George Starostin's Reviews



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Natty Bokenkamp <> (19.05.2000)

I greatly enjoy your page, and I appreciate the immense effort in compiling such a definitive collection of folk and rock artists. However, I could not read your review of Simon and Garfunkel without feeling slightly homicidal urges. I may be a S&G freak, but you don't really seem to have gotten the idea at all. You might try listening to Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which is by far their greatest achievement as a duo. And if they are 'the greatest folk duo ever', why do they only merit a 2?

Also, I don't think you should dismiss Paul Simon's solo work as 'commercial crap'. Have you ever even listened to Graceland? Some of his stuff was bad, admittedly (One Trick Pony, The Capeman), but the Concert in Central Park album does not give the best impression of his songs. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

[Special author note: ooh... Fan comments can be very biting sometimes. You try to break your head and come out with a lengthy essay on an artists advantages and flaws, and all you get in response is 'you don't really seem to have gotten the idea at all'. What if I just wrote in bold letters 'SIMON AND GARFUNKEL SUCK AND IF YOU LIKE THEM YOUR A MUTHAHFUCKIN JERK!' At least that would save some time and spare some useless thinking processes.]

Ben Greenstein <> (05.06.2000)

I've always liked these guys, and have always really respected Paul Simon as a composer, but some of the rabid fans confuse me. The album Bridge Over Troubled Water, for example, leaves me feeling cold. And Simon's Graceland is really one of his weaker solo albums - the world music on there is very sloppy and formulaic. I far prefer Hearts And Bones" on which it sounds like Paul took a LOT of time to write the songs.

And you know me - I would never use an argument like "you just don't get it!" What I would choose to say is "I don't get it - as to how you can ignore the sheer compositional genius present on these albums." However, unlike the two other guys who e-mailed you on them, I can understand why you don't like them too much. They're not fantastic, they're just good. I would probably give them a three (I would give a lot of artists three, though), but it would definitely be a low three. I do like Paul Simon's solo stuff better - keep in mind, though, that I also like solo Sting better than the Police.

Philip Maddox <> (07.07.2000)

I got these guys' collected output in a box set (appropriately title Collected Works), and I pretty much liked all of it. Simon and Garfunkel could really harmonize with each other, and Simon could write some classic songs - just off the top of my head, i can think of 'I Am A Rock', 'The Boxer', 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters', 'Scarborough Fair', 'Homeward Bound', 'The Sounds Of Silence', 'Mrs. Robinson', and probably a bunch more I just can't remember right now. Their albums did have a bit of filler, not to mention how short they were - less than 30 minutes apiece in some cases! However, I even like most of their filler, as the singing is usually beautiful enough to elevate so-so material to a higher plane. The complaint about "short albums" goes away too when you get all 5 of their albums on 3 CDs. I'd rate 'em a bit higher - I really dig these guys, and certainly dig them more than Crosby Stills and Nash. CSN is really good, but these guys deliver more classics per mile if you ask me. I swear, a GREAT Simon and Garfunkel song can really move me - 'The Boxer' in particular makes me feel all weepy. Give 'em something like a 4 from me. Too bad they broke up - Paul's solo albums were good, but not as good as when he was with Garfunkel. And Art's solo albums? Sure, I'll buy those at about the same time I build up a Roger Daltry solo collection, which is to say, never.

Mike Mannheim <> (15.07.2000)

These guys are my favorite band in the world, mostly because they were the first band I ever grew attached too. There's something about Simon's lyrics that really affects me, I just can't explain it. For a duo with only five studio albums, they created an astounding number of classic songs, or near classics.

As for Simon's solo career, it really shouldn't be dismissed. He continues to grow as a songwriter with each passing album, reaching his peak in the late '80s with Hearts and Bones and Graceland (but he never burned out, at least not yet). He's been very consistent, none of his albums are below par, save for maybe One-Trick Pony, which is an extreme case anyway, since he was absorbed in the production of his film. I don't know about his other fans, but I thought The Capeman was good.

Steve Hall <> (10.02.2001)

Yeh,i have to admit i like these guys.I especially like your theory on pigeon holing their music and you're right it is difficult to do so.I mean they emerged from the sixties as one of the biggest groups and yet their music seems oblivious to what was going on around them at the time.Now anyone else would have been shot down in flames for that yet S+G just carried merrily on.

To my ears their music and the feel of it gets to me,it has a really calming effect and yet is rarely dull or boring.Similar to how the Beach Boys have such a good feeling behind their best work.I think this is so important in an artist when they capture or move the emotion of a listener.

Paul Simon certainly wrote some of the finest tunes from the sixties,my favorites definitely being "America" and "The Boxer" and Art had one hell of a voice.Having said all that i suppose i would struggle to find an area where S+G were really innovative or pushed any boundaries back.I'll also have to concede your point about some of the filler being really bad.But even for the casual listener of music a couple of albums and a greatest hits from S+G is definitely essential.

Palash Ghosh <> (27.08.2001)

As a child I liked Simon & Garfunkel, but as an adult I have no use for them. While they DID record a handful of good/great songs, I find them too limited and constrained -- they were after all a pair of wimpy liberal Jewish intellectuals from New York who were neither tough nor cool nor attractive nor dangerous nor innovative.

I was surprised to find out how very successful they were (their worst-selling LP sold more than The Stones best-selling album in the 1960's).

However, Paul Simon wrote some truly unforgettable songs, namely 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' (a hymnal as great as The Beatles' 'Let it be'), 'Homeward bound,' 'Mrs. Robinson' and the funny 'Keep the customer satisfied.' Aside from that, I don't really like any of their stuff.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.10.2001)

These guys definitely added a great deal to the music scene. I do wish that Art Garfunkel received more lead vocals. Paul Simon's voice is OK but lacks power and emotion in many instances. Truthfully, I find their music pretty consistent with a few standouts hear and there. I do like the way you describe the influences of the Stones, Beatles, Who, and Floyd in your intro paragraph. None the less you really should get Bridge Over Troubled Water. Its certainly their best release.

