Van Dyke Parks // Various Reissues
Joe Woolmer raises a wry eyebrow to the reissues of Brian Wilson-collaborator Van Dyke Parks
Van Dyke Parks
Song Cycle / Discover America / Clang of the Yankee Reaper
Known best for his involvement with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Van Dyke Parks this month re-releases his first three solo albums.
968’s ‘Song Book’ gave the impression of being almost a precursor to the ‘mash-up’. However, using an eclectic range of genres is one thing, but arranging them in an audibly agreeable and coherent fashion is a tougher proposition - one that seems to have escaped the abilities of Parks.
‘Discover America’ introduces a huge West Indian calypso influence after Parks had spent time in Trinidad & Tobago. This is a refreshing twist to the dishwater of ‘Song Cycle’ with tracks ‘Jack Palance’ and ‘Occapella’ adding some much needed sunshine, before the album dissolves into mediocrity.
The third LP is thankfully more listenable and continues the calypso theme; adding flavours of The Buena Vista Social Club, an act Parks himself has worked with. Despite this however, perhaps just like Agent Orange and sexism in the workplace, some things are best left in the 60s.