Title - 'Orange Crate Art' [2CD]
Artist - Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks
For those not in the know, in 1966, when Brian Wilson prepared the follow up to his masterpiece Pet Sounds, he employed the services of Mississippi born Van Dyke Parks as lyricist for The Beach Boys next album, SMiLE.
As history would soon document, SMiLE became the most famous unreleased album in rock history, it’s “completion” not seeing daylight until a Grammy®-award winning box set in 2012.
SMiLE’s original plan was to incorporate many different elements of American music in an avant-garde fashion, its musical format leaps and bounds ahead of anything that existed contemporaneously.
As SMiLE quickly grew in legendary terms, Brian and Van Dyke each went their separate musical ways, only to reunite briefly in 1972 for The Beach Boys classic 'Sail On Sailor.'
So it was perhaps with great apprehension and excitement that these two musical giants should finally reunite in 1994 for some unfinished business.
This time, however, the mission would be complete. The musical terrain familiar - a paean to California - Omnivore Recordings has just released (June 19th, 2020) the 25th anniversary special edition of Orange Crate Art by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.
By 1994, the roles had been reversed and it was Van Dyke who coaxed Brian into the studio to be the singer of nearly a dozen new songs he had written as a tribute to his home away from home.
Parks writes in the liner notes, “Though my roots are somewhere else, far away, my limbs are here in Southern California (for) it's here that I have struggled desperately for a sense of place."
Orange Crate Art is a continuum of that which stood, freeze-frame, at the release of SMiLE.
Twenty-five years on, this album which sounds like nothing before or since, has been majestically re-mastered by multi-Grammy® award winner Michael Graves.
1. 'Orange Crate Art'
2. 'Sail Away'
3. 'My Hobo Heart'
4. 'Palm Tree and Moon'
5. 'Wings of a Dove'
6. 'Summer in Monterey'
7. 'San Francisco'
8. 'Hold Back Time'
9. 'My Jeanine'
10. 'Movies Is Magic'
11. 'This Town Goes Down at Sunset'
13. 'Rhapsody In Blue' (Outtake)
14. 'Our Love Is Here To Stay' (Outtake)
15. 'What A Wonderful World' (Outtake)
The first disc opens with the lush, harmonious magnificence of the title track and that is backed by the finger-snappin' melodies of 'Sail Away,' the mid-tempo pop of 'My Hobo Heart,' and then the summers breezes of both 'Wings of a Dove' and the magnificent 'Palm Tree and Moon.'
The beautiful 'Summer in Monterey' is followed by the early '70s pop sensibilities of 'San Francisco,' then comes the gentle hipsway of 'Hold Back Time,' and then the melodious, Appalachia love song, 'My Jeanine.'
With people down the years having incorrectly assumed that because Brian Wilson's name is listed first, this is a Brian Wilson album -- it really isn't -- Van Dyke Parks ensures throughout to make it his own, sure, especially during the snatches of Americana in words and melody, but its the harmonizing from Brian Wilson that truly brings the songs together.
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the sweet-sounding, shoulder dip and sway of 'Movies Is Magic,' with the original album rounding out with the storytelling of 'This Town Goes Down at Sunset,' and closing on the stirring arrangements of the longest track, the simply divine orchestrations of 'Lullaby.'
Complete now with outtakes of 'Rhapsody In Blue,' 'Our Love Is Here To Stay' and 'What A Wonderful World,' and with the second disc housing a generous collection of eleven instrumental versions, this is finally the ultimate edition of Orange Crate Art that their fans have been collectively waiting for.
1. 'Orange Crate Art' (Instrumental)
2. 'Sail Away' (Instrumental)
3. 'My Hobo Heart' (Instrumental)
4. 'Wings of a Dove' (Instrumental)
5. 'Palm Tree and Moon' (Instrumental)
6. 'Summer in Monterey' (Instrumental)
7. 'San Francisco' (Instrumental)
8. 'Hold Back Time' (Instrumental)
9. 'My Jeanine' (Instrumental)
10. 'Movies Is Magic' (Instrumental)
11. 'This Town Goes Down at Sunset' (Instrumental)
Orange Crate Art is available on vinyl for the very first time and the deluxe CD package contains three previously-unreleased bonus tracks as well as instrumental track versions of 11 of the album’s songs.
Official Purchase Links
Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks 'Orange Crate Art' Music Trailer