: bass guitar
(credit to Al Jardine/Lynn Ahrens; when you hear it, you'll know why)
Without a doubt, several people will listen to this song very carefully, just to hear what Dave Prokopy sounds like after reading so many of his words over the past several years. Dave and his friend and fellow list member Jim Gardner here contribute a thoughtful, intelligent remake of one of the Holland album's two hits, along with a major surprise straight out of the schoolhouse, which you'll have to hear to believe. And it works.
We have contributed tracks to previous tribute projects for the Beatles (Let It R.M.B.) and the Rolling Stones (Exile on the Information Superhighway). Information about Jim's recent album with Red Almighty Mars can be found at http://members.iquest.net/~prokopy/RAM.html. Information about Dave's work, both solo and with the Kimble Bros., is available at http://members.iquest.net/~prokopy/music.html.
While we're listening to Holland songs, let's add another. This time it's Low Tide doing "Big Sur," a song many consider one of Mike Love's best tunes.
The first time I heard the Beach Boys I was 8 years old. As I got older I began to hear about Dennis and Brian, and found myself intrigued. I met Mike backstage drinking a water during my first concert in 1988. I knew then that I wanted to see and know more. I began to read and eventually collect everything I could find on the Beach Boys. Their California lifestyles and feel-good music had a tremendous influence on my youth, and those memories mean even more to me as an adult. Why am I hooked on the Beach Boys? Words can't describe it. It's just a feeling somewhere in my heart, a place where I go when I want to feel free.
|Dan Addington returns with his second Dennis Wilson cover
of the set, this time an unreleased outtake from Dennis's unfinished second
solo album, Bamboo. Addington manages to capture Dennis's personality
and wit, while at the same time putting together a very original version
of the song.
"He's A Bum" is my tribute to Dennis. A tune only available in fragments and on bootlegs, it was also intended for Dennis' 2nd solo effort, "Bamboo." This song sums up what we loved about Dennis, and I identified with it the first time I heard it. I enjoyed recording this.
The Pet Sounds list's favorite Scot closes Disc 1 with a lovely version of Brian's 1998 single, "Your Imagination," from his solo Imagination album, showing what the song could have been like stripped of its huge production. The result is a song that sounds, well, imaginative and dreamy.
I chose this one because it was so emotional for me to hear Brian come back to us with such a great upbeat song! Really hummable. I never liked the original backing track. Too many guitars, too much AOR nonsense. A song like this deserved something more in keeping with the 60's tracks, so I rearranged it. (What a liberty!)
I did the backing track for this in June, and some of the vocals,
but I was so dissatisfied that I rerecorded most of the 10 simultaneous
vocal tracks within the space of about a week, completing it almost too
late for the deadline!! (Best way...under pressure!!!!)
The Beach Boys seldom rocked the way they did on "Marcella," from the Carl And The Passions: So Tough album. "Marcella" was also one of the most rocking tunes from the those classic concerts of the early seventies. And yet, the song has seldom rocked like it does here. The mysterious Waters brothers ham it up like the best Metal bands and show that, yes, the Beach Boys rock. We know that. Now the world does, too.
We think it's one of the best songs that was never a single.
|Sassy: Lead Vocal
Sean Anglum: Guitars, Percussion, Background vocals
Lewis Mock: Lead Guitars, Bass
Allan Blackwell: Drums, Keyboard, Percussion, Background Vocals
Producer and Arranger: Sean Anglum
Engineer: Allan Blackwell
Yeah, the Beach Boys rock. But they can also twang. Their country-folk version of the old Ledbetter classic, "Cottonfields," was a hit around the world in 1970, although it never caught on in the U.S. "Cottonfields" was released in two versions: Brian produced the 20/20 album version, and Al took control over the single version. In this version, Summer Promises stress the country side of the tune.
Sassy: Basically, I chose the song because it fit my vocal style, but the traditional "Americana" aspect of it was also appealing -- combining my two musical loves...country music and The Beach Boys. The vocal was done in one take, with the last verse redone once because I got the giggles. I didn't have enough cash for any more takes!
