Legendary recording artist Brian Wilson completed a new song, "Run, James, Run," at United Recording. The song is included in his new "Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology" compilation album.
"Brian is at the top of his game," said Wesley Seidman, a United staff engineer who has worked with Wilson for the past 10 years. "Brian is the consummate artist. His passion and artistic genius shine through in this up-beat track, which is reminiscent of the good times in his past. Brian's trademark flair for great harmony works magically in this song."
Wilson's eponymous solo debut for Sire in 1988 launched an extended period of renewal for the iconic Beach Boys co-founder and songwriter. Rhino revisits Wilson's solo career with a new 18-song collection that mixes studio and live recordings with two previously unreleased tracks: "Run, James, Run" and "Some Sweet Day," an unreleased gem he wrote with Andy Paley in the early 1990s for an unfinished recording project.
Explaining the vocal signal chain he employed for Wilson, Seidman said, "I usually use a vintage Neumann U-47 for Brian's vocals with a Soursound API 2312 customized mic-pre and a vintage Urei 1176 limiter. We do most of the processing on the way in while Brian is singing."
Matt Jardine, son of Beach Boys' co-founder Al Jardine, tours with Wilson and sings many harmony tracks on the new song.
"Because Matt sings so many different parts, I didn't want everything to sound the same," Seidman said. "We had a couple of different chains for him. One was an AKG C-12 with a Neve 1073 mic-pre and a Urei Blackface 1176 compressor/limiter. We also had the new Sanken CU-51 dual-diaphragm mic and that went through a channel of Soursound mic-pre and an 1176 limiter. Matt also used a Telefunken 251 with the Soursound and the Neve, depending on the part."
More than 30 vocal tracks were recorded for "Run, James, Run" and the harmony parts were all created by Wilson on the spot in the studio.
"Brian usually has an idea for a few parts before he goes to sing. He'll sing a part, do a couple of takes and change it, and then do another part or a few more parts to complement that particular track," Seidman said. "Later, he'll come up with additional parts for Matt to sing and he may also go back and create more parts for himself. I've never worked with anyone who works like Brian. He's pretty unique in the way he creates all these harmonies out of nowhere."
"Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology" covers more than 30 years of music with selections from nine of Wilson's solo albums and is available on CD ($13.98), double-LP ($31.98) and on digital download and streaming services.
Learn more at: http://www.brianwilson.com/
Photo and article by David Goggin.