Thursday, August 21, 2008

Review: Inara George
and Van Dyke Parks

Inara George with Van Dyke Parks, An Invitation (Everloving, 2008)

Overture : Right as Wrong : Accidental : Bomb : Duet : Dirty White : Idaho : Rough Design : Tell Me That You Love Me : Don't Let It Get You : Oh My Love : Family Tree : Night Happens

Songs by Inara George ("Family Tree" written with Mike Andrews)
Arrangements by Van Dyke Parks

Playing time 38:46

An Invitation is a collaboration across generations and a recording to treasure. Inara George and Van Dyke Parks go back a long way — to 1974, when Inara (daughter of Little Feat's Lowell George) was born.

An Invitation is much like a theater-piece, complete with overture and a closing "Good night, good night to all of you." The songs are beautiful and spare; George sings them in a strong, cool, unstagey voice that makes the meaning of every word register. Her poignant and witty lyrics offer varied glimpses of someone in love, desirous, self-abasing, jubilant, ruefully self-aware, still hopeful:

Want to be a kite
And fly above your house
And then drop down into your room ("Right as Wrong")

I'm like a pet salamander
Just cut a few holes for some air
Carry me everywhere ("Tell Me That You Love Me")

I could be
Your century
I want to settle down
I could be
Your baby tree
I want to settle down ("Family Tree")

You're coming out
You bought the ticket
This is the greatest ("Don't Let It Get You")

I can break my heart
Before we start
Before we even start ("Duet")

A state of mind
To intertwine
Now love is blind
A rough design
But still sturdy ("Rough Design")
Parks' arrangements for small orchestra are elegant and endlessly supportive. There's a marked Gershwin influence (including a moment of An American in Paris) and some Argentine and French touches, especially when Parks plays accordion.

The throes of love? Accordion? I fear that this account might make An Invitation seem anything but inviting. But inviting it is. I've listened to this CD five times in two days, and will be listening again and again. It's contemporary music of the highest order. You are invited to try before you buy, at the Everloving website.

Other Van Dyke Parks posts
A new VDP interview
That (In)famous Line
VDP interviewed
VDP and the present tense
VDP on verb tenses
VDP speaks

comments: 1

Anonymous said...

New Van Dyke Parks to buy and also my favorite Henry Cow is coming out with new product. Life is good.