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Pet Sounds: In Mono
Pet Sounds: Mono II
Pet Sounds: In Stereo!
The Pet Sounds Sessions
Pet Sounds Live
Pet Sounds Live II

The Boxed Set

Pet Sounds Sessions
Brian Wilson and Mike Love

 Why it took so long, for  The Pet Sounds Sessions, a four-CD set (Capitol C2-37662) devoted to that most astonishingly, unearthly beautiful of all the Beach Boys albums, to be released is anyones guess, but it was finally  released in late 1997 after more than a year of delays.

Was it worth the wait?Without a single reservation, YES!. Pet Sounds, mono mix and the record company indifference notwithstanding, has been hailed for years as one, if not the, seminal Sixties recordings, an album you simply could not go through life without owning. We still have our  copy on vinyl: the original Capitol issue (T 2458, 1966) , and also Capitol's original CD reissue (CDP 7 48421-2, 1990). The new box set, though, makes all the previous re-issues utterly irrelevant.

Stereo fans will rejoice at the first-ever true stereo mix, from the original session tapes. A few last-minute changes made to the original mono master aren't reflected on the session tapes, so it's Brian Wilson instead of Mike Love on the bridge of "Wouldn't It Be Nice", and Carl Wilson instead of Brian at the beginning of the fade of "God Only Knows", but all the instruments are intact, and engineer Mark Linett ignores all of the Nineties studio trickery to produce a remarkable simulation of an actual Sixties mix, with percussion to the sides and lead vocals centered, and  that's just the first forty minutes or so. The rest of the first disc, and all of the second, is taken up with actual segments from the session tapes and the final versions (in stereo) of the instrumental tracks. The Beach Boys had long since ceased to play on their own records, so what you hear is Brian Wilson giving instructions to some of the top L.A. session musicians, and getting back something that bordered on symphonic: Spector's Wall of Sound without the murk. There were many retakes, mercifully not all included here the final version of "You Still Believe in Me" is take 23 but eventually Brian got what he wanted.

Which brings us to Disc 3 and "Stack-O-Vocals", the eleven final vocal tracks in stereo. The depth of Brian's voice arrangements was at least equal to the intricacy of his instrumental arrangements, and without accompaniment, it becomes apparent that the Beach Boys could really sing not that there was ever much doubt. The disc is filled out with alternate versions, different vocals over the finished instrumental tracks, and a couple of anomalies, most notably a completed "Caroline, No" somewhat slowe than the version we know. Apparently it was Murry Wilson's idea to speed up the track before release, presumably to make Brian sound younger, and Brian, in this case, deferred to his father.

Finally, on the "bonus disc", comes a newly-remastered but not remixed version of the original album in mono, from apparently better source tapes. Certainly it makes Capitol's 1990 CD, also engineered by Mark Linett (with Larry Walsh), sound like it was recorded in a closet, which proves: (1) Linett is getting better at this; (2) the technology is improving as well; (3) there is still no substitute for good master tapes.

Two booklets containing more than you ever wanted to know about Pet Sounds and its participants are also included. David Leaf's excellent notes from the 1990 disc are carried over and updated as appropriate. An interview with Paul McCartney, an avowed fan of the album, dropped from the earlier package before shipping, is included here as well.One of the real treasures among the printed material here, is a week's worth of Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury, from May 1990, in which Andy dies happy, now that Pet Sounds is out on CD. Andy is no longer with us, and neither are Carl or Dennis Wilson, but we know that they'd be pleased with this box set that is,shall we say.....here today

Love and Mercy

The Pet Sounds Sessions: Track Listing:

Disc 1: The Stereo Mix

Wouldn't It Be Nice
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher-M. Love)
You Still Believe In Me
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)
That's Not Me
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)
Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)
I'm Waiting For The Day
  (B. Wilson- M. Love)
Let's Go Away For Awhile
  (B. Wilson)
Sloop John B
  (Trad. Arranged by B. Wilson)
God Only Knows
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)
I Know There's An Answer
  (B. Wilson-T. Sachen-M. Love)
Here Today
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)
Pet Sounds
  (B. Wilson)
Caroline, No
  (B. Wilson-T. Asher)

Sessions - Part 1

Sloop John B (Highlights from tracking date)
Sloop John B (Stereo backing track)
Trombone Dixie (Highlights from tracking date)
Trombone Dixie (Stereo backing track)
Pet Sounds (Highlights from tracking date)
Pet Sounds (Stereo track without guitar overdub)
Let's Go Away For Awhile (Highlights from tracking date)
Let's Go Away For Awhile (Stereo track without string overdub)
Wouldn't It Be Nice (Highlights from tracking date)
Wouldn't It Be Nice (Stereo backing track)
Wouldn't It Be Nice (Stereo track with background vocals)
You Still Believe In Me (Intro session)
You Still Believe In Me (Intro master take)
You Still Believe In Me (Highlights from tracking date)
You Still Believe In Me (Stereo backing track)

Disc 2: Sessions - Part 2

Caroline, No (Highlights from tracking date)
Caroline, No (Stereo backing track)
Hang On To Your Ego (Highlights from tracking date)
Hang On To Your Ego (Stereo backing track)
Don't Talk (Put You Head On My Shoulder) (Brian's instrumental demo)
Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) (Stereo backing track)
Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) (String Overdub)
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times (Highlights from tracking date)
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times (Stereo backing track)
That's Not Me (Highlights from tracking date)
That's Not Me (Stereo backing track)
Good Vibrations (Highlights from tracking date)
Good Vibrations (Stereo backing track)
I'm Waiting For The Day (Highlights from tracking date)
I'm Waiting For The Day (Stereo backing track)
God Only Knows (Highlights from tracking date)
God Only Knows (Stereo backing track)
Here Today (Highlights from tracking date)
Here Today (Stereo backing track)

Disc #3: Stack-O-Vocals

Wouldn't It Be Nice
You Still Believe In Me
That's Not Me
Don't Talk
(Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
I'm Waiting For The Day
Sloop John B
God Only Knows
I Know There's An Answer
Here Today
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
Caroline, No

Alternate Versions

Caroline, No (Promotional Spot #1)
Wouldn't It Be Nice
You Still Believe In Me
Don't Talk...
(Vocal snippet)
I'm Waiting For The Day (Mike sings lead)
Sloop John B (Carl sings first verse)
God Only Knows (Sax solo)
Hang On To Your Ego
Here Today
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
Banana & Louie
Caroline, No
(Original speed, stereo mix)
Dog Barking Session (Outtakes)
Caroline, No (Promotional Spot #2)
God Only Knows (With a capella tag)
Wouldn't It Be Nice
Sloop John B
(Brian sings the lead througout)
God Only Knows (Brian sings lead)
Caroline, No (Original speed, mono mix)

Bonus Disc

The Pet Sounds album, the original mono mix, re-mastered in 1996

Wouldn't It Be Nice
You Still Believe In Me
That's Not Me
Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
I'm Waiting For The Day
Let's Go Away For Awhile
Sloop John B
God Only Knows
I Know There's An Answer
Here Today
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
Pet Sounds
Caroline, No

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