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Messages - Kentucky Surfer

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DON'T YOU JUST KNOW IT / Re: random thoughts
« on: October 29, 2010, 09:59:16 AM »
I find the 1977 remakes to be a little "Chirpy" with not enough voices in the lower vocal range.  It just underscores the fact that Jan did not participate in these re-recordings.  I think he sang on some of the "Silver Summer" remakes, though.

I always try to seek out the original recordings by any 50's and 60's artist.  There are many artists who re-recorded their hits during the 1970s.  So a word to the wise...

Both Teen Suite and the reissue of the Dore album are class acts in the J&D reissue library. 

It is unfortunate that "Those Words" faced legal issues and had to be pulled from the market.  It is a classy recording with some great harmony by J&D.  I consider it one of their best performances from their doo-wop era.

Mark, is there much documentation in Jan's archives on the pre-Liberty era?  Will the pre-Liberty years also be part of your sessionography? 

My Landy, the things I learn reading these posts!

Speaking of "Summertime Summertime", is there any evidence that Jan participated in the "Our Gang" recording?  the "It's Summertime..." vocal doesn't quite sound like him.  Any facts or opinions on this one?

ALBUMS / Re: 1965 Folk 'n Roll
« on: May 03, 2010, 05:17:49 PM »
Very simply stated, this is my favorite Jan & Dean album. 

@jdman: I think you are right that Jan & Dean's coolness factor was on the wane, and that the TV show would have provided much needed exposure.  Another factor that should be considered is the contentious relationship between J&D and Liberty and Screen Gems.  I don't think Liberty exactly went all out to promote a release like "Folk & Roll".  And I think that albums like "Batman" and "Filet of Soul" were both outlets for J&D's comedic talents, but also a way to meet contractual requirements.  Jan was recording some great stuff, but I think the first album on the J&D label would have contained some great music.

@Mark A. Moore:  Appreciate your comments.  You obviously have closer knowledge of the situation than I.  Despite what you may think, I am not an apologist for Dean; I am a Phase II fan who enjoys the music and learning more about the stories behind the songs.  That Is why I am looking forward to your book. I thought Greene's book reflected well on everyone involved; this does not neccessarily make it a "whitewash" or "propaganda".  One point you made, about Jan's wishes to sing on stage and connect with the fans, was apparent in the book.  Another point, about Jan & Dean not spending a lot of time together outside of work, was also made in the book.

I am not surprised that the gigs are drying up.  Jan & Dean originated as an act 50 years ago.  And despite everything Dean Torrence, you, and all of us fans do, the fan base is shrinking, just as it is for lots of fifties and early 60's acts.  I think Jan & Dean were fortunate to have a successful run in the 80s and 90s.  Many other acts would have loved to had even that level of success, no matter how minimally financially rewarding it was. 

The essence of Phase II was that fans wanted to see Jan show the world that he did survive Dead Man's Curve.  I am glad that I had an opportunity to see them perform.  And regardless of Dean's motivation--financial, friendship, or his own desire to connect with the fans--I am glad that he and Jan were able to work together during Phase II .  My initial comments were a wish that Jan & Dean could have had the same type of understanding in 1967-68 that would have permitted both "Save For A Rainy Day" and ""Carnival of Sound" to be a real-time part of Jan & Dean's recording legacy instead of belatedly released and appreciated classics.

Interesting post, Relx1.

The friendship of Jan Berry and Dean Torrence obviously had many facets. 

If Jan had a complete disregard for Dean as a person, I think Jan & Dean as an act might have disappeared before they ever arrived at Liberty.  Remember, Jan released a solo recording in 1961, so Jan must have contemplated being a solo artist at that time.  I'm sure that Jan could have released recordings with multi-tracked vocals and marketed them under his own name--Neil Sedaka and Freddy Cannon, among others, did the same thing.

It is apparent that Jan was the primary creative force behind Jan & Dean.  Jan certainly accepted ideas from outside sources, such as Roger Christian, Brian Wilson, and others.  The extent of Dean's participation in the development of Jan & Dean's work apparently varied widely.  At times, it seems that he was just another instrument (voice) on the record. At others, it seems like he took a more active role.

So why did Jan & Dean remain together as an act?  The few examples that remain of their live performances (The Command Performance LP and the TAMI show), as well as the promos released on the "From Surf City to Drag City" set, showed that they had an entertaining on-stage persona.  It evoked the feeling of two old friends who needled each other and understood each other's inside jokes.

And, perhaps, Dean understood Jan's obsession with the music and yieded any role in the creative process for the music.  It has been said that Dean began to concentrate more on the visual and humor aspects of their act.  I am not sure if Jan really cared what the album covers looked like--he just wanted the record to be what he heard in his mind.  However, Dean seemed to appreciate that part of the business a bit. 

This certainly didn't mean that Dean possessed no musical ability.  Aside from the falsetto that marked their records, the live performances reveal  Dean harmonizing very well with Jan in these one-off performances.  So in that sense, Dean was an important part of the live act because they couldn't bring eight background vocalists to emulate what they did in the studio.

