Rough Trade recommends: Van Dyke Parks, Songs Cycled

Rough Trade Recommends Van Dyke Park's Songs Cycled

If there was any justice in the music world VDP would be a household name.

He is probably best known for his work with Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s once mythical Smile project having helped to produce Good Vibrations, but since then he has made 7 albums and a wide range of soundtracks and film scores.

His first solo album was Song Cycle (1968), perhaps unfairly known as one of the most expensively produced albums of that time, although its combination of New Orleans jazz mixed with almost psychedelic pop and folk gained rave reviews and it subsequently became a true cult classic.

Following that he made Discover America, to my mind one of the best albums ever made; it combines calypso, classic American songbook from the whole of the 20th century,and soundtracks into a marvelous mishmash of proto world music.

After this he concentrated on film soundtracks, most notably Popeye, which he made with his old friend Harry Nilsson. Songs Cycled is his first new material since 1995′s Orange Crate Art and originally icame out as a series of very limited (and expensive!) seven inch singles. I think that VDP himself says it best: “there’s a maverick on the loose, with a highly personal set of tunes and instrumentals.

All of them reveal an iconoclast tilting at windmills, railing at tyrants, barking at masters of war, and celebrating a shameless commitment to the very definition of Americana”. Genius.

Nigel House, Co-founder, Rough Trade record shops.

Buy Songs Cyled on vinyl
Buy Songs Cyled on CD

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