Matthew Greenwald  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

“The album became a legend. Songs and beautiful musical fragments would emerge over the years, but Smile was to have been a whole musical direction, and the individual songs, taken from their natural surroundings, were deprived of what could have been a stunning collective emotional effort. The work had started with “Good Vibrations” and it had expanded with the help of a friend (Van Dyke Parks) Brian met on Cielo Drive. Now, a year later (1967), Smile was still a dream. Too much pressure. Too many drugs. Too much anticipation. Too little support. It was the end of an era.” - Byron Preiss (“The Beach Boys”/1979)

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  0 comments

LP mastering engineer Don Grossinger brought over two LP editions of Smile last week, test pressings from RTI used for the domestic Rhino release and a set from Pallas in Germany for the European market. Grossinger cut identical lacquers for both.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  1 comments

I was wrong. These four Frankenstein monsters created by Capitol in 1964 out of parts stripped from various UK originals sound fantastic and yes, revisiting them after decades of neglect and dismissal opened a floodgate of intense memories-for me my freshman year at Cornell- of my roommate at University Halls #3, of a dorm band fronted by a kid names Ozzie Ahlers, and their big hit “Master the Bate,” and especially where and when I bought each of these albums, and how I reacted upon hearing them. When I heard the fake stereo version of “I Feel Fine” for the first time in 3 plus decades I flashed on the first time I ever heard the song: on WKBW, Buffalo, which was a clear channel we could pick up on the AM radio at night in Ithaca. I remember who I was with when the song aired, what he was wearing and even how the dorm air smelled. Hearing these songs strung together in this order creates a totally different vibe than the one you get listening to the UK originals: more muscular, and justd plain more American. That's both the problem and the pleasure, however.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  1 comments

A collection of songs mostly written by fellow-Canadians is kind of a thin album concept in my book. Frank's Come Fly With Me-now there was a concept album! And Lang hasn't exactly chosen adventurously-you can probably name them all without having read the credits. Can it be that there are no obscure Canadian singer/writers worthy of our attention?

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  1 comments

Neil Young and Crazy Horse is either one of your life's great musical pleasures, or you just can't take the slop. Me? Beginning with Everybody Knows This is Nowhere I have eaten it up. If you haven't liked the combo before, this sprawling, loose-fitting “concept” album isn't likely to pull the trigger for you. Critical reaction was decidedly mixed, but who cares what critics think? Myself included.

Matthew Greenwald  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Wondermint vocalist/vibes/keyboardist Darian Sahanaja, a member of the Wondermints—Brian Wilson's live back-up group— speaks with Matthew Greenwald about his job as Brian Wilson's "musical secretary," and about the restoration and creation of Wilson's legendary Smile album for both live and studio presentation.

Bill Taylor, New York Musician magazine  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

This interview was conducted by New York Musician Magazine's Bill Taylor, and originally run there. We reprint it thanks to
the kindness or Mr. Taylor and his publication. Thanks also to Don Grossinger for gettting it for

BT: What was your participation on the project?

DG: I did all of the vinyl mastering and some of the QC work to make sure the test pressings were up to par.

BT: How did you get the project? I was recommended by Bob Ludwig who had mastered the CD for the project and Joe Gastwirt who had worked on many Beach Boys projects with Mark Linett. Bob didn't do it himself because he no longer has a lathe. This is the second project he's sent to me. He sent the Rolling Stones' remastering for vinyl work, the new SACD masters, to me as well.

BT: Did you do the whole Brian Wilson album or just a few selected cuts?

DG: It was more than the whole album, actually. The whole CD consists of three suites which are 47 minutes long in total. Each of the sections took one side of the album. The fourth side, which I EQ'd and mastered from scratch, consisted of bonus tracks. These were 4 instrumentals of some of the songs that were on the album as vocals. These tracks will only be on the vinyl release, not the CD.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

The door to the Velvel Records reception area opened a good dozen times while I awaited Ray Davies' arrival. There was a constant stream of FedEx and UPS delivery men, visitors, and Velvel workers. Each time it opened it could have been for Davies, but I knew it wasn't, though the door opened toward where I was seated, blocking my view of the entrant.

With a click of the knob and a rush of air, the door opened one particular time and I knew immediately it was Raymond Douglas Davies' entrance. I would have bet a hundred bucks and I would have collected. What told me? The panache with which the door flew open? The “vibe?” I don't know. I just knew it was Ray, and it was.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Muswell Hillbillies

Produced by Raymond Douglas Davies

Engineered by Mike Bobak

Compilation engineered by Mike Konopka at Toy Specialists

Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering

Konk/Velvel 63467-79719-2 (HDCD)

Music: 10

Sound: 9

Having gotten the madness and betrayal of the music business at least partly out of his system on Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, The Kinks' final Pye/Reprise release, Ray Davies returned to what he'd begun back in 1968 on The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the group's most beloved, though far from best-selling, album. Steeped in nostalgia for a Britain that was rapidly disappearing, ...Village Green looked back at an idealized past that may never have existed, but which Davies wanted to preserve - at least in song.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Back in 1998 KOCH licensed both the RCA and Arista Kinks catalogs from BMG. Ray Davies supervised and approved the transfer from two-track analog masters, which was accomplished using an Ampex ATR102 directly feeding a Pacific Microsonics Model One A/D converter running at 88.2k/24 bit PCM (bonus tracks were sourced from Ray's DAT tapes). The files were sent to Bob Ludwig's Gateway Mastering for final mastering, including HDCD encoding.