Van Dyke Parks makes a rare appearance tonight at World Cafe Live live. Opening for Parks is the Brooklyn band Clare and the Reasons, whom Parks did some string arrangements for on their new record and who coaxed Parks to tour. The connection? Clare is the daughter of folksinger Geoff Muldaur, whom Parks knew and worked with in the Sixties.
Perhaps you’re not familiar with Parks’ solo work, but chances are the records he’s been involved with as producer, arranger, or lyricist are somewhere in your collection. Parks produced the debut albums by Ry Cooder and Randy Newman, wrote songs with the Beach Boys, and arranged records by Aaron Neville, U2, Tim Buckley, Lowell George and Little Feat, Joanna Newsom, Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, and the Buena Vista Social Club and countless others. He’s played keyboards with the Byrds, Grateful Dead and Frank Black. His own recordings, eclectic in nature and reflecting his interests in the traditions of American music never sold well, however have been influential to many generations of rock musicians over the years. His last album was the 1995 collaboration with Brian Wilson called Orange Crate Art. Below, a video of Parks performing the classic Little Feat song “Sailin’ Shoes” with Clare And The Reasons.