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Archive for August 28th, 2012

Review: Art Garfunkel, “The Singer”

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The first-ever 2-CD anthology of the collected works of Arthur Ira Garfunkel is titled The Singer (Columbia/Legacy 88725 45816 2, 2012).  In a life and career that’s also seen Garfunkel as an actor, poet, author, athlete and student, “singer” seems the most apt appellation.  Indeed, he is not just a singer, but The Singer, in longtime service to the art of the song.  Garfunkel was an anomaly in the young world of 1960s rock, leaving the songwriting to his partner Paul Simon while still lending his voice to a generation as a purely interpretive vocalist.  It’s apropos, then, that this set bookends Simon’s 2011 Songwriter.  But the other half of “Simon &” has continued to create and sing, long after the duo’s break-up.  He has now compiled, sequenced and annotated this collection’s 34 songs (including two all-new recordings), making for an invitingly personal, disarmingly intimate journey in music via hits and deep tracks alike.

The non-chronologically-sequenced The Singer opens with “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon & Garfunkel from the 1970 album of the same name.  Though The Singer should go a long way in reminding listeners of a sometimes-overlooked solo career, Garfunkel smartly acknowledges his much-dissected relationship with Paul Simon head-on with the opening selection of “Bridge.”  All told, their enduring partnership has yielded eight of the tracks here (nine, counting a non-S&G track on which Paul appears), or a little more than one quarter.  The songs on which Garfunkel served as muse for Simon’s deepest ruminations still form the backbone of both men’s discographies.  “Bridge” has been rightly lauded as a valedictory for the 1960s itself, but its most remarkable gift to culture may be its undiluted power to inspire in the face of crises.  But where to go, then, from a vocal that’s one of the greatest in the entirety of popular music, on a song so ingrained in our consciousness that it’s still impossible to believe it was written just over 40 years ago?  Does Garfunkel give up his best at the very start?

We answer that question, and more, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 28, 2012 at 12:55

Let’s Go! Clap, Stamp and Shake with The Routers!

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From psychedelic guitars to uninhibited drums, Ace Records’ 2012 release slate has been chock-full of wild instrumentals from the halcyon days of the 1960s.  A recent title, part of the label’s Limited Edition series, revisits that period with one of the snappiest groups to grace the Warner Bros. label: The Routers!

Just one glance at the song titles will clue you in as to the kind of ride you’re in for on A-Ooga!!!  Stamp & Shake with the Routers : “Let’s Go (Pony),” Snap, Crackle and Pop,” “Snap Happy,” “Sting Ray,” “Charge,” “Ah-Ya,” “Wild Weekend,” “Bucket Seats” and “Boom Ti Boom.”  Yes, A-Ooga!!!, compiled from singles, album tracks and unreleased material recorded between 1962 and 1964, will take you back to an era of girls, cars and surfing, when anything was possible for a generation of sun-kissed American youth.  Although the group’s individual albums were reissued by Collectors’ Choice Music on CD, this marks the first-ever anthology of the Routers’ music.

Joe Saraceno and Michael Z. Gordon were no strangers to the singles charts when they created The Routers, having previously supplied The Marketts with “Surfer’s Stomp,” played by a cadre of LA’s Wrecking Crew vets: Plas Johnson (“The Pink Panther”) on saxophone, Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Earl Palmer on drums, Jim Gordon on bass and Rene Hall on guitar.  Producer Saraceno, also a key figure in the career of The Ventures, brought Palmer, Tedesco, Hall and Johnson into his friend Ernie Freeman’s studio along with Ray Johnson (piano), Bill Pitman (guitar) and Jimmy Bond (bass) for the single that became The Routers’ calling card, “Let’s Go!”  Written by Lanny and Robert Duncan, the single was propelled to Top 20 status in 1962 with its famous handclaps, and The Routers were on their way.  Dave Burke and Alan Taylor, in their lengthy liner notes essay, even note the impact of “Let’s Go!” in England, with its claps repeated by the late sixties “at virtually every soccer ground in England with the shout of ‘Let’s Go!’ replaced by the name of the local team.”

We’ve got more after the jump, including track listing with discography and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 28, 2012 at 10:05

Release Round-Up: Week of August 28

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Frank Zappa, Official Reissues #15-26 (Zappa Records/UMe)

FZ’s 1972-1979 discography, almost entirely sourced from original analog masters. (Joe breaks it all down for you here!)

Various Artists, A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection (A&M/UMe)

Three discs of hits and favorites from a most eclectic of major labels.

Elvis Presley, A Boy from Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings (Follow That Dream)

The King’s complete Sun tenure, with single masters, alternates, live takes and more – not to mention an enormous book of liner notes spanning over 500 pages.

Art Garfunkel, The Singer (Columbia/Legacy)

You know the voice; now, take a dive into Art Garfunkel’s career with this double-disc overview, curated by the man himself and featuring Simon & Garfunkel tracks, solo recordings and two brand-new tunes.

Johnny Mathis, Tender is the Night/The Wonderful World of Make-Believe Love is Everything/Broadway (Real Gone)

The first of a series of two-fers bringing Mathis’ Mercury discography back into print, including an unreleased LP of Broadway standards!

David Cassidy, Cassidy Live / Gettin’ It in the Street / Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Complete Liberty Singles / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Volume 28 (Real Gone)

The rest of Real Gone’s monthly lineup includes two David Cassidy discs on CD for the first time ever.

The Brecker Brothers, The Complete Arista Albums Collection / Etta James, The Complete Private Music Blues, Rock ‘n’ Soul Albums Collection / Sarah Vaughan, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Legacy)

The latest PopMarket boxes include a Brecker Brothers box entirely full of discs making their CD debuts.

Andrew W.K., I Get Wet: Deluxe Edition (Century Media)

2001’s ultimate party soundtrack, with a bonus disc of live and alternate material.