Moonlighting: Live at the Ash Grove - 8277

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Amazon.com Parks has always been a moonlighter, producing albums by Little Feat and Randy Newman, writing arrangements for U2 and Victoria Williams, and composing film scores. He's also recorded half a dozen albums on his own, but he's spent most of his career in the shadow of an early failed collaboration: his work as lyricist for Brian Wilson's epic '60s disaster, Smile. Moonlighting, a live recording taken from a 1996 performance, places him in the spotlight's full glare. There may be a 17-piece band behind him, but Parks sings (by his own admission badly) and plays piano throughout, displaying the personality a bitter environmentalist one moment, and then self-assured professor the next-that drives the album. Though he's lived in California since the '60s, Parks was born in Mississippi and even without the drawl he remains a Southerner. That he's a sentimentalist is evident in the Br'er Rabbit-inspired "Jump!" and "Hominy Grove," but he also has an intellectual's appreciation for the past. Occasionally, this leads him astray; listen to his stilted version of Uncle Dave Macon's old folk tune, "C-H-I-C-K-E-N." More often it feels right, especially on a lovely orchestral remake of John Hartford's "Delta Queen Waltz" and a pair of instrumentals inspired by the 19th-century New Orleans composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Moonlighting is a welcome anachronism, with its star reading a Robert Frost poem, singing a song about FDR's trip to the Caribbean before cruiseships, and reinventing Little Feat's "Sailin' Shoes" as a slide-guitar-and-strings art song. Between songs, Parks admits, "This isn't a franchise operation, folks." Thank God for that, not to mention Parks's thin voice and slightly misshapen heart. --Keith Moerer Product Description For over 30 years, Van Dyke Parks has been one of the most quietly influential figures in pop music. As producer, arranger and collaborator, he's contributed to landmark recordings by the Beach Boys and the Byrds, among dozens of others; as a recording artist, he's notable for a string of masterpieces featuring a complex mix of musical finesse and melodic invention. This album documents a rare live performance, backed by a 17-piece mini-orchestra. Highlights: "Orange Crate Art," "Sail Away," and "Sailin' Shoes."
ASIN: B000002NE9
VSKU: DBV.B000002NE9.G
Condition: Good
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