Orange Crate Art

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, SmileOrange 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."
– Amazon.com


Orange Crate Art
1995  |  Warner Bros. Records 

1. Orange Crate Art
. Sail Away
. My Hobo Heart
. Wing Of A Dove
. Palm Tree And Moon
. Summer In Monterey
. San Francisco
. Hold Back Time
. My Jeanine
10. Movies Is Magic
11. This Town Goes Down At Sunset
12. Lullabye


FEATURED MEDIA:

Brian sings "Orange Crate Art" with Van Dyke Parks accompanying him at the piano. The album's title refers to the sun-drenched, idealized paintings that grace wooden fruit crates, and its theme is a nostalgic view of the history of California.

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REFLECTION BY VAN DYKE PARKS:

"Orange Crate Art" was a beautiful song, and I was determined to put some lyrics to it. The first thing that came to mind was the word "orange." "Orange," of course being impossible to rhyme – is problematic in many other ways – but is also a totemic of the California dream, and I thought if there was anybody I wanted to have sing that, it would be Brian Wilson. At Christmastime or something once upon a time, that was a very special thing to have – an orange – because it came by train. It was to extol the propagandist art that brought California a sense of realty; it made real estate salable with the idea that California offered a Garden of Eden, a perpetual bread basket, [and] a virtual cornicop. It pretends to be somnambulistic, but it really is an urging to think about California on those terms of lost love, of things that are disappearing, and the potential of the human spirit.

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