Wednesday 8 January 2014

The Unbelievable Truth with Van Dyke Parks

For today's post I'm indebted to Van Dyke Parks. VDP is a singer songwriter, arranger and producer in his own right but he's probably best known for his collaborations with Brian Wilson - not least the legendary Smile sessions. He was in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention for a while and helped pioneer the Moog synthesiser. A resident of Los Angeles he is still very much moving and shaking. His business cards (above) are treasured by their recipients.

I emailed Van Dyke Parks just after breakfast this morning: 

Dear Mr. Van Dyke Parks, 

On Monday I wrote a blog about Dick Van Dyke's recent car fire in LA; you probably passed him by the side of the freeway that very afternoon. 

On Tuesday I wrote a blog about Earl Van Dyke, a fellow ivory tinkler & the beating heart of Motown. 

Today I'd like to write a few words about your good self. I'm interested in the interview you once gave where you talked about The Beatles; as much for the way you described the beach - 'it's where the land comes down to the water'. You probably don't remember. Anyway, this is a long winded way of asking if you'd care to share something with my readers that they possibly don't know about you. You may even want to tell us the back story behind your delightful business cards. I do hope so. 

Thanking you in advance.

When I went to check my emails this afternoon there was a reply sitting in my Inbox:

Dear John,

Since you mention Dick Van Dyke, I may add that we're distant cousins. His family stopped in New Jersey and liked it there. My Van Dyke family line is the first Dutch family in what is now Pennsylvania. Yet that famous actor and I share the same lineage. We both issue directly from one man: Thomas Janse Van Dyke (b.1580, d. 1670) , who sailed from Rotterdam on "die Bönte Kuhe" ("The Spotted Cow") to Nieuw Amsterdam, in 1646. The ship herself ("The Spotted Cow") has an illustrious war-time naval history, participating in much marine battle for Caribbean Territory. My lineage points to the adjacent farms of the Van Dyke and Parks dairy farms, in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. My grandfather Clarence Carson Parks fell in love with Zoe Van Dyke, and their son in my father. I have their Steinway grand (O model) in my living room. It has been in our family since March 11th, 1911, having been acquired as a "maternity gift" to my grandmother, the day of my father's birth. 

 You have my permission to share this vital information with your readers.  

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