Sean: Along with the Beatles, the Beach Boys and , in particular, the music of Brian Wilson have been moving forces in my musical education. The Beach Boys still leave me breathless on a regular basis. They're the ginchiest!
If you thought the original "Somewhere Near Japan" sounded kind of like the Byrds, wait until you hear this one. The No Bull Surfers take probably the best song from the much-maligned Still Cruisin' album, add a little more rock, and deliver a copy that will probably make many of us go back and listen to Still Cruisin' again. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to the individual listener, but one thing is certain: This song is too cool to be ignored, no matter what album it was on, as the No Bull Surfers so aptly remind us.
We chose to record SNJ because it is, on our opinion, one of the unheralded great Beach Boys tracks. We learned it the first time for the 1996 East coast BB convention. It went over well and has become a regular part of our live club performances (usually paired back-to-back with the Eagles "Hotel California"). It always invokes a good audience response even though most people have never heard the song. Our version (like most of our recordings and performances) has a double lead vocal done live by us. This is our trademark, I guess you can say. It is a bit heavier and more commercial than the BBs version. Some say it has a very Byrdsey feel to it. We hope you enjoy it.
Those of us who were fans in the mid to late seventies will most likely immediately recognize the name of Susumu Ogata. Susumu was an active member of Beach Boys Freaks United, and helped many of us obtain hard-to-find albums that had been reissued in Japan. (For me, it was Party and Wild Honey.) His drawings of the Beach Boys were easily recognized by fans. Now we finally get to hear him as he teams up with Bobby Lloyd Hicks on "Sumahama," Mike Love's contribution to L.A. (Light Album).
Bobby: Lt. Susumu Ogata was president of the Japanese Beach Boys fan club from the late 70's to the mid 80's, and after I became a member we struck up a friendship. I would send him Skeletons tapes and he would send me custom records that he had made. In late '79 he made his first trip to the U.S., visiting and staying with several Beach Boys fanatics across the country. His second trip to the states was in 1982. This time he wanted to perform and record with the Skeletons, and one of the songs on his list was "Sumahama." He thought it'd be fun if he sang the English lyrics and I sang the Japanese -- which, he told me, were not correct on the LA album. "This makes no sense," he said of one sentence. Who was I to argue? He rewrote some of the lines, which is why my phonetically-spoken Japanese does not match Mike's.
I can't speak for the Lt., but for me, Brian Wilson is my favorite musician of all time. When their first 45's came out I was in my first year of high school, and through the years I've always been able to rely on Brian's glorious music to help soothe away any of my problems or just the daily bull***t in general. In 1984 I named my only son Brian Wilson Hicks in honor of the man who has given me a lifetime of musical pleasure and joy. What a wonderful gift he has shared with all of us.
|Terry Reed: performer
OK, be honest. When you hear "In The Back Of My Mind," you immediately think of reggae music, right? No? Well, that might change. Terry Reed has successfully "reggae-ized" this ballad from side two of the Today album, without eliminating the emotion of the original. No easy task.
Currently living in Western Massachusetts, I grew up in the Midwest during the 1960's listening to Beach Boy singles on radio station WLS out of Chicago. The first LP (by anyone) that my brothers and I purchased was Little Deuce Coupe (swayed by the cover photo). I guess I have never been as excited about music as when the Beach Boys were in full swing and I was about to hear a brand new Brian Wilson song. I'll never forget putting the needle down onto side 2 of All Summer Long and hearing that intro to "Wendy" for the first time - WOW. I recorded the finished track and practiced singing along with it in the car for a few days until I took the final plunge and recorded the vocals -- hope somebody likes it.
Yet another track from side two of the Today album, this time tackled by long time Pet Sounds lister Rob McCabe. IS that an accordion? Rob's interesting instrumentation and high-reaching vocals breathe a whole new dimension into this oft-neglected classic Brian Wilson song.
I chose this song because it is my favorite pre-PS Brian Wilson song. I love the melody and (especially) the chord changes. You hear this song, and you know it's a Brian Wilson song.
