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LISTEN: Van Dyke Parks Rides The Rails
Laurie Tuffrey , August 14th, 2014 15:17

Listen to Parks narrating the rail journey that inspired Super Chief, just re-released on Bella Union

For last year's Record Store Day, Bella Union released Super Chief, a collection of Van Dyke Parks' film score work freshly re-recorded. Describing it as an "orchestral fantasy", it was inspired by a trans-America rail journey Parks made from New Jersey to California in 1955, "the most important journey of his life" as Taylor Parkes wrote in his in-depth interview with Parks last year, "[e]very track illustrates a memory from along the way". Parks himself writes of the album: "Most of this music has been faintly presented, under the din of horse hooves, gunplay, and voice-over. Much of it has never been heard before, having ended up on editing room floors from entirely re-cut films, or movies that never made it past a box office. I felt it was high time to give it a proper listen [...] As I pondered the amazingly broad array of genres available, the challenge was what not to include. Quickly, it all simmered to clarify like butter, reducing to my impressions of that first epic rail-ride I took across the United States."

Now, the label have issued it on CD for the first time, out now and available here. Included in the release are liner notes from Parks, tracing his memories of the journey, and Bella Union have given us an exclusive play of him reading them aloud - listen to that above.