Friday, December 7, 2007

"SMiLE" by Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys: 4 Versions

Now this is a happy one. From the legendary musical meltdown of 1966-'67 to the unqualified triumph of 2004-'05, the saga of Brian Wilson and SMiLE needs no introduction, if plenty of explication. Feel free to read all about the album's tortured history (ending in failure, lunacy, Bedtime for Brian, The Abominable Dr. Landy, 20-plus years in the wilderness) and miraculous resurrection (starting with Van Dyke Parks and Darian Sahanaja, a Top 15 CD, sold-out tours, a deluxe DVD, a Grammy Award) while downloading these four very different bootleg takes on the original sessions. There a dozens of SMiLE variations floating around online -- and I got me a bushel of 'em, don't ya know -- but these are four of my faves.

One version, I won't say which, sticks to the now-official 2004 tracklist; several recreate what might have been the 1967 tracklist; another heads off the rez completely (and SMiLE is a big ol' rez, as any obsessive could tell you). How these mad, mysterious mixers have found places for the tasty bits that didn't make it in '04 -- namely "You’re Welcome," "Cool, Cool Water," "He Gives Speeches/She’s Goin’ Bald" and of course "George Fell Into His French Horn" -- is but one of the intense pleasures to be heard here...

Because SMiLE, despite its agonized 37-year creation, is about nothing if not pleasure. It's a work of pure beauty that waltzes right past its occasional silliness and weirdness to settle right in your soul; that's the reason God made Brian Wilson.

This photo of my man was taken last Sunday, at the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors in my hometown of Washington, D.C., where he received the highest arts award in the land...

And if that smile isn't the genuine article, I don't know what is.

SMiLE (1966-'67) (STU)

Anne Wallace mix

DJ Mic Luv mix

Fast Eddie mix

Mok mix


Anonymous said...

Have you heard the alternate brian wilson mix? It's listed at warnakeys beach boy blog

Heli0tr0pe said...

Yar, just listened to it today in fact. It's interesting, the bits of dialogue interspersed (especially Murry in "Child is Father..."), but also a little jagged and disjointed for repeated listening.

I'll take Grooveblaster, Purple Chick or any of the ones I posted here...but any "SMiLE" is a good one!


Anonymous said...

I think I like disjointed.

Argantonio said...

Along with RYAN's mix, these are the essential ones.