I dedicate this performance to the memories of some gifted people -- some of whom I have never met personally, others I was proud to call my friends. First of all, I dedicate this to Dennis and Carl Wilson. You both helped spread your oldest brother's message with all of the love that harmony encompasses. And you also had your own messages that meshed with Brian's: the true meaning of harmony.
Secondly, I dedicate this to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Carter and Heather MacKenzie. You both helped me to see The Gift in myself and both encouraged me to share that gift. For that, I am thankful for the friendship we had during the time we knew each other. It was a pleasure to know you both, and to sing with you and for you. Godspeed.
"Wouldn't It Be Nice" as a folk song is not much of a stretch. The Hicktown Brothers pull off a nice acoustic version of the song. Stripped of the heavy production of Pet Sounds, there's still a good, solid song with a very modern feel, a song that proves itself ageless. The emotions expressed were not unique to 1966, and are still compelling in a more modern setting.
Grown in the dark woods of Northern Sweden, young Johnny and Matt soon began playing instruments as a way of getting by through the darkness and the cold (and as a way of not having to help around the house). Their parents had two albums, one was a collection of German interpretations of Hank Williams songs, the other was, and this mystifies the brothers to this day, Pet Sounds. So that's what they played: "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" followed by "You Still Believe In Me." Eventually, as the house was falling apart in every sense of the word, the boys got separated; one now lives in Umea under the name of Mattias Jonsson, the other uses the name Johan Gille around the streets of Uppsala.
Here's the other instrumental from the Pet Sounds album, this time the title track, done in a classical guitar style. Put on the headphones and dim the lights, and get ready for a relaxing trip.
The instrumental songs in Pet Sounds blew me away. The first time I heard them (and the album), I double-checked the credits. I couldn't believe this is a Beach Boys album.
D, J, & K tackle one of Brian Wilson's waltzes, maintaining the airy, almost spacy feel of the original. Interestingly, the 20/20 album on which "Time To Get Alone" appeared is often ignored by fans and is virtually unknown by the Real World, yet six of the album's eleven songs appear on this tribute, more than any other album.
Doug: I think "Time To Get Alone" is one of those late sixties, Brian compositions that is irresistibly innocent. Lines like "in our toboggan we'll go" and "lyin' down on our backs lookin' at the sky" give a feeling of carefree abandon. To me, the song is a close cousin to "Wouldn't It Be Nice." Sort of a continuation of that song's narrative.
As Karlton remarked after the vocal session, "Now we know what it must have been like at the first recording session for The Monkees."
|Jeff Counihan: Vocals and instruments (This is a
cappella, but does accidentally hitting the mic stand with my knee count?)
Jeff treats us to the second version of "Only With You" in the set, this time an a cappella rendition. So simplified, the Holland song becomes a tender, devotional hymn to his wife.
This is for my wife on our 10th anniversary. This is "our song." Happy anniversary, dear! I love you! Thanks for 10 great years and 2 beautiful, wonderful, funny children. (Hi Caitie and John!)
As I was adding the second vocal, it seemed like there were more than two voices singing; it really felt like Carl and Dennis were with me. (Unfortunately, the tape recorder didn't pick them up.) This song is also for you guys. We miss you!
Pet Sounds youngster Justin Reinstein returns with an appealing version of this 15 Big Ones song. Justin's only 14 and has already captured Brian Wilson's ear on at least one occasion. Could this set be the start of something big?
I chose the song because of its very old-fashioned, beautiful melody, and because of the great ending of the song. This was the first song I recorded in which I had a bit of trouble making my lead as forceful as it could be. Being a musician and recording on my own is such a thrill, especially when I hear the finished product and say "Wow...that really IS me!"
Dave and Jim return with a quirky number from Love You.
Jack & Bob Madani
|Jack Madani: Everything but the kitchen sink
"Love Is A Woman"? Jack's got guts to tackle a Love You song that is often referred to on the Pet Sounds list as one of Brian's worst. And yet, Jack makes it sound appealing, in spite of itself. Must be the sleighbells. Why did he do it? We'll let Jack explain it himself.
