The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘Simon and Garfunkel’ Category

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Simon and Garfunkel, “The Complete Albums Collection”

with 5 comments

Simon and Garfunkel - Albums CoverQueens Boys Make Good, a headline might have read of young Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel when “The Sound of Silence,” a bleakly beautiful, acoustic snapshot of disillusionment and isolation, sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 on New Year’s Day 1966. Simon and Garfunkel were unlikely candidates for pop stardom. Neither English major Simon nor fine arts (later architecture) major Garfunkel hid their cerebral, intellectual tendencies. As the era of the singer-songwriter blossomed in the wake of Bob Dylan’s ascendancy, Garfunkel was, vocally speaking, the anti-Dylan. His pristine high tenor would have found him gainfully employed as a singer in any era. Yet these two articulate young men were also relatable. Fusing a street corner doo-wop sensibility with social consciousness, their music existed at the crossroads of folk, rock and pop, a product of beautiful harmony and well-publicized tension. Roughly six years together yielded just five proper studio albums, plus nine competitive Grammy Awards, seven Top 10 hits, and over ten standards not just of the rock era but of American popular song – not a bad track record at all. Simon & Garfunkel: The Complete Albums Collection, a new box set from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, brings together those five studio albums, the duo’s chart-topping soundtrack to The Graduate, their first, 14x Platinum-selling Greatest Hits album, and four live recordings to create an overview of these old friends’ remarkable career.

Paul Simon met Art Garfunkel in the halls of Queens, New York’s P.S. 164 in the sixth grade, with both young men cast in a school production of Alice in Wonderland. They soon bonded over a mutual love of music, and by 1956, Simon and Garfunkel were performing locally as “Tom and Jerry,” modeling themselves on the Everly Brothers, with whom they would later collaborate. Though he and Simon briefly split in the early 1960s, they reunited for 1964’s Wednesday Morning 3 AM, the album which opens the new box set. This low-key, acoustic collection of folk songs included originals by the precociously-talented Simon, covers of Bob Dylan, Ian Campbell and Ed McCurdy, and even traditional tunes like “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” Despite the already-apparent magic of their vocal blend, Wednesday Morning was lost in the shuffle of the British Invasion. Simon retreated to England and Garfunkel resumed his studies. When Columbia Records and producer Tom Wilson decided to reissue the album’s “The Sound of Silence” with electric overdubs in September 1965, however, Simon and Garfunkel were presented with ample reason to reform: the song was climbing its way to No. 1. Bob Dylan had gone electric on July 25, 1965, plugging in at the Newport Folk Festival and igniting a revolution. Why shouldn’t have Simon and Garfunkel?

Sophomore LP Sounds of Silence was recorded with producer Bob Johnston in December 1965 during that heady time when “Silence” was making waves in the music industry. Simon’s incisive songwriting was becoming sharper by the day as both his musical and lyrical palettes expanded – taking in gently romantic paeans (“Kathy’s Song”), unconventional character studies (“Richard Cory,” “A Most Peculiar Man”) and an anthemic statement of emotional detachment and alienation (“I Am a Rock”). Many of these songs had first appeared Simon’s solo The Paul Simon Songbook, recorded during his time in London and unavailable for decades, but Garfunkel’s participation took them to the next level.

Hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2014 at 10:26

Release Round-Up: Week of November 24

leave a comment »

Simon and Garfunkel - Albums Cover

Simon and Garfunkel, The Complete Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 12-CD box includes all five of Simon & Garfunkel’s stereo studio albums released between 1964 and 1970, newly remastered from first-generation analog sources plus first-time remasters of The Graduate soundtrack and 1981’s The Concert in Central Park; 1972’s Greatest Hits album (which contained some unique performances unavailable elsewhere); and the live concert albums from 1967, 1969 and 2004, as first released in 2002, 2008 and 2004, respectively.

VU Box

The Velvet Underground: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (UMe)

6-CD Super Deluxe Box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

2-CD Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

UMe continues its series of deluxe, hardcover book-style editions of The Velvet Underground’s discography with this 6-CD edition of the band’s 1969 release including live and studio rarities.  Highlights are also available in a 2-CD edition.

