Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks. ¡Spangled! (Nonesuch, 2019). Playing time: 37:31.

A beautiful album (CD/LP/MP3) of music from the Americas, ten songs for singer and orchestra, in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, with Gaby Moreno’s deeply soulful voice and Van Dyke Parks’s always surprising and apt orchestrations and vocal arrangements.

The overtly political notes here are clear: “Across the Borderline” (Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Jim Dickinson) speaks of the peril and pathos of the journey to “the broken promised land,” with a traveler who is still always “just across the borderline,” yet to find a place in the United States. But “The Immigrants” (David Rudder) strikes a different note: “The immigrants are here to stay, to help build America.” Elsewhere, the songs of this album, many of them venerable popular classics (one from 1914), speak of love and death and the power of song. My favorites, after repeated listening: “Historia de un Amor” (Carlos Eleta Almarán), “Nube Gris” (Eduardo Márquez Talledo), “Esperando na Janela” (Targino Gondim, Manuca Almeida, and Raimundinho do Acordeon), “O Cantador” (Dorival Caymmi and Nelson Motta), and “Espérame en el Cielo” (Francisco López Vidal).

A line from “O Cantador”: “Cantador só sei cantar”: Singer, I only know how to sing. ¡Spangled! is all-American song of the highest order.

Here is “Across the Borderline,” with Jackson Browne and Ry Cooder. Dig the strings at 2:42, and everything else:

Related reading
All OCA Van Dyke Parks posts (Pinboard)

[The songs I’ve named, from first to last, come from the United States, Trinidad, Panama, Peru, Brazil (two songs), and Puerto Rico.]

comments: 3

Van Dyke Parks said...

Both Gaby and I appreciate notice from the inestimable Michael Leddy.
We hope those with CD players will appreciate the CD liner notes (Betto Arcos)
and the deft LP art-work by Klaus Voormann.
¡Spangled! Is not only a testament to the joys of multi-culturalism, but to the
Rewards of fluent collaboration.
It took a village to create that world.
¡Mucho gusto!

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Van Dyke!

Michael Leddy said...

And yes, the liner notes, bilingual, and the printed lyrics, bi-and trilingual, make the CD or LP the best way to listen.