This was a science experiment. I really like the Love You album, but I do recognize that it's got a weird sort of vibe and that people could easily dismiss it as merely bizarre recordings of strange little songlets. So I decided to find out if there really is anything to my long-held assertion that the Love You songs are some of the most musically satisfying tunes that Brian Wilson has released since his Golden Age of the mid- to late sixties.
Consequently, I chose "Love Is A Woman," for two reasons: 1) It's the stupidest, worst-recorded tune on the album, and 2) its chord patterns are within my ability to play.
Extra credit if you can figure out what the background vocals are singing during the guitar solo.
For his version of this song from Surfer Girl, Jim Cassidy uses bass and percussion to provide an urgent, throbbing backdrop to a lovely, romantic ballad, not unlike the urgent, throbbing backdrop that often accompanies real-life romantic moments.
This song gave me a rare opportunity to pay tribute to Brian Wilson, The Four Freshmen, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Puff Daddy, all at the same time.
|Richard Harris: keyboard, guitar, vocal
Alison Harris (16): background vocals
Ashley Harris (12): background vocals
For a while, it looked like Brian Wilson was not only imitating Phil Spector's production style, but was trying to build up a cadre of girl groups to produce as well. "The One You Can't Have" was one example. Here, Richard Harris and his daughters create their own down-home version of the Honeys' song.
This is a personal favorite. I'm a fan of all the Honeys/Spring work.
It was a thrill just to get through a segment without making a mistake. I'm not a keyboard player but I understand notes and all. So I'd work out the bass part, for instance, and as I played it through to the two-minute click tape of a track, I'd feel so much pressure as I got near the end. Was I gonna screw up and ruin it? I had no capability to punch out errors, then if I made it...YYYEEESSS!!!! The drums were a challenge along those lines. Drum sounds were on the keyboard, but of course they don't follow a scale pattern. So I marked the drum keys I wanted to hit with magic marker and then...YYYEESSS!!!
Who would have thought it? One of the original members of Tøn Def steps out and goes solo, and actually sounds great doing it. With Jack "My Ma Calls Me Phil" Madani at the controls, Carol delivers a lovely version of another of Brian Wilson's girl-group songs, the tune that eventually became the Beach Boys' "Darlin'."
Despite what you may think after hearing it, I chose this song because I loved it. The first time I heard Sharon Marie's version, I was in tears. You might be in tears after hearing my version, but for a different reason.
Mark Raphael returns with his version of "Kiss Me, Baby," a song that is virtually unknown outside the circle of fans but hailed by many as one of Brian's best recordings. "Kiss Me, Baby" is one of the highlights of Side 2 of Today, among the best album sides ever recorded. Contributors to this tribute evidently agree -- all but two tracks on that side are included on Net Sounds II: Do It Again.
"Kiss Me, Baby" is one of Brian's best not-well-known tunes.
That eerie ending of Brian's "Wind Chimes," thought by some to be the "Air" piece of Smile, is the basis for this Tobias Bernsand track. It's a simple, but haunting piece of music. This version of "Wind Chimes," by the way, opens a sort of three-song mini-tribute to Smile.
I didn't intend to submit this one. It just kinda "happened." It was a fun fragment to record. It just kept building.
When people think of experimental music, they almost always think in terms of new production techniques (backwards tapes, effects like phasing and distortion, etc.) and breaking new grounds sonically, but they forget there are other ways to be experimental, too. At a time when everybody -- including the Beatles -- was making simple I-IV-V music, Brian Wilson composed brilliant pop music that was accessible on a more superficial level, but extremely complex and advanced once you begin studying it closer. He managed to transcend that complexity into the most beautiful and emotional music ever made, something which is pretty difficult to do (witness symphonic rawk, which sure was complicated as hell but rarely moved someone emotionally).
Here's another version of "Our Prayer." How many times can this song be done without sounding the same? Well, apparently at least one more.
