"I peaked in the '50s. At age nine, I boarded at the Columbus Boychoir School (now the American Boychoir) near Princeton, New Jersey ... In town, I sang 'Stille Nacht' for Einstein, who returned to the porch and played a lilting obligato ... Although I'd met a real genius, simply bright and gifted people (like Brian Wilson, for whom I wrote lyrics for Smile) are given equal civility. Acting in over eighty live television shows (The Honeymooners, Studio One, Philco Playhouse, Mr Peepers, Kraft Theater), it all helped pay my tuition at music school." -- Van Dyke Parks, 2011
An era passes this weekend, heralded by a Tweet.
Van Dyke Parks is the venerable, prolific, charming composer and performer who met and/or worked with pretty much everyone. He's always reminded me of a straight, more sober, civil and musical Truman Capote: courtly but acute, full of stories, with talent pouring from his fingers, and a voice that reminds me of lemonade on a shady porch on a 95-degree day.
Off-Ramp producer Kevin Ferguson profiled Parks for Off-Ramp in 2013 for the release of his new album "Songs Cycled," after originally talking with Parks about his life and career in 2010. So if you can't see him at Largo at the Coronet this weekend, check out the interviews; they're the next best thing.