Release date (re-release): 18 June 2012
The follow-up to legendary American eccentric Van Dyke Parks’ ‘Discover America’, ‘Clang of the Yankee Reaper’ further delves into his obsession with Caribbean calypso music. Again, the selection of songs (save for a couple), are re-imaginings of public domain calypso classics, but here Parks panders slightly more to contemporary pop ‘sounds’ than he did on the record’s predecessor. Occasionally the sound is closer to Steely Dan and the blue eyed soul of the day than it is anything Parks put his name to prior, but while this is odd it’s definitely not jarring, and the enduring cleverness of Parks’ arrangements wins through in the end. The high point is a fantastically strange calypso rework of Pachabel’s Canon – something that would be hard to imagine without hearing it, so you know what to do. Classic stuff.