Van Dyke Parks and his friend Loudon Wainwright III mug for my iPhone after Parks’ sublime show at London’s intimate Borderline on Sunday night. It was my cherry-on-top birthday present after Chelsea’s late three points at Old Trafford.
Parks was magnificent in a set that included “Cowboy”, “Orange Crate Art”, John Hartford’s “Delta Queen Waltz”, “Sail Away” and “FDR in Trinidad”, performed with a small and respectful quartet (cello/harp/drums/double bass), and a superb solo encore of “The All Golden” (on RBP’s Spotify playlist this week); also a duetted rendition of Little Feat’s “Sailin’ Shoes” (a version of which was included on Discover America, lest we forget) with the impressive Guatemalan singer Gabi Moreno.
Between songs, Van Dyke was at his wisest and inimitably funniest. “My mother told me, ‘Don’t try to be interesting’,” he said early on; “‘instead, stay interested.’” Sage advice, though Parks couldn’t be uninteresting if he devoted the entire sum of his energy to the effort – as the rapt gathering at the interview I was privileged to conduct with him at Oslo’s By:Larm conference in February would surely attest.