Greg: Last year I introduced Mark to Smile just as he happened to be hooking up a brand new sampling keyboard. As "Our Prayer" played, he put it through a series of mutations, one of which caused me to exclaim something like, "OmyGodOmyGodOmyGod!" I asked him to give the entire recording that treatment: On one channel the pitch is lowered and on the other it is raised so that the two channels play simultaneously a minor 7th apart. We followed this with a session later edited down to "Suite Based On An Unfinished Symphony By Brian Wilson." (Some wiseguy had already used the far snappier title, "DT 2580.") "Our Prayer" was submitted to Net Sounds before the committee reluctantly passed on anything made from actual Beach Boy recordings. It almost made it.
To make a version that would be eligible for NS2 we gave the same treatment to Stagefright's version on NS1. The aliasing was not as kind to Michael's vocal as to the Beach Boys', so Mark cooked it in his computer overnight, resulting in a perfect digital treatment.
Mark, Greg & Jeff Central are The Weird Love Makers (not to be confused with The Weird Lovemakers).
The Original Tøn Def
|Carol "Def Swee'Pea" Knudson: vocals, vegetables
Scott "Def Peppa" Rhoades: vocals, vocal arrangements
Ron "Def Spud" Weekes: vocals
Dave "Def Zukes" Marshall: vocals
Jack "Def Beet" Madani: vocals and junk
John Knudson: vegetables
Linda Madani: vegetable preparation
Jeff Rhoades (6): giggles
Recorded at: Tøn Def West (Scott Rhoades producer, Ron Weekes engineer), Tøn Def East (Jack Madani producer)
Vegetables crunched, basic track: carrots, celery, bell peppers
Overdubbed crunches: Herr's Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips
Dip: Lipton's Onion
Soda: Decaf Diet Coke in a can
Official Tøn Def Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Basement/4157/
You might remember Tøn Def from the first Net Sounds, unless your therapy was successful; or you are good at blocking out traumatic memories. They're the (ahem) vocal group made up of people who publicly lamented not being able to participate on Net Sounds due to lack of talent, then got together and submitted their (ahem) song anyway. Well, they're back, and this time they do their thing to Smile and Smiley Smile. What could be more (ahem) natural? Amazingly enough, there's an actual parallel between this track and the old Smile days: when the track was originally submitted, it was deemed too long for the project at just under eight minutes in length. What you have here is an edited version. The original track can be heard in RealAudio format on the Tøn Def web site.
Ron: I grew up in the Beach Boys-influenced California of the 1960s. In the fifth grade, I wrote that The Beach Boys were my favorite kind of music in my autograph book. One female classmate had the nerve to cross out The Beach Boys and write in The Beatles. I still remember where I was when I first heard "California Girls" and "Good Vibrations." In the early '80s, I saw The Beach Boys for the first and only time. But it was a concert to be remembered since it included all three Wilson brothers along with Mike, Al and Bruce. Although Tøn Def's harmonies (now that's an oxymoron) will never match those of The Beach Boys, I'm glad to be a part of the group. I am currently building a portable console to take to some small Spanish-speaking country where the entire Tøn Def can meet, eat all the Idaho spuds we want, and be in the same room at the same time without having an argument.
Scott: When I was a kid other kids sometimes called me Scott Snot and then when I went to Austria I was still Scott Snot because Austrians call their snot "Rotz" and that's how people pronounced my name.
Blue Fringe offer up their version of the title track from the Wild Honey album, and it's both sweet and wild. If your feet don't start tapping when you hear this one, you are probably not listening.
When I chose to do the song, there was no girl to inspire the decision to sing it. But, by the time I recorded it, there was. Our love is so much deeper than this, but it's still a song that reminds me of her.
We spent about 1/2 an hour just trying to use a glass bottle on a guitar to do the opening part, but ended up using a slide whistle. It was my very first time playing my guitar with a band or singing by myself in front of a microphone, but when I started rockin' with the band, I kind of lost my inhibitions and just let it fly.
