Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Beach Boys:

Their Big Changeover to Heavy Kid Music and What It Really Means (Soon Magazine - 1974)

by Georgie Brocade (Randal High) & Michael Drink (Bill Reed)


G: You need to know the context which is that Michael and I are at least part time rock fan writers whose specialty (together) is the Beach Boys. We've both been into them for years and years. And we're both entering our 30's. Age is important here because Michael and I and the Beach Boys are all 30, and we have the same ears. Ideally age shouldn't matter but it does because something happens as you mellow out gracefully (age), namely you get crafty about conserving energy. Agewise, also there is now a generation gap within the alternate culture. I hate to use those ugly terms but it's true. It has to do with how accumulated experience was ordered. Musically, if you're thirty, you grew up before records were carefully crafted by machines. Growing up in the forties the radio played such awful simple singles--- a singer with a band---and the lyric contest was nil. But mainly it was nearly live. No overdubbing or sweetening. It went back to the tradition of parlor singing in the days before radio. It's still around. Dinah Shore and Perry Como are thus explained: it's parlor right in your own living room and it's not important for the music to be high-powered. Parlor is polite and everybody does a turn no matter how clumsy and all is forgiven. Dean Martin holding a drink in his hand does it and doesn't know it. (Parlor is revived, thank god, by kids sitting around with guitars.) After that, music wasn't parlor but talentshow. With talentshow if you didn't have it you just gave up and didn't make any music. Talentshow explains Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli. But don't forget parlor and singing and playing right there in your own living room, except Kate Smith who was somewhere between parlor and concerthall. And Liberace somewhere between concerthall and a DREAM. In the early fifties, just before rock, there came a big change. Patti Page and Les Paul and Mary Ford overdubbing. Patti Page single-handedly moved 45s from parlor to an item on the juke box. Wasn't there even an explicit song about this, "Jukebox Saturday Night" ?

M: And don't forget Gale Storm's “Love By The Juke Box Light” even though it doesn't help extend your ontological exegesis of pop music evolution. By the way, Georgie, the recent Beach Boys concert we went to together at Carnegie Hall was way too loud and muddy-sounding. Now I understand what kind of tsuris I put my family through in the fifties when I cranked my record player up to “11” playing Little Richard and Chuck Berry. I am, happy however, with the recorded symmetry of “Good Vibration” and “Please Let Me Wonder.” The Carnegie set, though, was almost enough to make me want to return to the relatively duddy Ms. Joni James and her 1954 hit “Purple Shades” (as opposed to “Purple Haze”).

G: Also, thank god, on the fifties juke box was Sarah Vaughan who secretly let you know about healing waters and magic oils and nether regions of one's body---in a word, black music, which moved in with the arrival of rock, rhythm n' blues, rock and roll. So this is the context of me, Michael and the Beach Boys. I love the BB's music shamelessly and all-forgivingly because of the beautiful studio crafting, and because of the angelic voices, clean and innocent. I love to count the tracks. I love to decipher the maze of fifty-part har-mo-nee.

My web site

No comments: