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Orange Crate Art

Brian & Van Dyke Parks Wilson Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. Orange Crate Art
2. Sail Away
3. My Hobo Heart
4. Wings Of A Dove
5. Palm Tree And Moon
6. Summer In Monterey
7. San Francisco
8. Hold Back Time
9. My Jeanie
10. Movies Is Magic
11. This Town Goes Down At Sunset
12. Lullaby

Product Description


Here is a view of the Golden State through rose-colored glasses that's as effervescent and intoxicating as pink champagne. Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks trade the roles they occupied nearly three decades ago when they collaborated on songs for the Beach Boys' great lost album, Smile. Orange Crate Art was conceived and overseen by Parks, who brought his old boss Wilson aboard chiefly to give voice to Parks's wistful song cycle. Given that much of the album is set in California, who better than favorite son Wilson to sing these songs? But while Wilson's voice initially evokes images of hot rods and surfboards, here he sings of locomotives and steamboats. Parks's California is a state of mind where time is ephemeral. We're brought to a bucolic yesteryear unmarred by violence and poverty. Orange Crate Art is set in "a world apart." A "hobo heart" is carefree rather than desperate. Time is something to be held back. "Everybody must come home" to a town that shuts down by 8 in the evening because "everybody's got things to do." When all is said and done, there's nothing left but doze off to Parks's pop symphonic arrangement of George Gershwin's "Lullaby." --Steven Stolder

