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Topic: Comp Reel

Wed, 14 Mar 2001 17:24:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: comp reel

Date: 03/14/01 04:34:20 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Comp Reel? Thanks!!

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Replying to:

Dude......Brad Elliott and Dez Jones said it best 'bout the comp reel. And I quote:

The first SMILE tape that got into the hands of collectors leaked in 1980. How do I know this? I was the one (with the help of Peter Reum) who turned it. It was a compilation of SMILE tracks that had been given to Byron Preiss when he was working on his authorized biography of the group in 1978. The track lineup is:

Do You Like Worms
Fire (no sound effects)
Fire (sound effects)
Can't Wait Too Long (three pieces)
Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine (no vocal)
the so-called "false" Barnyard (which Preiss described as a section of "H&V," but which current theory seems to point to as a tag for "OMP/Sunshine")

BTW, The master tape for that compilation is still in the Beach Boys' tape vault. It's a 1/4-inch tape labeled "The Fire Tapes," dated Oct. 2, 1978, and bearing a notation that it contains five songs.

The second SMILE tape turned about a year later. I can't say exactly when as I had no hand in that. The tape wasn't in circulation in mid-1981 when I finalized the text for my book, but it had surfaced by early 1982 when I wrote about the several tracks on it in the Winter 1982 issue of the old "Add Some Music" fanzine. The tracks on the tape were the session for "Holidays" and the session with the horn players that's commonly known as "George Fell."

The third SMILE tape to reach collectors surfaced in 1983 (again, I played no part in turning it). This tape is the one that is being described as a 1966 tape compilation, even a possible Side One. The reason that I don't think so is apparent when you see the complete track lineup:

Our Prayer (10/04/66)
Wonderful (10/6/66)
Cabin Essence (10/11/66)
Cabin Essence (12/6/66)
Child Is Father of the Man (10/12/66)
Do You Like Worms (no date listed)

See, there are TWO versions of "Cabinessence" on the tape! Both are incomplete (missing different elements), but I can't imagine that Brian would have included "Cabinessence" on any compilation tape TWICE. That just doesn't make any sense to me. What does make sense is that at some point later somebody compiled a tape of several 1966 rough mixdowns of SMILE tracks. Maybe the tape dates from 1968, when the Beach Boys were looking at finishing "Cabinessence" for the 20/20 album. Having both incomplete versions of that song would have been beneficial, as they each include different elements (vocals on one part in one version, vocals on another part in the other version). Or maybe they date from the 1972 assembly attempt (although that seems less likely to me, as they certainly would have used the finished 20/20 version of "Cabinessence"). Or maybe they date from the late 1970s or early 1980s when someone was rummaging through the tape vault. But I doubt they date from 1966. Of course, that's just my opinion and I could be wrong. I'd just like to see some more concrete evidence before we jump to a conclusion.

BTW, it's these tapes that formed the first two single-LP SMILE boots that appeared in the mid-1980s. The exploration of the BB's tape vault for the "American Band" documentary had not taken place yet.

Compare the mixes of "Wonderful" on the GV Box and the one from the December 1966 reels that I have been talking so much about. Then tell me what you think, are there any noticable differences?

"I Don't Know", but judging from the dates of the original tape box compiled in December 1966, and the mixdown of "Wonderful" dated October 6, 1966, which is the day Brian did the lead vocal, brings up an interesting situation. It seems possible that mix had Brian doing the multitracked backing vocals as well as the lead vocal. It's more than likely that he bounced the original August 4, 1966 session tape track tape down to one track of another 4 track machine on October 6, 1966 and then filled at least the remaining 3 tracks with his own vocals. Brad has stated something to this effect in his THE FACTS ABOUT SMILE article, "Here Brad!"

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Replying to:

Though I've been collecting BB stuff for more than a decade it's just recently it's starting to get fun, fun, fun, with all those lockers, napsters etc. Thanks guys!!!!

"Comp Reel" stuff keeps popping up every now and then - could someone please explain what "Comp Reel" is? (Sorry if this is old stuff, but I never saw it explained anywere).

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