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Lee Marshall

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Reply with quote  #16 
I don't think Van Dyke does much in the way of singing here Scoots.  On his other solo lps?  Ya.  He has a very odd voice.  I bought his albums in order to support him after his noteworthy work with both The Beach Boys [Brian] and the Byrds.  The man has talents.
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curt lambert

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Reply with quote  #17 
Yeah, Brian is doing almost all of the vocals on OCA. There are a couple of other people singing back ground on 2-3 of the songs, but mostly it is Brian doing it all, stacking and layering. It was a major achievement and re-appearance by Brian back then. I played the crap out of that for a year or two. I haven't listened to it for a while. I too, loved the "demo" with Brian and VDP at the piano. I was surprised, as well, by the version that actually appeared on the cd. Love both versions. I love "Sail Away", "My Hobo Heart", "Wings Of A Dove" and "Summer In Monterey", especially. Great discussion.
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Debbie KL

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Reply with quote  #18 
I loved Orange Crate Art.  Brian's train whistle on "San Francisco" is worth purchasing the whole record.  But I also love "Wings of a Dove," and more.  If you like hearing Brian stacking his vocals, this record is great.  And I LOVE that stuff!
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HAL2591

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Reply with quote  #19 
Guitarfool, if you haven't yet, get your hands on VDP's 'Moonlighting' Live album. Van plays/sings a couple of songs from OCA - with a beautiful piano, real orchestra behind him. I recommend anyone here who has the slightest interest in VDP get this album. One of the best live albums I own. 

Like Lowbacca, I used to play OCA a lot several years ago. But it has been a while since I've heard it. I'll give it a spin today to refresh my memory. Great thread!

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guitarfool2002

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Reply with quote  #20 
I'll set the stage with my experience with the Orange Crate Art project and it might explain some of my earlier comments and feelings in general. Thank you - first - for getting a discussion started on this album. I need a fresh listen with fresh ears, and this discussion is the perfect way to get into it.

Imagine Fall 1995, I was in my last semester away from getting my degree, and a regular if not daily visitor to Tower Records, corner of Mass Ave and Newbury, Back Bay in Boston. Fully in the throes of my Brian Wilson obsession, those semi-glorious pre-web days when you had to actively seek out the good stuff, either by travel or by mail order. I think one friend of mine had internet access at that specific time, and it was mostly people chatting and trying to hook up with dates, to be quite honest. So seeking out Smile was by magazine, book, phone, and the old SASE for trade lists. And the cool record shops that offered the "imports" section, which was code for labels like Vigotone and GEMA and Yellow Dog, etc...the Boston shops had portable CD players with 'phones available to preview before buying. Which was good, because at 25 bucks a pop, some of the discs sounded bad.

So I walk in to Tower one day that Fall, and right at the revolving door entry was this, free for the taking as Tower's in-house magazine:

[_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_] 

I grabbed a copy, then went back and grabbed more in the next weeks. I only kept 2 copies, and gave the rest away to my fellow music friends through the years who i had been playing Smile and other great stuff for the past few years. "Check this out...".

Inside was a full multi-page article about van Dyke and Brian, OCA, and all the rest.

Also inside was a sidebar interview about Don Was and his work on the Brian documentary, and other projects. Also, Domenic Priore had a sidebar (with awesome color Jasper Daily photos) on making a Smile fan mix from available sources, with his running order. Also - a short sidebar from Lewis Shiner, whose "Glimpses" included Smile.

It was paradise for an obsessive like me. At that time, this was "new" reading and obsession material to pore over and discuss with the few who actually got what was going on.

I was almost speechless reading the Was article...when he mentioned Todd Rundgren and he were working on getting Brian to release the "36-odd hours or so of Smile material" (according to the piece) as an interactive CD-ROM to allow the fans to make their own Smile...essentially give the fans official access to what they had been cobbling together on cassette mix tapes for years and which was the heart of the fan mixer ethos.

Wow. Jaw dropped.

So this magazine sent me over the moon at just the right time in my timeline as a Smile obsessive, when there really wasn't all that much available in the public sphere. Fall 1995, seems like an eternity ago. I miss those days in many ways. Like opening a door and seeing the sunlight beaming through.



And...all of that set up an expectation for the Wilson/Parks collaboration on Orange Crate Art that I may have unfairly expected based on all of that stuff above. Expectations that high cloud your perception in a big way, it's hard to give something a fair airing with all of that backstory and excitement. Not to mention the performance of Brian and Van Dyke at the piano previewing the title cut.

