"Cabinessence" (alternately spelled "Cabin Essence") is a song written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks for the American pop band The Beach Boys. It was released on their 1969 album "20/20". It was originally intended for release on the 1967 album "SMiLE", a project Wilson scuttled then resuscitated and finally released in 2004.

Brian Wilson claims that he and Van Dyke Parks wrote the song along with "Heroes and Villains" "Wonderful" and "Surf's Up" in a giant sandbox with a piano in it that Wilson had built in his living room. Perhaps the most notorious line from the song is "over and over, the crow cries uncover the cornfield" which allegedly caused Mike Love to question Van Dyke Parks' lyrics and the entire direction of the Smile project. The song contains a majestic Beach Boys harmony segment in which the group repeats the line "Who ran the iron horse?" presented in such a way that the group gives the impression of a locomotive.

There are some unclear vocals in the last "iron horse" segment. Here is a list of the lyrics corresponding to the ten iterations of "Who ran the iron horse?" being sung underneath the main melody.

:Who ran the iron horse? (Truck drivin' man, do what you can.):Who ran the iron horse? (High-tail your load off the road.):Who ran the iron horse? (Out of night life, it's a gas, man!):Who ran the iron horse? (I don't believe I gotta grieve.):Who ran the iron horse? (In and out of luck.):Who ran the iron horse? (With a buck and a booth.):Who ran the iron horse? (Catchin' on to the truth.):Who ran the iron horse? (In the vast past, the last gasp.):Who ran the iron horse? (In the land, in the dust, trust that you must.):Who ran the iron horse? (Catch as catch can.)

An interesting instrumental version can be found on the Beach Boys' 1993 "Good Vibrations" box set. The song was re-recorded by Brian Wilson's band and released on his 2004 version of "SMiLE".


*"Written by:" Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks
*"Album:" 20/20 / SMiLE
*"Time:" 3 min 34 sec
*"Produced by:" Brian Wilson


20/20 Version:
*"Carl Wilson:" Lead Vocals
*"Mike Love:" Lead Vocals
*"Carol Kaye:" Electric Bass
*"The Beach Boys:" Background Vocals

SMiLE Version:
*"Brian Wilson - Lead Vocals, and keyboards
*"Scott Bennett - vocals, keyboards
*"Nelson Bragg - vocals, percussion
*"Jeffery Foskett - vocals, guitar
*"Probyn Gregory - vocals, banjo
*"Jim Hines - drums
*"Bob Lizik - bass
*"Paul Mertons - saxophone, harmonica
*"Taylor Mills - vocals, percussion
*"Darian Sahanaja - vocals, keyboards
*"Nick Walusko - vocals, guitar
*"Stockholm Strings 'N' Horns

See also

*The Beach Boys
*SMiLE 1966
*SMiLE 2004
*List of songs by The Beach Boys

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