Deep Dive: Van Dyke Parks, MOONLIGHTING: RECORDED LIVE AT THE ASH GROVE
20 years ago today, Van Dyke Parks released the first – and, to date, only – live album of his career.
Recorded exactly where you’d think an album subtitled RECORDED LIVE AT THE ASH GROVE would’ve been recorded (and if you don’t know where the venue is, it’s on the Santa Monica Pier), MOONLIGHTING features Parks performing a couple of cover songs alongside versions of his own songs which he reworked for the live setting.
Interestingly, the performance was not, in fact, a headlining gig for Parks – on that particular evening, he was actually the opening act for Steve Young – but it didn’t stop Parks from delivering pretty much exactly what his fans expected of him, including a fair amount of storytelling between numbers. Alas, some of that material was ultimately trimmed for the release of the album, but that’s the way these things go sometimes. On the up side, listeners got his versions of John Hartford’s “Delta Queen Waltz” and Little Feat’s “Sailin’ Shoes,” along with a nice blending of tracks from throughout Parks’ solo career which stretched all the way back to “The All Golden,” from his 1967 debut album, SONG CYCLE.
Since the release of MOONLIGHT, Parks has been pretty quiet in terms of releasing albums, having only issued one in the interim: 2013’s SONGS CYCLED. That said, it consisted of the series of 7” singles that Parks had released throughout 2011 and 2012, so it was still pretty cool. If you haven’t heard it, it’s worth hunting down.
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