Rick Roberts' will no doubt kick himself for this memory lapse, but
Van Dyke Parks became known as the genius type who in the late 1960s
was working with Brian Wilson on the legendary Smile album, the
master Beach Boy's "Lost Dutchman Mine" of American music. Parks, who is
66 years old, is still active today and he has gone on to an illustrious
career as a composer, arranger, producer, musician, singer, and actor.
His Wikipedia entry states that Parks "has worked with performers
including Grace Kelly, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Loudon Wainwright III,
Silverchair, Ry Cooder, Joanna Newsom, Inara George and Ringo Starr".
Parks most recent music releases were in 2007, when
he released the album "Yellow Magic Carnival" in Japan, which is a
tribute to Haruomi Hosono, of the Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Van Dyke Parks also was involved in the 2007 Brian
Wilson project "That Lucky Old Sun (A Narrative)".
Ruthanne Friedman hasn't exactly gone away
either, though she flies a little lower on the radar than does Parks.
Soon to be 66 years of age, Ruthann Friedman
re-released her CD Constant Companion in 2006, on San Francisco's
Water label. Constant Companion was first released in 1971 on
Reprise Records, a year in which Friedman also contributed the
soundtrack for the film Peace Killers. Friedman also recently
released a compilation of rare and previously unreleased home recordings
The Bronx-born Friedman first got exposure as a
12-year old on the television talent show Rocket to Stardom.
Somehow she moved to the west coast while a teen and started playing
open mics at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. (Now there's a wholesome
environment for a kid.) She became buds with other up-and-comers like
Steve Mann and Hoyt Axton and became part of the L.A. music scene, which
is no doubt how stories about her came to the attention of Rick Roberts,
Here's the part (from Wikipedia) that brings this
story full circle: "Her first paid performance was at the Green
Spider Coffee House in Denver, Colorado at the age of nineteen. Soon
she was part of the "Hippy Migration," traveling the California Coast
and living off earnings from her performances. While staying in San
Francisco, California, Friedman befriended the members of Jefferson
Airplane, Country Joe and Janis Joplin. Her friendship with Van Dyke
Parks not only influenced her deep commitment to music but also
introduced her to The Association, who recorded her song 'Windy'
RICK ROBERTS FOLLOW-UP:
Thanks for the updated information on Parks and
Friedman. . I guess the Smile album was the vague memory I had. I
was involved with The Beach Boys while I was in my first year label
search, and in fact, did my first ever demo at Brian Wilson's home
studio, with Steve Desper engineering, and Darryl Dragon, "The Captain",
playing bass and piano. But it has been 40 tears. By the way, Darryl's
brother Dennis played drums.