April 16, 2008

Kicking off the list of The Great White Shank’s “Seven Wonders of the Musical World” is “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”, released on “Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE” back in 2004.

Originally recorded for The Beach Boys aborted “SMiLE” album in the fall of 1966 – and original outtakes from the “SMiLE” sessions bear this out – this was no recent Brian Wilson creation by any means. Think about all the sounds the giants of the musical world circa ’66 (The Beatles, the Stones, Dylan) were creating at that time; consider the fruits of the flowering of the “West Coast Sound” by The Byrds, The Mamas and The Papas, etc. Listen to “Mr. Tambourine Man”, or “Monday, Monday”, the listen to “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” and be prepared to be BLOWN AWAY.

How to describe “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”? Experimental. Incendiary. Psychedelic. Paranoid. Claustrophobic. Quite simply, in my mind, the most innovative and incredible piece of music I’ve ever heard. Even after numerous listenings, it never fails to amaze and awe. First, a frenzied burst of percussion, whistles and toots percolate on top of a series of rolling piano/bass notes, creating an image of frenzied activity bubbling in intensity that ends in a single, dying whistle wheezing over a playful calliope organ. Then the explosion: fierce, pounding drums, wailing violins, fuzz guitar, and thumping bass, and strange harmonies combine and reverberate in a pulsating aural pastiche that conjures up a hellish firestorm of blazing heat, chaos, and destruction, resulting in one of the most amazing and strangest pieces of music to come out of the ’60s, if not ever.

The story goes that for the “fire” section, Brian wanted to create something that would not only sound like a raging inferno, but scare people as well. After the recording session, when a sudden rash of fires occurred around L.A. (one actually burning down a building located near the studio), he freak out to the point where, even if SMiLE had been released, it wasn’t 100% certain “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” would have even been included. After all, Brian reasoned, if he wanted fire, you didn’t have to do a huge blaze, you could do something soft and warm, like a candle – right? Whatever.

There’s really no other way to put it: if SMiLE had come out in 1967 with this incredible 2 1/2 minute piece of music, everything that would have followed – and that includes The Beatles’ celebrated “Sgt. Pepper” album – would have suffered in comparison. But that doesn’t diminish in any way the 2004 performance of the song. I defy you to find another song from late 1966 (or, for that matter, since then) that even comes close to “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” in technical brilliance, creativity, and aural originality.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:22 | Comments Off on One of the Seven Wonders – I
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info