Get Yer Fan Mixes!
SMiLE Fan Mixes - August 2004
By Ronnie

In February of 2004 Brian Wilson finally unveiled a live version of the mythical, long-lost Beach Boys album SMiLE. Recordings of numerous live shows immediately began to surface on the web. So it was only a matter of time that SMiLE-enthusiasts started making their own "SMiLE mix". Armed with the original SMiLE bootlegs from the '60s, tapes of the 2004 live shows and of course the "Rosetta Stone blueprint" of the live shows - these SMiLE fans attempted to recreate the 2004 SMiLE song order, using the original tracks from 1966-67.

I'm not going to pronounce a "winner", since this was not a contest. There are individual parts of each of these mixes that I like. But, until Capitol gets off their collective lazy asses and finally DO something with the original tapes - we have these fantastic re-creations of SMiLE.

To borrow an old line and change it around a bit: This is not SMiLE, but an incredible simulation!

DISCLAIMER: The following works that we review are in no way "bootlegs" made for profit or sale. Rather they are simple fan mixes meant to be a tribute to the artistry of Brian Wilson.

SMiLE mix by Paul Steel

The problem plaguing this mix is the fidelity: there are various volume jumps and some of the song edits are not as smooth as they could be. However, those are minor flaws to an otherwise enjoyable version of a SMiLE mix (besides, they can be fixed in future versions). I like the conservative use of live segments of SMiLE with the original tracks, therefore sticking to the creed of using as many of the original tracks as possible. For example, the original "Look" track is used with the live segment only used for a transition. "Holidays" is the original until it gets to the "whispering winds" section, which is live. "Love to Say Da Da" combines both the original and the live.

There are two things that make this version interesting. First, the segue way from "OMP/You Are My Sunshine" is very smooth indeed. Second, is a version of "Good Vibrations" that follows the live version closely, using the original lyrics.

Although not perfect, this mix is not bad at all!

SMiLE mix by Jason Penick

Jason's mix is essentially an attempt to copy Brian and Van Dyke's 2004 live SMiLE, but using only the original Beach Boys sessions, with no live tracks used. The only additions were some editing and multi-tracking. Essentially, the Jason mix goes for historical accuracy. This works great in some areas (the edit between the original "Holidays" and "whispering winds" is cool!), but in other areas not so great (the sound on the "I'm In Great Shape" edit is 'muddy').

Also, the mix is completely in mono, which is a nice touch. The version of "Good Vibrations" is the original version (If SMiLE had been released in '67 isn't that the version that would have been used?).

This is a great effort of using only authentic tracks. Purist are gonna dig this version!

SMiLE mix by the Grooveblaster

The Grooveblaster's SMiLE mix is probably the most "professionally" done mix out of all that I heard. Using a combination of original studio tracks and segments from the live shows, this mix's ultimate goal seemed to be "continuity", following the live version as closely as possible. Thus, the use of a large amount of live tracks to help the flow of the songs mimick the live show. However, the inclusion of the live tracks is expertly grafted to the original studio tracks, with no loss or jumps in sound quality.

"Heroes & Villains" is a great version using many original sources. "Do You Like Worms" combines verses from the live show with the studio track. A nice little touch was the adding of the "hey mister" line of the live "Cabinessence" to the 20/20 track! Although, he relies a bit too much on the live tracks for my personal tastes, the Grooveblaster SMiLE mix is the strongest recreation of how SMiLE would have sounded in 1967.

All in all, a great version which combines the 2004 SMiLE with those classic original tracks with superior fidelity!

The Grooveblaster also supplied me with a list of his sources:

Prayer- 20/20
Gee - Project Smile
H&V - Smiley Smile Stereo 45 mix from Hawthorne combined with Cantina version
Transition - from 2/20 show
DYLW - combined verses from 2/24 show with stereo mix of 66-67 era studio recordings
Barnyard - 2/24 show
OMP - stereo mix of 66-67 era studio recording
Cabinessence - 20/20 with the addition of 'hey mister' from 2/24 show

Wonderful - Box set
Look - 2/24 show
CIFOTM - 66-67 era studio combined with verse from transition from 2/20 show
Surf's Up - Surf's Up

Great Shape - 2/24 show combined with Hawthorne demo
I Wanna Be Around - 2/20 show
Woodshop - 66-67 era studio
Vegetables - 66-67 era stereo mix
Holiday - 2/24 show
Wind Chimes - Box
Fire Intro - 66-67 era studio
Fire - 2/24 show
Water Chant - 2/24 show
Blue Hawaii - 2/24 show
Transition - 2/20 show
Prayer reprise - 20/20 edit
Good Vibrations - stereo version with 'hum dee dum' section edited in.

Wanna learn more about SMiLE?
Click here to visit the official Brian Wilson web site
Click here to visit the Smile Shop web site