When Van Dyke Parks began conspiring the idea for his second avant pop classic with Brian Wilson, Orange Crate Art, he knew it was to be his last studio recording for longtime label Warner Bros. Records.
“I wanted to tie things up as an artist there and wrap it up in a bow,” he explains in the liner notes to the forthcoming deluxe edition of the 1994 album via Omnivore Recordings on June 19th. “That’s why Orange Crate Art.“
As Parks explains in the liners, the album was also meant to serve as a sequel of sorts to the duo’s work on the Beach Boys’ maligned masterpiece SMiLE in the pair’s shared love for California.
“Though my roots are somewhere else, far away, my limbs are here in Southern California,” he writes. “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.”
This 25th anniversary version of the duo of Parks and Wilson’s first collaboration together since 1972’s “Sail On Sailor” includes three previously unissued session outtakes and an entire second disc of previously unissued instrumentals that provide the listener with an entirely new vantage point from which to experience this mid-90s pop treasure. Majestically re-mastered by multi-Grammy®award winner Michael Graves, Orange Crate Art has never sounded clearer or fuller in its quarter century in existence. Perhaps the album would be best heard on dyed wax, as a limited edition run (300 copies) of orange vinyl copies will also be available through Omnivore Recordings’ web site only.
Today American Songwriter is grateful to premiere this newly created video for one of the album’s main highlights, their beautiful, spare version of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” that’s touchingly augmented by still photos of signs showing support for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. If the combination of these images and Wilson’s angelic harmonies in balance with Parks’ tender electric piano progression in the background doesn’t fill your heart with emotion, nothing will.
“Brian Wilson and I embrace all those who feel isolated in long-distance love,” Parks told AmericanSongwriter. “We chose this song from our Orange Crate Art to remind us all — the fundamental things apply, as time goes by. It is A Wonderful World after all.”