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SMILE

Smile


The white whale of '60s record-making, the Beach Boys' aborted SMiLE album gradually gained a legend that not only inflated its rumored importance and complexity, but gave credence to an odd notion -- that completing it, then or ever, was impossible. In truth, SMiLE should have been released and forgotten, reissued and reappraised, and finally remastered for the digital era and ushered into the rock canon ever since Brian Wilson halted work on it in May 1967 (after an exhausting 85 recording sessions). Instead, it languished in the vaults and remained the perfect record -- perfect, of course, because it had never been finished. Reports that the recording of "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" had caused a nearby building to burn down and whispers of "inappropriate music" gave it the character of a monster, one that cursed all those who approached it and claimed the heart and mind of its major participant. Wilson's love of "feels" -- short passages of cyclical music that could be overdubbed and rearranged countless times -- had made 1966's "Good Vibrations" the ultimate pocket symphony, but had also quickly spiralled into the instability that consumed him during its follow-up, "Heroes and Villains," projected to be the centerpiece of SMiLE.Happily, a new recording of SMiLE by Brian Wilson reveals the record as nothing more (or less) than a jaunty epic of psychedelic Americana, a rambling and discursive, playful and affectionate series of song cycles. Infectious and hummable, to be sure, and a remarkably unified, irresistible piece of pop music, but no musical watershed on par with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Wilson's masterpiece, Pet Sounds. For the first time ever, the program for SMiLE was compiled, after Brian Wilson first listened to the original recordings with his musical midwife, Darian Sahanaja of the Wondermints (which has long functioned as Wilson's live backing band), and then worked them into a live show and album recording. The work that evolved divides into three sections: SMiLE begins with Americana, which takes the dream of continental expansion from the old Spanish town saga of "Heroes and Villains" to the landing at Plymouth Rock and, finally, the end of the frontier at Hawaii; it continues with a Cycle of Life that progresses from the virginal grace of "Wonderful" to the simultaneous peak and decline of the creative life on "Surf's Up"; and ends with an environmental cycle called The Elements, which includes "Vega-Tables," (Earth), "Wind Chimes" (Air), "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" (Fire), and "In Blue Hawaii" (Water).Since Wilson himself was previously the most opposed to SMiLE appearing in any form, it's a considerable shock that this new recording justifies even half of the promise that fans had attached to it. Everything that Wilson and his band could control sounds nearly perfect. Every instrument, every note, and every intonation is nearly identical to the late-'60s tapes; one has to wonder whether vintage hand tools weren't acquired for "Workshop" and Paul McCartney wasn't flown in to add chewing noises to "Vega-Tables." (The players did, however, book time at one of Brian's old haunts, Sunset Sound, and utilized a '60s tube console to record their vocals.) No, the harmonies here aren't the Beach Boys' harmonies, and Brian's vocals aren't the vocals he was capable of 37 years ago, but they're excellent and (best of all) never distracting. Aside from the technical acumen on display, Wilson has also, amazingly, found a home -- the proper home -- for all of the brilliant instrumental snippets that lent the greatest part of the mystery to the unreleased SMiLE. Van Dyke Parks' new (or newly heard) lyrics fit into these compositions, and the work as a whole, like hand in glove. (The former instrumentals include "Barnyard"; "Holiday," which is here called "On a Holiday"; "Look," which is now "Song for Children"; and "I Love to Say Da-Da," which is now part of "In Blue Hawaii.") Most surprisingly,...

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: WEA CORP
  • UPC: 075597984620
HPB pick - Out of stock
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Track listings

  • 1. Our Prayer/Gee
  • 2. Heroes And Villains
  • 3. Roll Plymouth Rock
  • 4. Barnyard
  • 5. Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine
  • 6. Cabin Essence
  • 7. Wonderful
  • 8. Song For Children
  • 9. Child Is Father Of The Man
  • 10. Surf's Up
  • 11. I'm In Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop
  • 12. Vega Tables
  • 13. On A Holiday
  • 14. Wind Chimes
  • 15. Mrs. O'leary's Cow
  • 16. In Blue Hawaii
  • 17. Good Vibrations
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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