Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle/Discover America/Clang of the Yankee Reaper (3 stars)

First three 60s-70s vintage solo albums reissued

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Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle/Discover America/Clang of the Yankee Reaper

(Bella Union)

Until its completion and re-release last year, lyricist and songwriter Van Dyke Parks’ best-known work – the co-composed Beach Boys album Smile – had never seen the light of day. As such, his first three 60s-70s vintage solo albums are now the work of a maverick who’s remembered only by real connoisseurs, even though the first, 1968’s Song Cycle, was one of the most expensive produced at the time, a grand sweep of old-style orchestral Hollywood film scores (Parks’ old job) blended with a peculiar note of LSD-abetted mania. Discover America (1972) and Clang of the Yankee Reaper (1975) would go on to explore a fascination with calypso; the former is somehow richer than the bland country-rock dynamic of the latter.

Van Dyke Parks - Riverboat

Van Dyke Parks - By the People (Song Cycle, 1968)

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