When April 1966 came along, I'm sure Dean felt the act was over in the blink of an eye.  However, maybe he felt like he should try to keep "the act" alive at least on record until the extent of Jan's recovery was known.  Maybe he felt that he owed his friend of many years a chance to resume their recording career. We already know about the difficulties the duo faced with Liberty and Screen Gems, and that the contract had just ended.  Add to this in the confusing days after the accident where Jan's parents apparently mistrusted Dean's motives and Liberty and Screen Gems unilaterally made decisions about Jan & Dean's releases, Dean may have felt his back was against the wall and that he should take the reins of "the act".

Once Save For A Rainy Day was completed, Dean could have released it as "Dean Torrence and Laughing Gravy" or whatever he wanted to call it, but that move would not have played well in the music world, as it would have represented Dean as deserting Jan in his time of trouble.  Even after the album was credited to Jan & Dean, Jan and his family apparently felt that Dean had deserted Jan.

It is apparent that Jan's recovery was fueled by his love of music and the desire to get back in the studio.  And one can see where Jan would have felt that the world had passed him by if Dean was now taking Jan's place in the studio, so to speak.

And perhaps Dean was disappointed that Jan did not show a little bit of appreciation for Dean's effort to keep "the act" going.  MAybe this is when he said, "Okay, I'm done!" and refused to participate. 

In the recently released Carnival of Sound, all of Jan's musical creativity is apparent.  However, an essential instrument is missing from many songs--neither Jan nor Dean's voice is heard.  In that one sense, Carnval of Sound is a lesser effort than Save for A Rainy Day.

There are a lot of sources that define Jan & Dean's Phase II career (post Deadman's Curve movie) as Dean's show.  There were a lot of difficulties in that era, many linked to Jan's physical issues and drug use.  However, Dean didn't give up on Jan after Jan cleaned up his act regarding drugs.  There was still a genuine friendship between the two.   

I highly recommend that you read Bob Greene's book "When We Get To Surf City" for an account of Jan & Dean on tour in the later years.  This book will refute your claim that their friendship was permanently shattered.

ALBUMS / Re: 1966 Jan & Dean Meet Batman
« on: May 02, 2010, 07:51:58 AM »
The musical snippets that Jan arranged and recorded for this LP are great.  I especially like the use of 12-string guitar, whcih moves Gotham City to the West Coast!

The vocals on Batman are yet another parody of "Surf City" (Gotham City, here we come!).

DON'T YOU JUST KNOW IT / Re: Jan's take on "Save For a Rainy Day"
« on: May 02, 2010, 05:01:45 AM »
I disagree with Ban & Bean that Save For A Rainy Day is different than the familiar J&D sound.  I think "Yellow Balloon", "Taste of Rain", and "Like A Summer Rain" all sound very J&D-like.   Any one of the ballds, sung by Dean, would have fit a J&D album.  There are just a lot of them on Save For A Rainy Day.  It kind of reflects Dean's mood in 1966. 

I think Mark is right on with saying that Jan's initial reaction would have been rage due to his frustration at not being able to make music.  Perhaps, in a calmer moment, Jan realized that Dean learned a lot from one of the best producers/arrangers around--Jan Berry. 

I think the legal angle would have been a secondary concern, perhaps voiced a little more strongly by Jan's family in the interest of ensuring Jan'spiece of the pie to pay medical bills.

Again, as stated in a separate post, it seems there were just too many people involved in these discussions.  Perhaps if Jan & Dean themselves had been able to have a calm discussion in late 1966, things would have evolved diffeently.

Actually, Carnival of Sound kind of fits both ends of Save For A Rainy Day.  If you lead off with the early version of "Girl You're Blowing My Mind". it sounds very similar to the arrangements on the Folk & Roll LP.  Then you move to "Only A Boy" and "Louisiana Man", which are Jan's final pre-accident productions.   This is where Save For A Rainy Day would fit in.  After the Save For A Rainy Day theme, then "Fan Tan" and the almost retro "Hawaii" would play well.  Then it would be time to start with "Carnival of Sound" as recorded in 1967-68.

I agree with Mark that there was enough music from this era to keep Jan & Dean on the charts.  However, all of the raw emotions from the various interests in J&D's career (i.e., Jan and his family, Dean, Screen Gems, Liberty, Columbia, Warner Brothers) made a bad situation even worse.

I often wonder what would have happened if Jan & Dean had tried to talk things out pretty soon after Jan got home from the hospital. I think they could have salvaged their recording career.

I think Carnival of Sound would have been much more authentic and stood a better chance of success if it had featured Dean instead of session singers.

CARNIVAL OF SOUND / Re: To balance out Carnival of Sound
« on: May 02, 2010, 04:30:04 AM »
I think "Only A Boy" would have been a great single release in the spring of 1966.  However, by 1968, the anti-war sentiment had grown so strong that this song would not have been successful.