Gerard Nowak <> (09.01.2003)

I'm not at all convinced their last studio album is the best, I guess it's a sort of myth, heavily relying on just record sales. For me an archetypal S&G song is made of the two voices and the acoustic guitar (plus some little studio adornments, perhaps). That is why I like their underrated debut though I do not claim that this is their best effort. Still, which one is, as they are all marred by some rubbish songs? Simon once said that a (pop) artist needs to change remarkably from album to album, as listeners feel abused if they hear something they heard before and ulimately they like the old thing less. Seems clever, but I wouldn't mind late Simon and Garfunkel sticking to the mood of their best Parsley, Sage. . . songs. In my opinion Bookends misfired and they changed too much on Bridge.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (17.08.2006)

If I was a Calvinist, I might say that it was God's will that I eventually got into S&G coz God knows I had enough hints and opportunities in my youth. When I was 10, this local artist, known to me as Mrs Wyatt, asked to paint me {on a canvas !} and I never even questioned it though I have recently. The area we lived in was rather highbrow and we were only one of two Black families and I had a hard time at times but I was obviously intriguing to an artist as the other family had kids that were in their late teens or grown up while the four of us at the time were all under 13. I have no way of knowing how she came to want to paint my picture and as I recall, I didn't really want to do it {in those days all I wanted to do was play football} but my parents said it was ok and besides, it was a pound a sitting. That, I liked the sound of, coz a quid was a fortune to a 10 year old in '73. It wasn't really a sitting as I had to stand for three hours at a time in this tartan cap and red and white scarf as this woman painted my portrait over three or four sessions and believe me, it is hard for a kid to stand totally still. But I was used to it coz my Dad loved photography and he took zillions of photos of us as kids. But for that length of time, it was difficult.....except that I barely noticed the time coz Mrs Wyatt {you know, I never did know her name} played this music.....It was a bit boring at first coz I didn't know any of the songs but through all the sessions it really grew on me and evidently never left me. I actually began to look forward to them and I'd be disappointed when she'd listen to plays on the radio; I wanted those songs !!The two songs I definitely remember turned out to be EL CONDOR PASA {one of my strongest chilhood memories is hearing the lines 'I'd rather be a hammer than a nail/yes I would' in the attic studio of Mrs Wyatt's house} and HOMEWARD BOUND. They really stuck in my head. The following year my school were entrants in a music festival and one of the songs we had to sing was called SCARBOROUGH FAIR and I absolutely loved it with it's multiple parts about 'clarion calls' and true loves; along with OL' ZIP COON, it was one of the hits of the festival. But years before either of these two happenings, when I was six, there was this programme that used to come on on a saturday morning called "Zocko". I've yet to meet anyone who has even heard of it, let alone remembers it or actually saw it {it was on, I'm sure, in '68 or more likely, '69}. I recall virtually nothing about it except that I used to look forward to watching it and was really emotionally drawn by it. There was a particular segment that I used to really like and always looked forward to; these people would be dancing on a bridge singing a song that had this wonderful refrain of " feeling groovy...." and that stuck right in my head for 21 years when I found out it was Simon and Garfunkel {or Uncle and Garfunkel, as a friend of mine called them}. It was through a chance encounter with a real shitty LP called their greatest hits {loads of the songs were live and sounded so thin and weak} that the realization came that at various points in my young life, significant moments had been underpinned with their music; becoming an independent telly watcher and choosing what I actually liked to view, coming into contact with the world of art and the first time I actually felt independently useful and learning to structure and harmonize in song. Of course these realizations are retrospective, yet though I've loved many artists far more no group or individual singer comes close to having it's fingerprints littered over my life quite like S&G do, it's uncanny; my mother in law is a Mrs Robinson who knows that Jesus loves her more than she could know {and unlike the woman in the song, a finer and more sincere woman you'd be hard pressed to find}, my wife is a Cathy {once on her birthday, we were in a restaurant with a live guitarist and he played KATHY'S SONG and when I told her the title, she just would not believe me ! In the end, the guitarist settled the dispute}; I went to a school for boys when I was 13~14 and that year I was there, they experimented by allowing one girl to attend and her name was Celia though for some reason, we all called her Cecelia and coz she was three years older than my year, believe me, she was always breaking our hearts ! But unlike the one in the song {who is something of a manipulative slag}, I got on well with her and she was actually one of the few there that didn't try to break my confidence daily. I could go on.......I'm not a fan of S&G {it's arguable whether I'm a fan of anyone or thing} but they really resonate for me. I don't think they were innovators, Paul Simon wrote some great songs in an era where the standards were really high, but so did Gene Clark {at the risk of deportation, I only just like BRIDGE OVER..;if I never heard it again, I wouldn't cry}; his guitaring was what I'd call competent, it rarely dove into the bizarre realms of say, Marc Bolan, whose strumming for Tyrannosaurus Rex is as much a feature of the songs as anything else in thrown in; their harmonies, though beautiful, were no more so than a plethora of well known {Beatles, Mamas and Papas, Beach Boys, Byrds} and obscure {Amen Corner, the Honeybus, the Move} artists; their electric excursions didn't bring folkie death threats and were overshadowed somewhat by the Byrds and Dylan; Simon going to live in England, as important as it was, was just part of a trend {how he dealt with what he found their is more significant} of Americans dwelling in the land of the old colonial master; their voices, though both good, to me aren't among the outstanding ones of the period, I can't think of any particularly groundbreaking arrangements {OLD FRIENDS is simply painful rather than original and if you listen to the lovely AMERICA, the drummer can't play that waltz time......although in later years Rush did cop the idea from SOUND OF SILENCE's lines about the words of prophets written on subway walls for their SPIRIT OF RADIO}; the social comment and insight into human nature is strong but no more so than Frank Zappa; their avoidance of psychedelia is impressive but so is that of Dylan, the Kinks and the Band; as easy as it would be to point out what they're not, I prefer to focus on the fact that they came up with a host of wonderful songs that I'll be listening to well into my old age. I don't care whether a group is innovative or not; that's irrelevant to my enjoyment of the music. I later heard Mrs Wyatt's picture did real well but I never saw it and never have and we didn't do well in the music festival either. As for Zocko, any information on it appears to have sunk without a trace. But S&G's music remains present and consistent.


Bob Josef <> (22.11.2005)

Well, I have to agree that the vocals are the best thing about the album, particularly on "Benedictus" and "The Sound of Silence." I would even agree that you can hear the vocals on the original of the latter much better than the electric remix. Otherwise, though, they are jumping on the folkie bandwagon. Not entirely insincerely -- you had to be there to fully grasp how young people were beginning to be energized by the civil rights and anti-Cold War movements. Unfortunately, that really dates most of this stuff pretty severely. Fortunately, Simon learned rapidly (going to England to write The Paul Simon Songbook seems to made a huge difference) to come up with more universal statements. By far, this is their least essential album.

Gene Over <> (25.07.2006)

In your review of Wednesday Morning 3 AM, you say:

"('He Was My Brother', copyright 1963 instead of the usual 1964 and most probably representing Paul's earliest attempts at becoming a professional writer), with pretty dire results - the lyrics are muddy (it's hard even to understand why the brother in question was shot) and the melody not too memorable."

But I think it's pretty easy to understand why the brother was shot. The first line of the second verse says it all: "Freedom Rider...."

The Freedom Rides were part of the civil rights protests in the US south in the spring and summer of 1961. Conceived as a test of a then recent Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation in public transportation facilities, the Freedom Rides saw white and black volunteers, mostly young men from the north, riding non-segregated buses into the south. The riders were met with violence and hostility, often confronted by armed mobs and frequently suffered beatings when they stopped. One bus was firebombed.

While "He Was My Brother" has many faults, lyrical opacity isn't one of them. Start with the second verse:

"Freedom Rider" - I don't know how much more direct that reference could be, but the verse continues to build on the facts of the Freedom Rides:

"They cursed my brother to his face Go home outsider This town's gonna be your burying place."

This is a description of the riders - "outsider(s)" - and the reception they received throughout the south.

The third verse contains more protest images: the brother "singin' on his knees" before "an angry mob." The first image joins the the non-violent tactics the riders used to respond to the mobs they faced, with the group singing that was a common element of many civil rights protests. The second is just a factual description of what the riders faced in many towns throughout the south.

In the third verse, in further references to the struggle for civil rights, we are told that the brother hates what is "wrong," and, in the fourth verse, that he died "so his brothers could be free."

So, as I said above, the lyrics aren't muddy; they're almost painfully obvious. The larger faults are Simon's use of mundane and trite images in the service of a hyperbolic, strident, and, ultimately, easy, message. You can see that Simon is pressing too hard for significance by having the brother killed. Although many riders were severely injured, savagely beaten, and improperly jailed, none died. It's as if Simon didn't trust his audience to see the horrors of the situation as it was - and didn't trust in his abilities to convey them - but needed to invent a death to invoke the outrage he was trying to express.

Compare this with Dylan's "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" to see how a better songwriter deals with injustice, or "Only A Pawn In Their Game," which also deals with the death of a civil rights protester. The detail is richer, the message much more nuanced.

And this doesn't even begin to touch the differences between Dylan's performances and those of Simon and Garfunkle on "He Was My Brother."


Adam Harrington <> (15.05.2000)

All too often, Simon and Garfunkel are dismissed as highbrow folk rockers whose only redeeming value are their harmonies and Simon's poetry -- which, incidentally, are beyond comparison. Anyone who listened to Sounds of Silence in its entirety would be immediately converted; this is not just plain music that doesn't move out of the folk rock genre that Bob Dylan had already gained control over years earlier anyway. This borders on a concept album.

Simon and Garfunkel are definitely not light folksy types -- they had a lot of dark stuff. And every last track on this album, whether you'd classify it as "filler" or not, has a darker tone. Right off the bat, the title track seems to deal with some kind of alienation -- they are talking to the darkness about people who are out of touch with reality. There are three songs that use Simon's brilliant poetry to describe the otherwise cliched subject of lost love, including "We've Got a Groovey Thing Going" While it is more upbeat, it fits in fine with the dark, alienated concept of the album; yes, it is a little happier, and it does bear the comment "just for fun" on the LP notes, but it is still in the minor key and it still deals with a rather unhappy subject -- albeit in simpler terms than "Kathy's Song" and "Leaves that are Green." Simon's writing indicates that he is alienated from everything -- he is alone watching pebbles in brooks, writing songs that don't work out, and even being forced to withdraw from society after committing a crime. And judging by the cynical "Blessed," he has been alienated from his faith too.

The concept has its limits, I suppose -- there are third-person songs here, but both -- right next to each other -- deal with men who commit suicide. (N.B. "Richard Cory" was a turn of the century poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson; I haven't seen the CD, but the LP has a note "with apologies to E.A. Robinson"). So these third-person songs uphold the dark tone just fine. No, this is not lightweight folk pop. It is as dark as your typical Pink Floyd album.

Which brings me to "I Am A Rock." Did you ever notice something about this song? It is about the exact same thing as Pink Floyd's The Wall; Pink himself could be singing it! It even contains the line "I've built walls." In fact, I was just listening to this album the other night, and while I'd never made that connection before, I was so stunned by the similarity in subject matter between the respective song and album that I had to put The Wall on when it was over.

What a way to end it. Alienation from everything in the surroundings to the point where the environment is silenced, and feeling a need to hide, followed by a break about suicide, then back to alienation ("April Come She Will" ends with the line "a love once new has grown old," which fits right in to the stuff on the first side of the album) to the point where the speaker, Simon himself or whoever he's personifying, ends up in the same situation as Pink in The Wall. I guess this shows that you don't have to be a burned out rock star like Pink to end up needing a wall to withdraw from society, because Simon is writing this from the perspective of the everyday man.