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Meringue April 19 2002
Format:Audio CD
This album is meringue, battenburg cake and candyfloss, very sickly and bad for the teeth. Tastes real good for the first ten minutes, then you gradually start turning green and queasy as the endless nostalgic melodies, orchestras and monotonous Brian Wilson harmonies flow on and on, and you realise it's gonna be like this for the whole 47 minutes. I speak as a fervent Brian Wilson fan, but this is a Van Dyke Parks album, make no mistake. He wrote and arranged everything, then craftily conned Brian into singing it all, then peddled it as a collaboration, making sure that Brian's name appeared first on the credits. An album in praise of the rich white Californian lifestyle of the fabulous fifties and soaraway sixties. Never is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy or grey. It's a happy album, but the happiness is of the big-toothpaste-advert-smile variety, the kind you see on holiday brochures, all those folks having so much fun fun fun. Some of the songs might have been rescued from their aggravatingness if Brian hadn't chosen to layer a million vocal tracks over everything, making all the harmonies sound identical, and therefore soulless - and this is Brian we're talking about, who knows ALL about what harmony can do. But he probably knew that if he tried any harder with this stuff it'd just be wasted effort. Skip this one and proceed to Live at the Roxy by Brian or Song Cycle by Van Dyke Parks (now there's a genuinely strange record).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Parks & Wilson Make Magic Again Jan. 12 2002
Format:Audio CD
I've been a Brian Wilson fan for the past 25 years, so naturally I've followed VDP's career a little bit as well. Of the few past VDP albums I've heard, "JUMP!" was my favourite - that is until this one came along. I don't know how to describe the music - it has strong traces of jazz, calypso, pop, broadway, etc. It defies categorisation but, what the hell, it's sheer great music from someone who's better known as a lyricist than a tune-crafter. The arrangements are brilliant, the musicianship is excellent, the harmonies are immaculate (further demonstration that Brian doesn't need the other BB's) and Brian's lead vocals are spot-on. I think the CD is worth buying even if only for the title track.
It's my most played album over the last 5 years. I pray for more Wilson-Parks collaborations in future. Whichever of them is writing the music, there seems to be magic when they work together. Popular music needs this kind of stuff!
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By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Van Dyke Parks, along with Randy Newman, comprise the two premier, eccentric composers/arrangers of the Warner Bros.' stable. Parks composed and arranged these whimsical post-war enchantments, to varying degrees of success, with the help of legendary composer/producer Brian Wilson, here simply acting as singer (John Lennon tried this with Phil Spector for his ROCK & ROLL album, but eventually kicked the latter out of the booth). The catchy shuffle "Summer In Monterey" would have acted better as single release/album title, but overall we have Wilson's amazing vocal arranging (and his off-and-on lead singing) and Parks' pre-rock & roll style compositions. A mellow, feel-good album that might have been better recorded with a big band and an occasional girl singer. Certainly Van Dyke Parks' most commercial work yet -- and apparently his most personal/humble.
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By ptc
Format:Audio CD
I am baffled by the less than enthusiastic reviews of this CD I've seen online and elsewhere. Complaints that Parks' lyrics are too dense and pun laden, and that the music is too intellectual and complex, seem to come from Beach Boys fans who long for the simpler, more direct aspects of Brian Wilson's songwriting style. Orange Crate Art strikes me as a wonderful combination of Parks' adventurous songwriting and Wilson's gift for singing and harmonizing. I find the songs quite catchy and the lyrics full of humor and melancholy. The production is 90's clean and the arrangements inventive and lush. Wilson creates a true "wall of sound" with his wonderful vocal harmony overdubs.
Stop wishing for "Pet Sounds II" already! Brian Wilson still has a lot to say musically, and on this CD Van Dyke Parks gives him forum in which to say it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Penny. Feb. 1 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I would rate this album as one of the best of the decade -- the music on here is so lilting and nostalgic. I could say that Brian Wilson's vocal arrangements are inventive, but that is as big an understatement as you can possibly make. The man is still at the top of his game.
Parks' music evokes memories of a California (and America) long since past. You'll find yourself imagining rolling hills, lush scenery and all the wonders of the outdoors as you listen. Not the 1960s fun n' sun of the Beach Boys' best work, but older still -- and much simpler.
Orange Crate Art has to grow on you. But it is infinitely more complex and satisfying than Wilson's other 90s albums. As with the best music, once this album takes hold, you'll keep coming back to it. It's a great, great album.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This album was OK in parts.... Aug. 24 2000
Format:Audio CD
When I purchased this album, I expected a Brian Wilson album which flowed and grooved like his previous solo debut and other 1995 release, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times". However, when I listen to the music, Brian seems to harmonize well, except it took me a while to relax to the instrumental arrangement. There are a good handful of songs on this album that are pleasing but on the other hand, there are a good few songs that make me want to try the next song eagerly due to the loud or jumpy instrumental arrangements. I find it fair to blame Parks for any of the dislikes on this album since there hasn't been to date, one Brian Wilson song I haven't liked.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A place to start
This is a Van Dyke Parks album about California. Parks brought in his old friend Brian Wilson to sing the lead vocals. And why not? Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by Johnny Heering
4.0 out of 5 stars Brian's Best Since Pet Sounds
Could be the closest thing Brian will ever come to Pet Sounds. Really these songs could have made the best Beach Boys Album since PS. Read more
Published on April 17 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Very Glad I Found This CD...
This album has a sublime effect on the listener. I loved it from the very first play. It is full of references to California's rich cultural history and serves as somthing of a... Read more
Published on April 10 2002 by Chris Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to save my soul....
1994 and 1995 had been a very difficult, tumultuous year for my family. We had two small children and then some financial setbacks, etc. Read more
Published on March 6 2002 by James Taggart
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this one if you like music
I've still haven't figured out why I like this album this much. I've got a large selection of CD's, album and singles from classical to hard rock and for some reason this CD is the... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by W. L. Kryn
5.0 out of 5 stars Inventive Nostalgia
This is a wonderful CD, a nostalgic look at living in the California of the '40's and '50's. But, despite the nostalgia, this CD is chock full of inventive and clever lyrics,... Read more
Published on April 13 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
This one certainly is a masterpiece(stayed in my cd player for months).Mosy aspects have been covered here. Read more
Published on May 7 2000 by "lavone"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Collaborative Masterpiece
A musical journey designed by Wilson and Parks to evoke the California that Brian's parents and his other ancestors would have found when they made their pioneering treks there at... Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2000
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