Neil Diamond - All Time Greatest Hits

Neil Diamond, All-Time Greatest Hits 2-CD Edition (Capitol) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Capitol is reissuing and expanding the Neil Diamond compilation first issued this past July, and this time it jumps from 23 tracks on one CD to 42 tracks on two CDs. You can expect additions from Diamond’s new Melody Road and 2005 “comeback” 12 Songs as well as classics that didn’t make the cut on the original version such as “Heartlight,” “Desiree” and “Yesterday’s Songs.”

War Child

Jethro Tull, WarChild: 40th Anniversary Edition (Chrysalis) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 2-CD/2-DVD set features

  • The original album and bonus tracks (three previously unreleased), remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson
  • 10 orchestral pieces (nine previously unreleased) written for the proposed film’s soundtrack, four of which are remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson
  • Flat transfers of the original LP mix at 96/24, and the original quadrophonic mix (with 2 bonus tracks) in 4.0.
  • “The Third Hoorah” promo footage, and footage from a January 1974 photo session/press conference where the WarChild project was announced.

 

Bryan Adams - Reckless Box

Bryan Adams, Reckless: Super Deluxe Edition (A&M)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD Pure Audio: Amazon U.S.
2CD/DVD/BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bryan Adams is marking the 30th anniversary of his breakthrough Reckless with a variety of reissues including a super deluxe set with 2 CDs (featuring both studio outtakes and a previously unreleased live concert), 1 DVD (Reckless: The Movie) and a BD-Audio disc with stereo and surround mixes in high resolution.

DMB - Under

Dave Mathews Band, Under the Table and Dreaming (Legacy)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Legacy reissues and remasters Dave Matthews Band’s 1994 studio debut in time for its 20th anniversary on both CD and vinyl.   The CD has three unreleased bonus tracks, including the original studio version of live favorite “Granny” and acoustic versions of “Dancing Nancies” and “The Song That Jane Likes,” and the bonus tracks will also be included on a download card with the vinyl LP.

Little Mermaid - Legacy Collection

The Legacy Collection – The Little Mermaid: Original Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Disney continues its Legacy Edition series of deluxe expanded hardbound reissues with a 2-CD set dedicated to Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s The Little Mermaid!

Bing - Songs I Wish

The Bing Crosby Archive titles (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe)

Bing Crosby, American Masters – Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing Crosby, Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing Crosby, Some Fine Old Chestnuts: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Decca DL 5508, 1954/expanded as DL 8374 – reissued Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing Crosby, Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around: Deluxe Edition (Decca DL 8352, 1956 – reissued Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Bing Crosby Archive returns with four discs, every one of which is packed with previously unreleased material!  Click on the “Bing Crosby Archive” link above for track listings and full details on each title!

Clapton - Timepieces SACD

Eric Clapton, Timepieces: The Best of Eric Clapton SACD (Audio Fidelity) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The 1982 greatest-hits compilation arrives in high-resolution stereo on Audio Fidelity’s new hybrid SACD remastered by Kevin Gray.

Old Friends: Legacy Collects Simon & Garfunkel Discography

with 14 comments

Simon and Garfunkel - Albums CoverPaul Simon met Art Garfunkel in the halls of Queens, New York’s P.S. 164 in the sixth grade, with both young men cast in a school production of Alice in Wonderland. They soon bonded over a mutual love of music, and by 1956, Simon and Garfunkel were performing locally as “Tom and Jerry,” modeling themselves on the Everly Brothers, with whom they would later collaborate. Though he and Simon briefly split in the early 1960s, they reunited for 1964’s Wednesday Morning 3 AM, a low-key collection of folk songs, including a number of originals penned by the precociously talented Simon. It was lost in the shuffle of the British Invasion, however, and Simon retreated to England while Garfunkel resumed his studies. When Columbia Records decided to reissue Wednesday Morning’s “The Sound of Silence” with electric overdubs in September 1965, Simon and Garfunkel were presented with ample reason to reform: the song was climbing its way to No. 1, hitting that coveted spot on New Year’s Day, 1966. Their second album, Sounds of Silence, was recorded in December 1965 during that heady time when “Silence” was making waves in the music industry. The rest is history. Though 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water remains the final Simon & Garfunkel studio album to date, the subsequent decades have been marked by numerous reunions. As long as both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are performing, chances are another reunion will eventually take place. For now and always, though, their legacy exists in the small but vital catalogue they’ve left behind.

On November 24, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will issue Simon & Garfunkel’s The Complete Albums Collection, a 12-CD Box set containing:

  • All five of Simon & Garfunkel’s stereo studio albums released between 1964 and 1970, newly remastered from first-generation analog sources;
  • First-time remasters of The Graduate soundtrack and 1981’s The Concert in Central Park;
  • 1972’s Greatest Hits album (which contained some unique performances unavailable elsewhere); and
  • Live concert albums from 1967, 1969 and 2004, as first released in 2002, 2008 and 2004, respectively.

Hit the jump for more details on this new collection including pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 2, 2014 at 14:51

Release Round-Up: Week of January 21

with 3 comments

The Beatles - U.S. Albums BoxThe Beatles, The U.S. Albums (Apple/Capitol/UMe)

The centerpiece product of The Fab Four’s 50th anniversary celebration (thus far, anyway) is a 13-disc box featuring the original, unique American releases on Capitol/United Artists from 1964 to 1970 (including six titles from that first year alone). All but the spoken-word documentary album The Beatles’ Story will be available individually, and all but that and 1970’s stereo-only Hey Jude compilation will be available in mono and stereo on the same disc.

The U.S. Albums: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Meet The Beatles!: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Beatles’ Second AlbumAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
A Hard Day’s Night: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Something NewAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Beatles ’65Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Early BeatlesAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Beatles VI: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Help! Original Motion Picture SoundtrackAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rubber SoulAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Yesterday and TodayAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Revolver: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Hey JudeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Del Amitri TwistedDel Amitri, Waking Hours Change Everything Twisted: Deluxe Editions (Mercury/UMC)

Best known in the U.S. for peppy rock radio hit “Roll to Me,” the recently-reunited Glasgow rockers’ first three alternative-friendly albums for A&M are being expanded as double-disc sets with heaps of non-LP B-sides.

Waking HoursAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Change Everything: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
TwistedAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Mike + The Mechanics The Singles 1986-2014Mike + The Mechanics, The Singles 1985-2014 The Living Years: Deluxe Edition (UMC)

To time with Mike Rutherford’s new memoir, the Genesis guitarist/bassist’s famed side-project (with vocals from Paul Carrack and Sad Café’s Paul Young) is first anthologized with a career-spanning double-disc hits and rarities set, and then an expansion of 1988’s The Living Years (whose title track was the band’s biggest worldwide hit), featuring a new version of the track with vocalist Andrew Roachford and a disc’s worth of live recordings from 1989.

The Singles 1985-2014Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
The Living YearsAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Off the GroundPaul McCartney, Off the Ground (MPL/Hear Music)

Sir Paul’s 1993 album gets a no-frills new remaster. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CharoCharo and The Salsoul Orchestra, Cuchi-Cuchi: Expanded Edition / Loleatta Holloway, Queen of the Night: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

Two more expanded albums from the Salsoul label on BBR – one from label queen Loleatta Holloway and the debut album from the famed singer-comedienne.

Charo: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Loleatta Holloway: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Major HarrisMajor Harris, How Do You Take Your Love / Margie Joseph. Knockout: Expanded Edition (Funky Town Grooves)

FTG puts the first and only RCA album by ex-Delfonic/”Love Won’t Let Me Wait” singer Major Harris on CD for the first time, while expanding a 1983 album by Harris’ onetime labelmate Margie Joseph.

Major Harris: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Margie Joseph: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Simon and Garfunkel - PlaylistVarious Artists, Playlist: The Very Best Of (Legacy)

The latest wave in Legacy’s low-price hits series includes some converted greatest hits titles (Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, Journey’s Greatest Hits LiveCloser: The Best of Sarah McLachlan) but also some new titles – chiefly some newly-curated compilations from Dean Martin, Ronnie Spector, Jermaine Jackson and Ray Parker, Jr. (All Amazon U.S. and U.K. links can be found in the link above!)

Everybody Loves Somebody: New “Playlist” Wave Includes Ronnie Spector, Simon and Garfunkel, Journey, Dean Martin, More

with 8 comments

Ronnie Spector - PlaylistIt’s a new year, and that means a new crop of Playlist titles from Legacy Recordings!  As in the past, this crop of releases runs the gamut, with a number of titles including rare or new-to-CD material and others relying on the tried and true.  The artists represented also encompass a wide variety of genres.  Fans of classic rock-and-roll and pop will find plenty to enjoy on a career-spanning disc from Ronnie Spector and a reissue of the vintage Greatest Hits album of Simon and Garfunkel, while those seeking their rock in a more modern vein can sample music from Sponge, Stabbing Westward and The Verve Pipe.  Traditional vocal pop enthusiasts should take notice of Legacy’s first-ever release from the catalogue of Dean Martin, and classic country gets a place with a Playlist from Ray Price.  For R&B fans, there are titles from Ray Parker, Jr. and Jermaine Jackson.  Christian artists Israel (Houghton) and New Breed get a Playlist volume, too.  The collection is rounded out by entries from rap group Three 6 Mafia, singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, and eighties rock heroes Journey.

All thirteen titles will be available in stores on Tuesday, January 21, and after the jump, we’ll spill details on all of them – plus full track listings with discographical annotation and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Paul Simon, “The Complete Albums Collection” and “Over the Bridge of Time”

with 11 comments

Paul Simon Complete coverI. Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

More than 45 years ago, Paul Simon dramatized a journey “to look for America” in the song boldly and simply called “America.”  Over 3-1/2 gorgeously elegiac minutes beginning with hymn-like vocalizing, Simon abandoned conventional song structure and rhyme to portray two young people searching for the heart of this promised land.  The conversational lyric is both deceptively simple and densely packed.  Optimism (“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together/I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”) cedes to weariness (“’Kathy,’ I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh,’ Michigan seems like a dream to me now/It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw/I’ve come to look for America…’”), and humor is tempered with a darkness bubbling just under the surface: “Laughing on the bus/Playing games with the faces/She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy/I said, ‘Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera…’”  But with the climactic, shattering proclamation that “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why” Simon expands his purview from two-character intimacy to something far more universal.   “Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/They’ve all come to look for America,” he and Art Garfunkel repeat with a probing urgency.  What does America mean to those masses?  Would Paul and Kathy – and their generation – ever find it?  Could the dreams implicit in the country’s promise ever be fulfilled?

When a landmark album arrived almost two decades later, one could have wondered: had Paul Simon finally found America?  On the title track of 1986’s Graceland, the singer-narrator makes a pilgrimage to the home of Elvis Presley, where he and his son “will be received.”  But he’s also travelling in search of a state of grace.  On “Graceland,” memory, history, fantasy and reality all melded into a whole both earthy and spiritual.  The song encapsulated Paul Simon’s art: looking inward and outward, forward and back, for America.  Paul Simon’s America isn’t just the New Jersey Turnpike or Memphis, Tennessee, but Bleecker Street and Corona, Queens, the Mardi Gras and Puerto Rico.  He’s cast his net wider, too, to Brazil and Africa.  But wherever he’s sojourned in song, bringing new characters to life, it’s been with an intellect’s curiosity, a poet’s sensibility and a rock-and-roller’s attitude.  Those travels are well-documented in a new box set from Legacy Recordings.  The 15-CD Paul Simon – The Complete Albums Collection collects in one package Simon’s twelve studio albums and two live concert recordings, and it’s the most comprehensive look at the artist’s ouevre yet.  It’s joined by a 20-track anthology, Over the Bridge of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective.  For the first time on a single disc compilation, Bridge draws on Simon’s solo material as well as that of Simon and Garfunkel.

Both releases trace Simon’s musical evolution.  From heroes like Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Everly Brothers, he gleaned how to merge his own voice with that of partner and pal Art Garfunkel into a powerful whole.  But where did he learn the tools to become one of the sixties’ most literate and mature tunesmiths? Simon’s songs eloquently mused on the dissatisfaction of his generation, and though some accused the young man of being “too serious,” he frequently utilized a wicked sense of humor to skewer those persons and institutions he felt deserving. He tapped into something even greater with 1970’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and followed Simon and Garfunkel’s break-up album of the same name with a solo work that brought the focus back to the personal. Since then, the singer and songwriter has never stopped pushing his own envelope to create new ways to synthesize sounds from around the country and the world – even if the songs always end up sounding, thankfully, like “Paul Simon songs.”

Join us after the jump for a closer look, won’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 15, 2013 at 10:31

American Tunes: Legacy Announces Complete Paul Simon Box, New Single-CD Anthology [UPDATED 9/24]

with 18 comments

Paul Simon Complete coverUPDATED 9/24/13 [UPDATES IN BOLD TO ORIGINAL POST OF 8/19]: And here’s to you, Mr. Simon.