A perfect 10 for the album, no questions asked.

Kenyon <> (01.08.2000)

Not bad a-tall. If you take it song by song, it really comes up lacking, but as a whole I like it."April Come She Will" is a very pretty little song, and "A Most Peculiar Man" is very well-done. The melody, though simple, works really well for the lyrics - fairly inconsequential til the end, when, whoops, he kills himself - the pretty little melody is a startling contrast to that. I also really like "Kathy's Song," although the live version on Greatest Hits is better. And I'm really beginning to think that I'm the only person on this whole goshdanged planet who likes "Blessed." Granted, the shouted lyrics are a bit ugly, and it didn't really need to be electric, but I do like the lyrics. It's just so bitter. "Leaves That Are Green" is pretty, and "I Am a Rock" just kicks some ass.

BUT....the rest of them kinda bite, in their own special ways. "Richard Cory" is just dumb, and I have a bit of a problem with the track order - two suicide songs in a row? And when one of them is vastly inferior to the other? That's just crazy. "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" starts off nicely, but then the lyrics get stupid when he starts talking about how he robbed the liquor store. And has anyone noticed that this is just a rewrite of "Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m."? Speaking of rewrites, if you listen to "Anji" close enough, you can hear the hooks for just about every single other song on the album. I've read reports that Paul was obsessed with "Anji" for quite a while, so it kinda makes sense that he would take bits from it and make songs out of them. I thought that was neat, even though I really don't like the song.

And since when does the CD have a live version of "Homeward Bound"??? Mine certainly doesn't.

Bob Josef <> (29.08.2000)

The album tapped into the restlessness and post-adolescent angst of 60's teenagers, but it was wrapped in gorgeous singing (mostly by Garfunkel) and catchy, if unusual, melodies (this is where I disagree with your assessment of S & G, George). Otherwise, how could an album filled withsongs about suicides and alienation be such a massive hit?

The remixed version of the title track really caught them off guard, so I don't think our boys sound quite as comfortable with fuller band arrangements as they would in the future. But I do like "Blessed" -- the discordance (well, for Simon and Garfunkel, it's discordant) fits in with the alienation-from-religion theme in the lyrics. By the way, it's kind of weird that a couple of nice Jewish boys from Queens would use so much Christian imagery in their music (check out the 1st album for more examples).

There's certainly a fair amount of filler here-- "Anji," which is pleasant but unnecessary, the silly "We've got a Groovy Thing Going" and the overmelodramatic "Somewhere He Can't Find Me." Evidently, deadlines forced Simon to rewrite an older song when he fell short of material. And "Kathy's Song" would have been better if Art had sung it, but I guess Paul wasn't about to give a song about his current girlfriend to anyone else. But still, the album stands as a group of songs about post-adolescent end of innocence and observation about the darkness in human relationships. That makes it a lot less dated than the social protest stuff on the first album.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.10.2001)

A good release but this certainly would not rank as their number 1. The instrumental track 'Anji' merely features a session guitarists work. The name escapes me. 'Blessed' is a little disjointed as well. The rest though is pretty darn good. Difficult to pick a favorite as five or so tracks could vie for that honor.

Pat Shipp <> (13.10.2003)

This is their first truly great album. It's a big improvement over the country-tinged Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. Yes, the title track of this album is a timeless masterpiece, but the greatest moment on here is the BEAUTIFUL "April Come She Will". What is it about this song that just takes me to Heaven every time I hear it? The glorious tone of the acoustic guitar? The sheer melancholy of the vocal melody? The overall profoundness and emotion of the song? You guessed it - all of the above. This might even be my favorite S&G song of all time. And those lyrics are simply brilliant, they use different months to represent different feelings. Man, I really do consider Paul Simon to be the greatest songwriter that ever lived (along with Jim Morrison, my idol, and another gifted poet). I also adore "Leaves That Are Green" for it's rapturous chorus (listen to the way Art sings "Leaves that are green turn to brown"). And "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" is perhaps the only rebellious song that the boys ever did. Once again, I totally dig that chorus. The other tracks are all good in their own right, but the real gems are the ones that I have already extolled. And this album is sort of a precursor to Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme, which I consider to be the greatest album EVER released in the history of music.


Richard C. Dickison <> (17.05.99)

Now hold on there buddy, this band may not have been The Rolling Stones or the Beatles but who else is? I really believe allot of 70's pop took there que right here, CSNY, to the Carpenters (god did I just raise the hair on the back of my neck there with that analogy) anyway.

They defined some of the major musical movements of the late sixties with this sound and intelligence and this really is their defining album.

Anyway lets place them at or above The Mamas and The Papas and leave it at that but give this album, as a first, some high marks for setting in motion a higher level of pop music with it's folk roots still showing.

I myself went out and got that CD remaster megaset that represents most of there work except for some live stuff and I will pull it out every now and then. It sure beats out Joan Baez or Peter, Paul and Mary any old day.

Jeff <> (19.08.99)

Hey now. Now you've made me a little angry. You're statement that "Cloudy," "Patterns," "Dangling Conversation," and "Poem on the Underground Wall" are only recommended to "diehard-hardcore folk lovers" is wrong, wrong, wrong!!!! "Patterns" isn't even a folk song!!! The melodies on all of these are incredibly strong; I'm humming "Cloudy" right now. Grrr..... See, I just got back from a road trip (to a Dylan/Simon concert, no less!) and we listened to this album on the way home. My friends and I came to the conclusion that there isn't a single weak track here, with the exception of the "Silent Night" bit, which is unfortunately a little dated. But other than that, there is NOTHING wrong with this album. Good lyrics, good tunes, good production, everything. But maybe that's just me....

Ben Greenstein <> (05.06.2000)

A very pleasant little pop album. I don't hear folk on it at all - maybe "folk rock," but that's a meaningless term anyways. I really like "Patterns," and all of the hits rule (and there were a lot of 'em!), so I give this a ten. Really nice melodies!

Mike Mannheim <> (15.07.2000)

"A Simple Desultory Phillipic" is based on an protest song Simon wrote in circa 1964 with the subtitle "Or How I Was Lyndon Johnsoned Into Submission." That earlier version was much more nasty, while the version on here is supposed to be comical. As for the rest of the album, this probably qualifies as their most quintessential. It has some folk, some rock and some pop. A nine.

Kenyon <> (01.08.2000)

The title track is absolutely beautiful. I can't even describe how beautiful it is. It just is. There are a lot of other really great ones on here, too. "Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall" is one of my favorite S&G songs - I really like the "continue to continue" lines. I also really love "The Dangling Conversation" ("I only kiss your shadow" is such a great line) and "A Poem on the Underground Wall." "Homeward Bound," "For Emily..." and "Feelin' Groovy" are all fantastic songs, but they all sound infinitely better in the live versions on Greatest Hits. All three of them are much lighter and less draggy. "Patterns" and "Cloudy" are both all right, although I'm a bit confused as to how you could say that "Cloudy" doesn't have a melody. However, "A Simple Desultory Philippic" and "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" really bite the big one, and "Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night" tries really hard to be depressing but can't quite manage it. If I were giving it a letter grade, it would probably get a B-.

Bob Josef <> (30.08.2000)

Yes, they do attempt to make the Big Social Statement with "7' O'clock News/Silent Night" -- more Christian imagery, contrasted with How Horrible The World Is. I usually go bigtime for pretension, but S&G are not Yes or even the Moody Blues. This was their worst cut to date. Not even very clever, never mind "important."

Actually, the contrast thing works much better with the blend of the pastoral "Scarborough Fair" and the nightmarish counterpoint "Canticle" -- here is where they succeed where "7 and Silent" failed. And I do think you miss the point with "Philippic" -- it's PARODY of Dylan, not a serious attempt to imitate him. Took a little air out of the "Bard of the 60's," but not too many noticed. I have a fondness for "The Dangling Conversation" because my 7th grade English teacher tried to get us to analyze the lyrics (hey, this was the 60's, folks -- but since we all thought that "I Am a Rock" was about an actual ROCK, she couldn't get too far with this one). It's kind of sad, but not in a too sappy, melodramatic way. I think, though, that any Paul Simon song with the word "Groovy" in the title should be tossed out the window. (A group named Harper's Bizarre had a massive US hit with a very poppy version of "Feelin' Groovy" that was even more cloying than the original.)

I do think that Simon is growing as a melodocist, showing a lot more variety than on the previous two albums -- there's some genuine humor here ("Philippic," "Pleasure Machine") [as opposed to overcutesiness] that balances the darker tunes like "Poem" and "Cloudy," so the album is not quite as unrelentingly depressing as Sounds of Silence. It's not good to be too depressed all the time -- if the trend started on the last album kept going, Simon would have turned into Roger Waters. Not a pretty picture to contemplate.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.10.2001)

Love the vocal harmonies although I wish Art was more on the lead. He really does elevate 'For Emily'. Call me crazy but I kind of like 'Cloudy'. Its a pleasant breezy little tune which features Paul Simon in fine voice. 'A Poem On The Underground Wall' is probably the weakest link on the record. '7 O Clock News/Silent Night' fits in nicely as the album closer as it sums up the mood with all the controversy and violence of the 1960's. Again picking my fave would be pretty hard here. Either '59th Street Bridge' or 'Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall'. Then again there is 'Scarborough Fair'. Choices, Choices????

Ben Kramer <> (06.01.2002)

Well, more like 70% unsurpassed vocal harmonies and 30% blanc acoustic strumming. However, the gems to be found on their third album are probably their best ever. First, 'Scarborough Fair' has some of the best harmonies in rock history (only comparable to 'Nowhere Man'). 'Homeward Bound' is another great song, currently being used in the MSN commercial. The lyrics aren't Simon's best, but the harmonies are once again great. 'The 59th Street Bridge Song' seems kind of childish to me, and it also sounds like they wanted to become trippy in their lyrics. It's not bad ('Yellow Submarine' and 'Octopus' Garden' aren't bad, so why should this one be), but I'm not impressed. 'For Emily Whenever I May Find Her' is a beautiful song, one of their greatest. It is really moving. However, my one problem with your review is that you called 'The Dangling Conversation' a "nice ballad". Now, this will probably be the closest I will ever come to flaming you, but what the fuck are you talking about. This maybe the greatest song ever written. It is beyond beautiful and it is really touching. It is probably their greatest song ever and the best song of 1966 (yes, better than anything off of Revolver or Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds, and it is better than 'California Dreaming' (as much as I love that song)). The violins in the background (or whatever they are) are placed perfectly and it sounds just beautiful. The only comparison I can come up with is 'In My Life', and when I talked about Rubber Soul, I mentioned that it probably is the greatest Beatle song ever. Ok, enough backing up 'The Dangling Conversation'. The rest of the album is ok, nothing really excellent to be found, although I like '7 O'Clock News/Silent Night' a lot. I can see why it isn't your personal cup of tea though. It seems pointless, but it is sad that Paul felt he had to make a statement like that. The 60's were a rough, yet amazing decade and music can help to show that. I would give it an 11, but since I like all of the songs on the album and 'The Dangling Conversation' is so amazing, it gets a 12 or a 13, closer to a 13. This is probably the best S&G album ever because the other four are all lacking something (except Bridge which is drenched in filler).

Gerard Nowak <> (09.01.2003)

I guess this is the one I like best, though I'm not at all happy with the Dylan parody (or whatever it is) and, of course, 'Silent Night', the concept of which may work only at the first listen. On the other hand, I seem to like the "...Machine" (at least at the present version, it's absolutely spoilt on the Graduate soundtrack) and I definitely like 'Patterns', sounding like nothing else from their catalogue. And, 'Scarborough Fair/Canticle' is THE S&G classic for me, above 'Bridge' and all the others. The runner-up is 'Emily', though -unlike me- I prefer the live version. This is the only such production case when I find a double-tracked lead vocal disturbing (why weren't they satisfied with just one?) And I liked the comment of the fan much in love with 'Dangling Conversation' - why shouldn't one be?

Pat Shipp <> (29.09.2003)

My first exposure to Simon & Garfunkel came via the movie The Graduate. The first time I heard "Scarborough Fair", I was lulled into euphoria and felt all of my troubles drifting afar. This is the most beautifully haunting song that I've ever heard. It just sounds so dark and eerie, yet lovely at the same time. Man oh man, could that Garfunkel kid sing or what? And contrary to your opinion, I think that Simon is a great acoustic guitarist, just listen to his magnificent chimes on "Patterns", another excellent tune with another excellent vocal melody. "Cloudy" and "59th Street Bridge Song" are uplifting numbers that should make you "just feel happy like a little boy", as you put it, George. Apart from "Scarborough Fair", my favorite one on here is the magnificent "Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall". What a brilliant vocal melody. Just brilliant. Can't get it out of my head, like many of the other gems on here. "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" is a fantastic ode to marijuana with hilarious lyrics ("Do you have to shop around to find yourself a more productive bag?"). These guys really had a sense of humor, eh? "Homeward Bound" I also love, is that chorus addictive or what? "A Simple Dessultory Phillipic" is also funny, with Art doing his damndest to imitate Bob Dylan (and he actually sounds a lot like Dylan). He even borrows Bob's classic line "Everybody must get stoned". But you know what they say: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I don't see how anyone can dislike their adaption of the gospel classic "Silent Night". Need peace of mind? Just put on this song and you're sure to get it. Since I myself am a poet, I truly adore "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her". What of those lyrics? Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I mean, my God, how can you deny the loveliness of lines like "I kissed your honey hair with my grateful tears"? So very, very profound. It's songs like this that really make me wonder if these guys are the greatest songwriters to ever grace this planet of ours. And they probably are. I mean, who else could write songs like this? The Beatles or The Stones? No way, bro. All they did was copy a bunch of dorky 50's songs. At least Simon And Garfunkel's music had some originality to it. But I digress. "Dangling Conversation" is very pleasant, and "Poem On The Underground Wall" I just love. All in all, I would have to say that these guys practically gave birth to the hippie generation. Not only that, but, obviously, they created some of the most beautiful, haunting music known to man. Thanks for the inspiration, guys.

P.S.- As of now, this is the only S&G album that I own.  But if the others are as good as you say they are, then I shall acquire them at any cost!

<> (20.03.2004)

Paul Simon was interviewed on the late night Bob Costas show in the early 90s and told Costas something like, "Well, I wouldn't want to have 'he wrote The Dangling Conversation on my tombstone.'" It seems the song and maybe the album embarrassed him. Ever see the TV show Seinfeld? Remember the one about the puffy shirt? Now look at Paul on the album cover- a puffy shirt! No wonder he was embarrassed.

But seriously I like this album a lot, even if after all the years I can't get the images of a nippy autumn night as I gaze out the dorm window on the campus quad...well, never mind. Lots of changeups (that's baseball talk, but Simon's a baseball fan) lots of variety.

"Scarborough Fair/Canticle" has a bewitching guitar line over which S&G lay great harmonies and counterpoints as well as, say, Brian Wilson did on Pet Sounds. "Patterns" is a little gimmicky on the percussion but it works, it wakes you up. "Cloudy" is a relapse into wide-eyed folkie sweetness...a little too sweet, really. They pull it off better on "The 59th Street Bridge Song" a big hit but for the group Harper's Bizarre. "Homeward Bound" stands apart with more down-to-earth lyrics and rock rhythm, a kind of precursor to CCR's "Lodi." "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" and "Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall" are underrated uptempo gems. "Machine" also has some of the parody which we get with "A Desultory Phillipic." (Isn't it Simon doing the Dylan bit?) These two tunes also throw in the humor that rescues the album from what would otherwise be the overly-serious tone which was the bane of too many early 60's folk acts.

"For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" (man, typing these titles is a chore) has one of Garfunkel's greatest vocals and possibly Simon's most romantic lyrics - really going for it on this one. And whatever Simon thinks of the lyrics, "The Dangling Conversation" has a brilliant string arrangement - the sound is great. This was I think the first album they recorded with Roy Halee as engineer, one of the all-time greats, who stayed on with S&G and Simon for many many years. I also hear Halee's hand on "Poem On The Underground Wall" with the urgent bass and spectral-sounding organ.

I view "Silent Night/Seven O'Clock News" about the same way as "Revolution #9" on The White Album. I remember hearing newscasts like that growing up in the mid-60s. Maybe the concept is horribly dated now, but I remember the times.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK CITY <> (22.11.2005)

"Big question, though: why is the audience laughing when Simon announces the third song with little else but 'This is a song called 'Sparrow'?' Is Artie out there flapping his hands behind Paul's back or something?"

Well, owning a bootlegged version of the show - or a different one from the same tour - I can answer this one: Paul entertains the audience with a long winded story of how a particularly nasty-minded bird relieved itself on one of America's finest singer-songwriters: "He defecated on me", concludes a happily indignant Simon, getting his laughs and sympathy. Columbia evidently thought that even in the year of the Lord MMII this was too unwholesome a tale for the kids and cut it out, leaving just the intro and the final laugh. The Eminem Effect?

Keep up the excellent work


Jeff <> (19.08.99)

You just don't get these guys, do you? But that's okay. I'll forgive you. I respect your taste in music and I know that it's every bit as legitimate as mine. As for anyone else out there reading this, realize that Simon & Garfunkel aren't really George's cup'o'tea, so go buy the albums and decide for yourself.

