A Whiz Kid With His Head Full of Drugs

Van Dyke Parks’ first album is a wild and ambitious attempt at modernizing all kinds of classic American musical styles in the context of modern pop music, the perfect making for an utterly bizarre and beautiful album. Having grown up in the South, studying music in the North and then heading out West to make a career for himself he’s able to cover a lot of ground rather seamlessly but the goal of this album was not sheer regurgitation and faithful interpretation. This becomes clear within the first song were put his album title Song Cycle to quick work moving from style or genre every few minutes. The filter through which all this nostalgia is funneling through is a young genius with an appetite for psychedelics and plenty of resources from big contracts from big labels. The kid’s got the world at his finger tips and he’s going for the gusto. The album came out in 1968, not long after he ended his collaboration with our ol buddy Brian Wilson, with whom he was helping flesh out some ideas for Brian’s big opus, Smile. I’ve heard rumors Mr. Parks was not much help with Brian’s drug problem, they must have none the less ended on good terms as the reconnected to finish up Smile in 2004. Also, if you ever have the chance to jam this album while driving through some dusty southern california town, i recommend it highly.

Download: Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle

Some sample lyrics as well…

What’s up Laurel canyon, hay.

What is up in Laurel Canyon the seat of the beat to greet and eat at the heart of their companion way.

That’s up Laurel Canyon.

And what is up the Canyon will even eventually come down.

also this silly video:

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: