Van Dyke Parks is a talented musician who, even if you don't know him, I'm certain is on at least one of the albums in your collection! Maybe more. He cowrote the Smile album with Brian Wilson, he played keyboards and did arrangements for RPC's albums, he has written soundtracks for some really good movies, and worked with Rufus Wainwright and Joanna Newsom. I sent him a picture of himself standing with Ry Cooder, and happened to mention the height differences! He replied, "Cooder WAS that much taller than I. Years have passed (38, precisely), and he is, unfortunately, bent with age--while I, though unapologetically of silver mane (I use no cosmetics), have retained not only an undiminished mental acuity, but am up to his eyebrows by now, taut, trim for battle, and fully erect. Go figure. Time weighs heavily on some of the ablest early athletic contenders, offing them from such odds-on expectations. No doubt about it, I’ve been merciful to Ry throughout. I keep this very picture (taken by WB/Reprise art director, the late-lamented Ed Thrasher in front of WB’s Burbank offices) on my small studio wall...Incidentally, Ry came by one day whenI was working on one of Joanna’s [Newsom] tunes for her album. He heard her voice and said 'Is that intentional...the voice...she doesn’t want to go on sounding like that for the rest of her life, does she?' I was reminded of the pot and kettle. Of course, his objection steeled my resolve to do all I can in Joanna’s behalf. I sure hope it shows to her greatest advantage.Yet, no mistake about it--Ry has always been a kindly force in my life, and in the main, a man of solid principles. I love him....All the Best, Van Dyke
So there you have it. Cooder tall, Parks small, Newsom not to RPC's taste...but then...that's what makes the world go 'round isn't it? If we all liked the same things...it'd be awfully hard to find yourself a mate!