Anyhoo, the only thing that's wrong with this record is "Voices of Old People." The rest is near-perfect pop music. Sure, the first side may be a little slow, but it's a good kind of slow. I'd never call the title track or "Old Friends" boring. "Quiet" does not equal "boring". A Green Day CD strikes me as boring, and those are usually quite loud. Speaking of loud, those noises on "Save the Life of My Child" are freakier than RuPaul. You didn't even mention "Punky's Dilemma" or "Fakin' It," both great songs. Once again, I'm not seeing any of the "filler" you keep referring to. It's a fantastic album!!!! I think I'll listen to it right now!!!

Michael Mannheim <> (24.05.2000)

I didn't like this album very much when i first heard it, but it seems to have grown on me over time. 'Voices of Old People' was off-putting at first, but then one day I payed close attention, and discovered that I find it entertaining, either because (a) it's so damn funny to listen to of (b) it's really creepy knowing you are hearing the voices of dejected old people who have now been dead for 30+ years. I usually go with (a). The only thing that I don't like about this record is 'Overs', which is just a lead-in to 'Old People' anyway. It happens to be one of the few S&G songs (or Paul Simon songs, for that matter) I can't stand. The rest is perfect: the meoldies, harmonies, lyrics, in the singer/songwriter vein, sort of like Nick Drake. Give this another listen, you'll find you like it more every time.

Ben Greenstein <> (05.06.2000)

I can do without the dumb sound collage, but the rest of the music is really creative. And experimental - they're trying to do as many musical styles as possible, and it works, especially on the acid rock "Save The Life Of My Child" and the gorgeous sappy balladry "Old Friends." The pop songs are the best, though - although "At The Zoo" has never done much for me, "America" and "Hazy Shade Of Winter" are phenomenal. And "Mrs. Robinson." A nine.

Kenyon <> (01.08.2000)

Much better than the last one! The only track I always skip is "Voices of Old People," because I've always thought its inclusion on the album was just a bit too pretentious, and it annoys me. "Save the Life of My Child" is really cool - anybody else noticed the part where you hear the opening of "The Sound of Silence" in the background? I always thought that was a cool effect. "America" is another personal favorite, and of course "Mrs. Robinson" is just a terrific song. I actually like the Bangles' cover of "A Hazy Shade of Winter" better than the original, though. I'm kind of ashamed of myself for that, but oh well.

Bob Josef <> (04.09.2000)

"Save the Life of my Child" is the only S&G track where they are able to balance their attempts at experimentation with Simon's melodic gifts. It's quite the production -- surreal, but accessible. And as for the rest of the album, they do an even better of balancing darker themes ("Fakin' it" , "Hazy Shade") with lighthearted humor ("Punky," "At the Zoo"). And with "Mrs. Robinson," they do it within one song!!

"Fakin' it" is one their best songs -- one of their most neglected singles. I read one review which said that "Punky's Dilemma" is full of sexual innuendo, which makes me like it more than I used to, but I'll be damned if I can find them!! I'd love an explanation...

Paul Simon's opinions is that S&G's albums got better as they went along. I must agree. Of course, I must add my voices to those who agree that "Voices of Old People" is a total waste of time. Fortunately, they gave up on this sort of silliness for their final album.

Caitlin Turner <> (19.01.2001)

Time it was and what a time it was

A time of innocence

A time of confidences

Long ago it must be

I have a photograph

Preserve your memories

They're all that's left you

And you don't like this stuff? That's fine but I think it's important to realize that simplicity of melody and guitar isn't a bad thing. The point of songs like the 'Bookends Theme' and 'Old Friends' is that they ARE simple. Old friends is about seventy year olds and the bit above is a poignant and nostalgic number. To bury the meaning in the words in catchy, fast, or loud tunes would be a crime.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.10.2001)

A slight step down for these guys. Hardly a sound out of Mr. Garfoonkel. Figured I would add my interpretation on Artie Smartie's name. Most of the sounds here are too slow and dull. 'Overs', 'Voices Of Old People'. and 'Old Friedns' is not a good stretch of creativity indeed. 'Punky's Dilemna' and 'Save The Life Of My Child' are kind of so so as well. On this batch, the choice for my fave is easy....'Mrs. Robinson'. 'Hazy Shade of Winter' rates a close second and 'America' is third.

Ben Kramer <> (16.03.2002)

Ok, I think you're missing something about these guys. Not sure what, but you are because you underrate this album and as much as it is overrated, it is worth more then an 11. My biggest complaint about your review is your degrading comment of 'Old Friends'. It isn't my favorite song, but who cares if it has an extremely simple melody. What about 'Yesterday', or 'Blowin' In the Wind'? They're simple. Not that 'Old Friends' is S&G's 'Yesterday', but still fee that it is a beautiful song. Some other favorites of mine on the album are 'Save the Life Of My Child', which opens the album off with a band, something unexpected from a folk duo, and 'Punky's Dilemma', one of the more fun songs on the album. About 'Mrs. Robinson', well, I don't see the big deal about the song. For S&G upbeat stuff, I'd turn to 'Punky's Dilemma' or 'Trying To Keep the Customer Satisfied'. It is a good song, but it doesn't live up to its name. 'At the Zoo' is also a nice song, a good way to close the album. However, my favorite has to be 'America', one of the greatest, if not the greatest S&G song in my opinion. It is just so beautiful and simple. Paul's lyrics cannot be beaten on it (tied though). 'Hazy Shade Of Winter' is another favorite of mine, though not as much as America. You are right about 'Voices Of Old People'. It is pointless and you make an excellent point about Paul using it to emphasize the concept and basically screwing writing an excellent song in its place. As for a number grade, I'm just not sure what to give it. I know an 11 is too low, but that is about it. I feel fine giving it a 12, though a 13 is pushing it, because there are a couple songs that pull the album down. I still feel that PSR&T is their best and have since changed my mind about Bridge, which I underrated on your essay page. When you review it, I'll be sure to comment.