If the contractual relationship with Liberty been in better condition in early 1966, we might have seen "Only A Boy" receive a timely release and achieve commercial success, fueled by interest in Jan after his accident.

CARNIVAL OF SOUND / Re: received my copy of carnival
« on: March 15, 2010, 03:42:46 AM »
Mark--thanks for the information.  I also found it interesting that "Girl You're Blowing My Mind" was finished in 1966.  Hope it is found.

« on: March 15, 2010, 03:40:39 AM »
Yep, saw it the other night.  All of the  performances were great.  It was cool to see our heroes singing "Little Old Lady".

CARNIVAL OF SOUND / Re: received my copy of carnival
« on: March 14, 2010, 09:08:03 PM »
I received the CD a couple of days ago.  I'll probably regret it, but I didn't buy the LP.  Here are a few random comments and observations I had after listening to it...

Cover Art:  A great cover by Dean.  I think it evokes the time period very well.

CD Label:  Love the reproduction of the "Jan & Dean" record label!

Booklet/Liner Notes:  Outstanding!  The detailed discussion of the recording sessions was very well done. This only makes me anticipate Mark's sessionography even more.  If the sessionography breaks things down to this level for Jan & Dean's entire career, it will set a high standard for rock & roll discographies for years to come.  The only other book I have seen written to this level of detail is the Ernst Jorgensen book on Elvis Presley's recordings.

Sound Quality: Crystal Clear!  It is great to hear songs like "Hawaii" with vocals in the clear.  All ofthe tracks  seem very alive.  The stereo mixes are excellent for hearing some of the details in the arrangements.

Commentary on the Album:     I agree with the concept of grouping the early 1966 tracks together on this collection.  The early track of "Girl You're Blowing My Mind" was quite consistent with Jan's arrangements on the "Folk & Roll" album (as Burton noted). There isn't a lot of difference between this track and "I Can't Wait To Love You"  (or "Rain Clouds Long Gone" on Save For A Rainy Day").  One could easily imagine this track being a possible flip for "Norwegian Wood".

The oldies tracks are well arranged and performed, but the session vocalists minimize the impact these might have made as actual Jan & Dean recordings in 1966.  (NOTE:  If I remember correctly, the Mark Thomas Passmore book mentions that Jan was planning an album of heavily orchestrated oldies.  Perhaps these tracks were intended for such a purpose.) I would have greatly enjoyed hearing these as backing tracks only.

"Only A Boy" is classic 1966 Jan Berry production.  It was obvious that he wanted this to be the first single on the new "Jan & Dean" label. I am not sure I hear Dean on this one.  It sounds to me like Jan multi-tracked his own vocals, much as he did on some of the tracks on "Folk & Roll".

I have always enjoyed "Love and Hate" and "Hawaii".  "Hawaii" is a nod to the surfing songs of 1963-64 in terms of vocal arrangements.  It would have fit very well on the "Ride The Wild Surf" LP.  The lyrics are a little more mature, in keeping with the times, but this is a great track in the Jan & Dean tradition.  It was always maddening to me to have the vocals buried in the mix.  I always presumed that had been done on purpose in the original releases to mask Jan's vocal limitations.  I definitely hear him singing on this one.  The only knock I put on this one is little too much sitar.

"Love and Hate" is another track that would have fit very well with "Only A Boy" and the other early 1966 productions.  The vocal arrangements are great on this. I always find myself singing this to myself for a day or two after I hear it.  This is a very Jan-like vocal which raises the question of who was best able to mimic Jan's vocal.  Would it be Tony Minichello of the Matadors on this?  Didn't Tony double the vocal with Jan on "Surf City"?  I really can't envision Glen Campbell being able to copy Jan's voice, as Glen sang in a little higher register.

"Fan Tan" and "Mulholland" are a couple of the "newer" tracks that I enjoy because they evoke a spirit of fun and the California lifestyle. It's great to hear clear vocals on "Fan Tan".  And I agree that it sure sounds like Dean clowning around with Jan on the end of the stereo mix of "Mulholland".

The remaining tracks ,on which Tom Bahler sings lead, sound so unlike Jan & Dean recordings that I really don't enjoy hearing them.  The spirit of fun is there on "Laurel and Hardy", but songs like "I know my mind" showcase Jan Berry the producer more than Jan Berry the recording artist.  It is truly unfortunate that Jan & Dean's relationship was so strained at this time that Dean couldn't have sang a few leads on the newer songs.  The result would have certainly demonstrated to the world that Jan & Dean were back and perhaps might have improved the chances of releasing the album.

All in all, though, I am thoroughly glad that I have this well-done collection.

CARNIVAL OF SOUND / Re: Cover Art by Dean Torrence
« on: March 13, 2010, 02:51:12 PM »
Great cover by Dean! 

CARNIVAL OF SOUND / Re: Carnival of Sound - Official Release on Rhino
« on: March 13, 2010, 02:49:40 PM »
Got the CD-only package in the mail yesterday.  Initial impression is that it sounds great.  Detailed comments to follow...

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