Honestly, I was hoping for more of a songwriting contribution from Brian Wilson, along the lines of Smile. Instead it was Brian singing and stacking harmonies on Van Dyke's music. I had a hard time putting aside the expectations in order to truly absorb what the album was offering.

And it's been overdue for a relisten and a re-evaluation. Courtesy of this topic on this board, that time has arrived.

But the background of it...that's where my mind was at in Fall '95 walking into Tower and seeing that cover.

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skootz

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Reply with quote  #21 
my knee jerk reaction? VERY cerebral, kinda like Steely Dan, to cite one example...I generally prefer Music that goes TO the Heart; but for me, cerebral is OK occasionally...The harmonies/vocals are stunning IMO, reason enough to give it a chance to grow on me...I think it's significant that (if memory serves me correctly) Dr. L was still a part of Brian's Life...the recording of OCA began not too long after the collapse of SWEET INSANITY--I think...Brian's vocals seem "edgy" to me, like some of the SI outtakes I've heard on youTube...
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back home

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Reply with quote  #22 
I have always enjoyed OCA for the bright and happy nature of the material. Brian was coming back, slowly. Are the vocals 1970-quality? Nope, they're pretty scratchy and rough in places. But, in the actual OCA track--he's working hard, stretching his range back to his old falsetto levels, and the words and the lyrics are a delightful match. I'd enjoy hearing it again with his more improved voice today.
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Gretchen

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Reply with quote  #23 

Interesting comparison to Steely Dan...which at times in my life is a band I have LOVED, but I'd moved away from...

(Thinking of this being when Landy was still in the picture gives me an uneasy feeling, though chronologically, well, if that's where the facts lie, then I can't argue...watch Love & Mercy again recently, so that stuff is still raw in my mind and I hate to think of that period for Brian.)

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MaryNYS

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Reply with quote  #24 
Hi all,

I have yet to buy Orange Crate Art.  I know that a lot of fans have a horrid taste in their mouths and a sick feeling in their bodies when it comes to Landy.  The thing there is trying not to think of him or that time at all.  Another way of dealing with that is to be grateful to Melinda, Gloria and Peter for getting Brian away from him.  Most of all, think about the songs Brian sings that we like very much.  As much as we dislike that time period Brian and Melinda despise it more than we ever will or could.  It is great that Brain and Van Dyke were able to work together.   
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Lee Marshall

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Reply with quote  #25 
Ya Mary it's true that the Dr/Patient relationship was extra bad news...but......I think Landy was pretty much a piece of history by the time the OCA project came together.  Thankfully.

I agree with 'back home' that Brian's voice was still on the road to recovery when the album was recorded.  But it was all part of a process.  The change in Brian and his voice from the 2004 to the 2005 tours for BWPS was significant.  And then there's now.  He's come a long, LONG way.  OCA was a really pleasant springboard.

There are plenty of reasons to love it.

I hope Brian and Van Dyke will spend a little fix-up time regarding their friendship and THAT aspect of things.  Life gets shorter for all of us with each passing day.
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skootz

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Reply with quote  #26 
I definitely messed up the timeline, but what I meant when I referred to Van Dyke's voice was based on this:




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guitarfool2002

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Reply with quote  #27 
Brian was free and clear of Landy by the time he started working with Van Dyke on Orange Crate Art, so Landy had *nothing* to do with anything on or even surrounding that album.

Despite some misinformation that has come out through the years, as soon as Brian was free and clear of Landy he began doing what he wanted to do, which was write music and make music, and that included songs he had written for the Beach Boys.

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HAL2591

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Reply with quote  #28 


There is the version of 'Orange Crate Art' from his Moonlighting album. If the Orange Crate Art album were done in a similar production I can see it being widely considered a masterpiece.

I listened to part of the album today, and though I loved the songs, I feel like it could really use a better mix. The vocals and the backing instrumentals seem to be on two separate planes. Spread out the backing vocals a bit, put them down in the mix a little.

A huge standout for me is the song 'Palm Tree and Moon' - beautiful chord changes, lovely composition/arrangement, and great lyrics. Van Dyke and Brian need to collaborate more often.

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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #29 
Three different vocalizations of the song on page one - flip back.

I bring this up from time to time when Alan and Marilyn Bergman were interviewed and she said, in a perfect song the lyric sits right on the note. In OCA, the song, they do!

So Brian's coming out of the Landy years and four years later he's at the Roxy with his new wonderful band. Go figure.


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dancai

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Reply with quote  #30 
I said it then, and I say it now:  easily the best release of 1995.
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