Higher quality re-up of one of my favorite albums and an absolutely necessity for fans of psych/baroque pop with those SMiLE-style American Gothic lyrics. -Ian!
Van Dyke Parks moved on from the Beach Boys’ abortive SMiLE sessions to record his own solo debut, Song Cycle, an audacious and occasionally brilliant attempt to mount a fully orchestrated, classically minded work within the context of contemporary pop. As indicated by its title, Song Cycle is a thematically coherent work, one which attempts to embrace the breadth of American popular music; bluegrass, ragtime, show tunes — nothing escapes Parks’ radar, and the sheer eclecticism and individualism of his work is remarkable. Opening with “Vine Street,” authored by Randy Newman (another pop composer with serious classical aspirations), the album is both forward-thinking and backward-minded, a collision of bygone musical styles with the progressive sensibilities of the late ’60s; while occasionally overambitious and at times insufferably coy, it’s nevertheless a one-of-a-kind record, the product of true inspiration.
-Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com
Interesting tidbit from wikipedia:
“In response to the poor sales of the record after its release (despite some rave critical reviews), Warner Bros. Records ran full page newspaper and magazine advertisements that said they “lost $35,509 on ‘the album of the year’ (dammit).” The ad said that those who actually purchased the album had likely worn their copies out by playing it over and over, and suggested that listeners send in worn out copies to Warner Bros. in return for two new copies, including one “to educate a friend with.””
Van Dyke Parks-SONG CYCLE (1968)