Thursday, October 09, 2008

Album Of The Day #80: THE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS (1964-1970) - Simon & Garfunkel

Title: The Columbia Studio Recordings (1964-1970)

Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Label: Columbia
Year: 2001
Recorded and Originally Released: 1964-1970
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.: You Can Tell the World [Bob Gibson & Bob Camp]/Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream [Ed McCurdy]/ Bleecker Street/Sparrow/Benedictus [Traditional, arranged and adapted by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel]/The Sounds of Silence/He Was My Brother [Paul Kane]/Peggy-O [Traditional]/Go Tell It on the Mountain [Traditional]/The Sun Is Burning [Ian Campbell]/The Times They Are a-Changin' [Bob Dylan]/Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M./Bleecker Street [Demo]*/He Was My Brother [Alternate]*/The Sun Is Burning [Alternate] [Ian Campbell]*
Sounds Of Silence: The Sounds of Silence/Leaves That Are Green/Blessed/Kathy's Song/Somewhere They Can't Find Me/Anji [Davey Graham]/Richard Cory/A Most Peculiar Man/April Come She Will/We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'/I Am a Rock/Blues Run the Game [Jackson C. Frank]*/Barbriallen [Traditional]*/Rose of Aberdeen [Traditional]*/Roving Gambler [Traditional]*
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme: Scarborough Fair/Canticle [Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel]/Patterns/Cloudy/Homeward Bound/The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine/The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)/The Dangling Conversation/Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall/A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara'd into Submission)/For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her/A Poem on the Underground Wall/7 O'Clock News/Silent Night/Patterns [Demo]*/A Poem on the Underground Wall [Demo]*/
Bookends: Bookends Theme/Save the Life of My Child/America/Overs/Voices of Old People [Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel]/Old Friends/Bookends Theme/Fakin' It/Punky's Dilemma/Mrs. Robinson/Hazy Shade of Winter/At the Zoo/You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies*/Old Friends [Demo]*
Bridge Over Troubled Water: Bridge Over Troubled Water/El Condor Pasa (If I Could) [Paul Simon, Jorge Milchberg & Daniel A. Robles]/Cecilia/Keep the Customer Satisfied/So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright/The Boxer/Baby Driver/The Only Living Boy in New York/Why Don't You Write Me/Bye Bye Love [Felice Bryant & Boudleaux Bryant]/Song for the Asking/Feuilles-O [Traditional]*/Bridge Over Troubled Water [Demo]*
*Bonus Tracks
Written by: Paul Simon, except where noted
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. Produced by: Tom Wilson
Sounds Of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme Produced by: Bob Johnston
Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water Produced by: Paul Simon, Arthur Garfunkel and Roy Halee
Thoughts: Simon & Garfunkel's short career with Columbia, which ended with their break-up in 1970, spans just six years with five albums. This is a great box set, which doesn't complete the S&G catalogue, but is great to have if you have any familiarity with their hits. What's missing is various mono single versions and even the mono versions of the first four LPs, but that is essentially splitting hairs. Today's generation could care less about the differences between mono and stereo. Half the time, you'll probably encounter people who don't even know what mono is (and shame on them). In today's market, this is practically the only way to get their wonderful debut LP, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. as the stand alone CD release of that LP is incredibly hard to find. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen it outside of this box set, which is a shame. It's a wonderful LP, much in the style of Bob Dylan's self-titled debut. Plus, there truly is nothing like hearing the bare-bones acoustic version of "Sounds Of Silence". The electric version truly took all the heart out of the song. If you are thinking about getting S&G's catalogue, the smartest thing for you to do is just buy this box. It keeps going down in price (I think it's at $25 on Amazon) and is much cheaper than buying the five LPs separately for $10 a piece. As for the bonus cuts, they are useful, but most of them are acoustic demos of traditional material. Probably the most interesting bonus cut is the "Bridge Over Troubled Water" take, which features Paul, instead of Art, singing lead. Also, the wonderful B-Side to "Fakin' It", "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies" is included.
About The Artwork: I love the packaging design. The cover comes from the poster included with Bookends and is an awesome picture. The booklet is filled with the lyrics, the original liner notes and some great essays for each album. The only thing useful missing is probably a list of all the studio musicians who worked with S&G (you only get the list for Bridge Over Troubled Water because that was included on the liner of the original LP). Each CD is packed in cardboard sleeves, exactly replicating the original LPs.
Rating: 9/10
I'd say this is definitely an essential box set.

No comments: