Containing Multitudes Since 2004
LOVE Van Dyke Parks. Met in him 1975; he turned me on to the works of Louis Moreau Gottschalk. I recently visited Harry Nilsson's grave (it happens to be in my neighborhood); the first three notes to Harry's song "Remember" were etched on the stone by Van Dyke himself.That photo seems to be from the session that produced the "Song Cycle" cover.
My hero! I love this blog even more now.
Hey Brian! Get out of the sandbox so we can go write some songs.
I don't know if they're still making it -- easy enough to check I suppose -- but a few years back there was a lovely cartoon on HBO based on the Harold and the Purple Crayon books by Crockett Johnson. Simple and lyrical, with pretty, slightly quirky songs by Van Dyke Parks. I'd never heard of him because I'm uncultured.If you're a Van Dyke Parks fan, I recommend the show.
It would be nice if someone would collect his scattered miscellaneous releases, like the Datsun commercial music that was on one of the Warner Bros. samplers, and the singles from the mid-sixties. Plus who can forget his onscreen appearance as the bandleader in Altman's Popeye? Well, alright, most of us can, since it was a tiny part, but it was still cool to see him onscreen.
I think he also shows up as a lawyer in The Two Jakes (did he score that?). Just one scene, but nice to see him.
He did score The Two Jakes . . . but I never noticed him in it.
I think he's just in a courtroom scene, but it's hard to mistake that Mississippi draw. Looking at the IMDb, it seems he did some acting in childhood, he shows up in Charles Vidor's The Swan, and episodes of Kraft Television Theatre and Studio One.Also, plays the pianist Hoagy in Altman's Popeye and a bit part on Twin Peaks, not to mention "Dr. Weiner" in the movie Vibes.I see he scored Altman's The Company, maybe I should overcome my aversion to Neve Campbell and watch that one.
He was also the upstairs neighbor's kid,"Tommy Manicotti" on the Honeymooners.
For anyone who finds this comment, VDP has his own label now, Bananastan Records, and its three releases (plus a singles club venture) include a compilation of records that he worked on early in his career (arrangements, mostly), an album he produced in the '70s for the Esso Trinidad Steel Band (comes with a documentary DVD) and an album he produced for the legendary Mighty Sparrow in the '70s. All great stuff, of course.
@swac, thanks. I already have the album of arrangements on my wish list, but I hadn't known about the others and the Bananastan label.
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