There isn’t much that Paul Simon hasn’t accomplished in his 50+ years as a professional musician, singer, and songwriter.  Born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Queens, New York, Simon has racked up 12 Grammy Awards, an Emmy, a Kennedy Center Honor, the first-ever Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and Academy Award, Golden Globe and Tony nominations.  That’s not to mention being one-half of the most famed pair in American popular song and recording twelve acclaimed solo studio albums.  He’s also had his songs recorded by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Harper’s Bizarre and The Bangles.  Surely an artist with such a C.V. could rest on his laurels, but that’s not the scrappy Rhymin’ Simon.  Still, there’s something so right about taking a look back on a storied career even when future chapters are yet to be written.  Hence, on October 15, Legacy Recordings will issue The Complete Albums Collection on 15 CDs, bringing under one roof all twelve of Simon’s studio recordings plus two live albums and 37 bonus tracks.  That same day, the label drops Over the Bridge of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective, a 20-track, 1-CD career overview tracing Simon’s oeuvre from his Simon and Garfunkel days through 2011’s So Beautiful or So What.

Nearly a decade ago, in 2004, Rhino and Warner Bros. Records released The Studio Recordings 1972-2000 encompassing nine studio albums and thirty bonus tracks.  This box covered the period between Paul Simon (1972) and You’re the One (2000).  As Simon has released two more studio albums since 2000 and overseen reissue of more of his back catalogue, Legacy’s box is both an update and an expansion of that original box set.  The new Complete Albums Collection rewinds to 1965, when the young folk troubadour recorded an acoustic LP on a sojourn to London.  The Paul Simon Songbook kicks off the new box, reprising the two bonus tracks (alternates of “I Am a Rock” and “A Church is Burning”) which debuted on Legacy’s original 2004 CD reissue of the once-rare album.

What exactly will you find in the new box and on the new anthology?  Just hit the jump, won’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 24, 2013 at 12:31

He Picks The Songs That Make The Whole World Sing: Clive Davis Curates “The Soundtrack of My Life”

leave a comment »

Clive bookIn a year that counts Tommy Mottola, Cissy Houston, Burt Bacharach and Paul Anka among the music biz icons who have published, or will publish, their memoirs, one such figure’s autobiography has already made headlines: Clive Davis’ The Soundtrack of My Life.  The attorney-turned-music mogul took a no-holds-barred approach to chronicling his history, including his tenures at Columbia, Arista, J and the RCA Label Group.  This should come as no surprise to anybody who’s followed his illustrious and admittedly controversial career, but some readers might still be surprised at the sheer volume of remarkable musicians affected in one way or another by Davis’ “golden ears,” including Bob Dylan, Donovan, Lou Reed, The Kinks and Sean “Puffy” Combs.  Since his appointment by towering music industry leader Goddard Lieberson to lead Columbia Records in 1965, Davis has never stopped making waves with his bold, hands-on hitmaking style.

Now, as Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment (a position Davis has held since 2008 at the current parent company of all the aforementioned labels), Davis has teamed with Legacy Recordings to reflect on his career via a series of Spotify playlists with special commentary tracks.  Though it’s unusual here at this branch of Second Disc HQ to direct our readers to Spotify – after all, aren’t there plenty of amazing physical releases out there demanding your listening attention? – the opportunity to hear a venerable legend reflecting on his considerable C.V. isn’t one to pass up.  And Legacy’s “The Legacy Of” app, on which Davis’ playlists are featured, is a prime example of how the online streaming service’s offerings can complement a physical music collection.

Spotify users who navigate to “The Legacy Of” app will discover Davis as the Featured Artist.   The menu provides links to: Albums / Biography / Photos / Playlists / Discography. Head over to “Playlists” to listen or subscribe to six new playlists curated by Davis himself. Each is populated by artists with whom he has worked during his career at CBS Records (Columbia and Epic and their associated labels), Arista Records (including LaFace and Bad Boy), J Records and more.  You can directly visit the “Legacy Of” app at this link. Davis’ six playlists are entitled The Soundtrack of My Life, Best of 2000s, Best of 1990s, Best of 1980s, Best of 1970s, and Best of 1960s.  Naturally, the Soundtrack of My Life playlist is the one with commentary from Davis.  He has recorded reminiscences for fourteen of the playlist’s 20 tracks, and the playlist includes songs from many of the artists with whom he is most associated.

Which songs has Davis selected?  Hit the jump for details and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Art Garfunkel, “The Singer”

with 2 comments

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

Release Round-Up: Week of August 28

leave a comment »

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.