You gotta hear this album!
Shawn Sutherland | Dallas, TX United States | 06/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While this is without a doubt one of the most bizarre albums of all time, it is also one of the best. Themes of 20th Century Americana (FDR, the Mills Brothers, Bela Lugosi, Mae West, Bing Crosby, etc.) rolled up in Trinidadian rhythms. Who could pass that up? You can't help but enjoy this one!
Recommendation: if you like "Discover America", be sure to check out the CD "Roosevelt In Trinidad: Calypsos of Events, Places and Personalities, 1933-1939" also available via Amazon. Aside from featuring the original versions of the title track and "The Four Mills Brothers", "Roosevelt in Trinidad" and "Bing Crosby", it contains some (older) calypsos you're liable to not hear anywhere else."
D. Watson | 12/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i bought it on cassette for like $2. it is weird but that is what is so cool about it. the arrangements are very interesting. the production is a lo-fi. but it is melodic and has a cool version of 'sailin shoes', which was done in a better known version by little feat later on. i would say it was definitely a good purchase"
...they look nice from far, but they're far from nice!
Josh Z. Bonder | Toronto | 06/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After reading reviews for other Van Dyke Parks albums on this site, I'm amazed at how easily this one gets overlooked; Mr. Parks certainly has many strong albums which deserve heaping amounts of credit (Song Cycle and Jump! come to mind first), but to me this one is the perfect blend of the artistic sensibilities of "Song Cycle" and the listenability and pop/catchiness of "Clang of the Yankee Reaper" (The albums released just before and after "Discover America"). To my ears, this one has just the right combination of elements from both albums, and has proven to be the one I come back to listen to the most. Some people may gripe that there are a number of covers on this album (as another reviewer mentioned, "Roosevelt in Trinidad" contains a number of the original versions): But this is where Park's talent for instrumentation, arranging and personalizing material shines through. This album swells and swoons in all the right places; it is a funky feverish haze with exquisite instrumentation, arrangements, and just the right mix of artistic pretention and outright feelgood funkiness. A tropical cocktail that'll shake you!"