Ever since I was about 12 or 13, any emotion I've had, the Beach Boys have had a song to match it. God has used the Beach Boys' music to get me through some very difficult times, including my brother's drowning, and they've also provided the soundtrack to some of the best times of my life. And now that I am in a romantic relationship for the first time in my life, there is a totally new dimension to their music. Christy and I are able to share songs with each other that totally describe how we feel about our times together, our having to be apart, and our feelings for each other.
|Gil McLean: vocals, bass, percussion
Brian Halverson: guitar, keys, percussion, vocals
Here's another song from the Wild Honey album, an almost perfectly executed remake of "Let The Wind Blow."
Recording this song was very hectic. My collaborator on this project, Brian Halverson, proved himself to be a good friend. I was doing a summer session of law school, people around my workplace were getting downsized into unemployment, and I'm probably having to move imminently. My friend, who is in similar personal peril, is also a major BBs-head, and it's really like I'm doing guest vocals on HIS recording. We were both pressed for time and yet he encouraged me to finish, coaxing good performances where I might have given up had I attempted recording this with somebody else.
The Beach Boys are very simply my favorite American band. When I first heard "Surfin' USA" as a young lad -- aged 8, in 1974 -- I was hooked. Through the years, I've only grown more into the obsession. It is a privilege to associate with the listers and pay homage to the BBs in this way.
The Bodacious Surfers are a Steely Dan cover band that have branched out to play some Beach Boys songs. Their mostly instrumental medley of some of their favorite Beach Boys moments is a welcome addition to this set.
We wanted to do something that might appeal to all of the main sections of the Beach Boys fan community. So we worked up this short medley arrangement which includes a segment representing the FSLG era ("California Girls"), a segment for the Brianistas ("One For The Boys"), and a segment to celebrate what we consider to be one of Carl's finest moments on record (the fade of "All This Is That").
Barry and Phil were originally rather cynical about the Beach Boys but, after being forced to listen to Les and Peter's extensive collection of BB tapes for hours on end, have quickly come to appreciate the genius of Brian Wilson. We recently played a set at the Blackpool Arts Festival and were astonished to discover that our covers of Beach Boys songs were more warmly received even than our usual repertoire of Steely Dan material. We get no bigger kick than spending rehearsal time trying to recreate the magnificent musical landscapes painted by Brian Wilson. We are delighted to be given the chance to be associated with this tribute to the music of the Beach Boys and to the memory of Carl Wilson.
|Francis Greene: vocals, piano, keyboards
In December 1998, Francis Greene performed at a Carl Wilson tribute show in England. One of the songs he played was "Melt Away," from Brian Wilson's first solo album, Brian Wilson. It's a pleasure to hear this studio interpretation of the song.
The piano is my main instrument, so I was naturally drawn towards a song which I felt was best expressed on this particular instrument. "Melt Away" features some interesting chord changes, which were fun to figure out and even more fun to play. Clearly there was no possibility of emulating the vocal complexity of Brian's original version, so I didn't even try to add vocal harmonies. But even without that particular ingredient, there is enough strength within the melody and sufficient richness within the chords to render this song one of Brian's very best of the last 25 years.
Net Sounds II: Do It Again ends with Marty Rudnick's version of, well, "Do It Again." It was Marty, of course, who did the mastering for this CD set. After hearing this entire tribute, we hope that we really will be able to get together and do it again. Bring on Net Sounds 3!
The hardest part was trying to get that grungy bass groove like the
Beach Boys did. I wound up combining three different bass samples. It doesn't
sound terribly close to the original -- but it's passable, I guess.
Dicky Globman -- Our Fearless Leader and world-wide super spud
Marty Rudnick -- Masterer of the domain
Dan Lega -- Sequencing
Francis Greene -- Project Coordinator
Leon Lively -- Our Lifeline! (Keeper of the Pet Sounds mailing list)
Sassy -- Artwork
Scott Rhoades -- Author
Kathleen Tibbetts -- Editor
Suzette Dearing -- Titles & headings
Bruce Goettel, Dave Prokopy -- Photo scanning
Net Sounds II Artists -- Contributor comments and photos
Special thanks to Peter Carlin (intro), and to Michael Carpenter and
Andrew Foster for being so forthcoming with their invaluable experience