Discover America

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Van Dyke Parks is one of a handful of artists possessing a purity of vision that graces every project he is involved with. Very few could pull off an album titled Discover America -- with all the themes and motifs befitting such a moniker -- done entirely in the style of the Caribbean, most specifically Trinidad circa the 1940s. The songs weave together in a sonic tapestry that connects the untiring Yankee spirit of ingenuity with the opulence and romanticism of the islands. While tomes could easily be devoted to dissecting the album's multiple layers of meaning, to call it an eclectic masterpiece of multicultural Americana might be a start. While the contents of the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Van Dyke Parks is one of a handful of artists possessing a purity of vision that graces every project he is involved with. Very few could pull off an album titled Discover America -- with all the themes and motifs befitting such a moniker -- done entirely in the style of the Caribbean, most specifically Trinidad circa the 1940s. The songs weave together in a sonic tapestry that connects the untiring Yankee spirit of ingenuity with the opulence and romanticism of the islands. While tomes could easily be devoted to dissecting the album's multiple layers of meaning, to call it an eclectic masterpiece of multicultural Americana might be a start. While the contents of the album as a whole are tropical in flavor, there are numerous examples of Parks' trademark swaddling arrangements and unique perspectives -- such as odes to his favorite vocalists "Bing Crosby" and the marvelous "The Four Mills Brothers". Just as he had done with the "Bicycle Rider" suite on Brian Wilson's Smile, Parks has the uncanny ability to incorporate various active musical story lines at once. "John Jones," for example, is the saga of a pioneer-era gunslinger set to a laid-back reggae beat. This brilliant technique is likewise incorporated into "FDR in Trinidad" -- featuring the distinct instrumental backing of Little Feat replete with electric guitar punctuations from fret master Lowell George. The band is flawless in their interpretation of Parks' quirky and addictively potent chord changes. The sheer breadth of musical approaches on Discover America may take the uninitiated a few listens to truly absorb. These idiosyncrasies range from the artificially added vinyl surface noise heard during the diminutive opening track "Jack Palance" -- which mentions the actor's name in referring to a woman who shares the same facial features yikes! -- to the irony and humor-laden saga of the crime-fighting "G-Man Hoover." Another track worth mentioning is the spoken-word "Introduction," in which presumably Parks portrays a bus tour-guide. The heavy and purposeful tape editing is highly reminiscent of Captain Beefheart's "The Dust Blows Forward ..." or the introduction to "Pena" from his epic Trout Mask Replica. Discover America is a pop music history lesson that is without question one of the lost classics of the early '70s. Likewise, it may as easily have been several decades ahead of its time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2003
  • Label: Sundazed Music Inc.
  • UPC: 090771514110
  • Catalog Number: 5141

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Jack Palance (0:59)
  2. 2 Introduction (0:27)
  3. 3 Bing Crosby (2:21)
  4. 4 Steelband Music (2:11)
  5. 5 The Four Mills Brothers (1:28)
  6. 6 Be Careful (2:48)
  7. 7 John Jones (3:08)
  8. 8 FDR in Trinidad (2:27)
  9. 9 Sweet Trinidad (0:56)
  10. 10 Occapella (2:41)
  11. 11 Sailin' Shoes (2:09)
  12. 12 Riverboat (3:02)
  13. 13 Ode to Tobago (5:13)
  14. 14 Your Own Comes First (3:24)
  15. 15 G-Man Hoover (2:55)
  16. 16 Stars & Stripes Forever (1:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Van Dyke Parks Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Laurindo Almeida Guitar
Tom Scott Wind
Lowell George Guitar
Jim Gordon Drums
John Audino Horn
Gary Coleman Percussion
Bonnie Douglas Violin
Jesse Ehrlich Cello
The Esso Trinidad Steel Band Group
Milt Holland Percussion
Lew McCreary Horn
Technical Credits
Laurindo Almeida Contributor
Tom Scott Contributor
John Bergamo Contributor
Lowell George Director, Contributor
Jim Gordon Contributor
Al McKibbon Contributor
Garvin Adams Contributor
Murray Adler Contributor
Mike Allsup Director
Robert Appere Engineer
John Audino Contributor
Israel Baker Contributor
Chuck Berghofer Contributor
Roger Bobo Contributor
Bruce Botnick Engineer
Douglas Botnick Engineer
Norman Botnick Contributor
Gary Coleman Contributor
Bonnie Douglas Contributor
Jesse Ehrlich Contributor
Karen Ervin Contributor
The Esso Trinidad Steel Band Contributor
Roy Estrada Contributor
George Fields Contributor
Anne Goodman Contributor
Richie Hayward Contributor
Kendrick Headley Director, Contributor
Milt Holland Contributor
Kirby Johnson Director, Producer, Contributor, Orchestration
Myra Kestenbaum Contributor
Jerry Kessler Contributor
Gayle LaVant Contributor
Donn Landee Engineer
Gordon Marron Strings Director, Contributor
Lew McCreary Contributor
Malcolm McNabb Contributor
Jay Migliori Contributor
Buell Neidlinger Contributor
Dan Neufeld Contributor
Linda Perry Producer
Jeff Reynolds Contributor
Leo Robin Composer
Frederick Scykora Contributor
Paul Shure Contributor
Joe Sidore Engineer
Tony Terran Contributor
Gayle Levant Contributor
Charles Berghoffer Contributor
Tom Harvey Engineer
Durrie Parks Producer
Fred Myrow Director
Dennis Smith Contributor
Ed Thrasher Art Direction
Trinidad Steel Band Contributor
Bob Thompson Director
Wayne Dailey Engineer
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