Fred Hedgecoth <> (05.03.2003)

No accounting for taste...For me this S & G album is the best, maybe because I remember well a TV special in 1967 featuring S & G as they were creating the music for this album. The creative process was fascinating to watch. Plus, now that I'm in my early 50's the melodies and themes (yes, even the voices of old people candidly commenting on their lives) take on greater and greater depth and meaning for me. Each song is well-crafted (altho' "Mrs. Robinson" has been beaten into the ground over the years and is my least favorite tune on the album) and I can still sing along word-for-word. Even my son (age 23) ranks this as one of his favorite albums (he is also a songwriter of considerable depth, brag, brag). If you don't want your copy you can send it on to me!

<> (21.03.2004)

I saw S&G on their early '80s tour in Pontiac Michigan. The place erupted when they got to the "Michigan seems like a dream to me now" line and then the band, especially the bass player, really kicked up the sound to hit "It took me four days to hitch hike from Saginaw" and Garfunkel even swept his hand in the right direction (north). Probably the most memorable part of the show for me.

Bookends has the same sort of structure as Magical Mystery Tour: a string of songs written for the album on side one, and a collection of singles on side two. While I could do without "Voices of Old People" it does set up the "Old Friends/Bookends" finale (it just could have taken a lot less time to do so.) And it's very hard for me to choose between "America" and "Old Friends/Bookends" as side one's best song, but they are certainly my favorites. I'll say "America" has the best lyrics while "Old Friends/Bookends" is the most moving to me musically. (BTW I have an old 45 of "Mrs. Robinson" with "Old Friends/Bookends" as the B-side.)

Side two has a hello to Donovan ("Good morning Mr. Leitch have you had a busy day?) in "Fakin' It." "Punk's Dilemna" has an unusually laid back sound to it, must be the California references. My real favorite on the entire album is "Hazy Shade of Winter," with a great guitar riff hook. I like the way they transition back into the main verse on the lines "...won't you stop and remember any convenient time..." and what sounds like a cor d'anglais or clarinet comes up over the top on the way out

Simon encountered baseball great Mickey Mantle once. Mantle asked Simon why he didn't use Mantle's name in "Mrs. Robinson." .

"It's syllables, Mick," said Simon. "'Where have you gone Mickey Ma-an-tle' just doesn't work."

Really, both this and PSR&G should be at least 9/12s in your system.


Ben Kramer <> (09.06.2002)

You know George, just last night, I mentioned to Nick Karn that I felt kind of bad for you because you haven't reviewed anything that received a 12 or higher this year. Well, you proved me wrong, and I agree with this grade (just listen to PSR&T again :-). Bridge first looks like a collection of a few hits with some filler, but if you take the time to appreciate some of these non-hits, you can truly appreciate this album. Now, it isn't perfect, but songs like 'The Only Living Boy In New York', & 'Keep the Customer Satisfied', are really excellent songs. The first is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, and one of my favorite S&G songs. 'Keep the Customer Satisfied' is one of the most fun songs S&G has done. I don't even need to mention the title track or 'The Boxer', the latter being one of the few tracks that I wish would never end. Art's voice is perfect on both of these songs (hell, the whole album), and this is also riding out Paul's peak as a songwriter (which starts on PSR&T and carries through Bookends and Bridge, don't you just love an S&G fan!). Anyway, there are a lot of other really great songs on this album. For example, 'El Condor Pasa', while not one of my favorites on the album, but the vocals are something to brag about. Overall, I agree with the 13/15, and this is my second favorite S&G album. It could have been better with a more consistent second side, but the album is great as it is.

Glenn Wiener <> (09.06.2002)

Glad that you finally got around to reviewing this one George. Its truly a classic. Truthfully, I like the third verse and the percussion effect on the title track. This lead off track is truly a classic.

I also like 'Only Living Boy in New York'. It refers to Art Garfunkel's original attempt at seeking an acting role in a movie. Possibly Carnal Knowledge? Very pretty arrangement.

Anyway, like you said this entire record is strong from start to finish employing different textures and arrangements from the Elizebethian 'El Condor Pasa', the bouncy 'Keep The Customer Satisfied', and the poignant 'The Boxer'. The one to start with for sure.

Bob Josef <> (24.03.2003)

Agreed, their single best album. The only strong beef I have is with the cover of "Bye, Bye Love," which sounds suspiciously like a studio track with applause overdubbed. A tribute to their earliest heroes, the Everly Brothers, but was Simon really running that dry at this point?

You wouldn't know it from the rest of the album. Peak tracks from me are the title track, which really needed Garfunkel's voice. I heard Paul sing it himself at Yale University 300th anniversary in 2001 (the song got a lot of airplay after September 11), and he couldn't quite cut it; the hilarious "Baby Driver" is the best of the upbeat pop songs; "The Boxer", with that very dramatic production (orchestrated with a Mellotron, maybe?), also can't be done live all that well; and the powerful, moving, ethereal "The Only Living Boy in New York", a definite goodbye-to-Art song. I wonder if Garfunkel figured that out as he was overdubbing all those gorgeous backing vocals? I was never all that crazy about "El Condor Pasa," but it was the first example of Paul's interest in world music, since he used actual Peruvian musicians to record the backing track.

It would have been nearly impossible for S&G to follow up this record, so I guess it was a good thing that this was it for them.

Pat Shipp <> (12.11.2003)

There's somethin' that I don't understand here, George, and maybe you could clarify it for me. You picked the title track of this album as the best song on it. But then, in the review, you said "The song just flat out sucks, a worthless imitation of a true gospel feeling" or something to that effect. I don't get it. Do you like the song or don't you? Please put this into perspective because I'm very confused.

Anyway, I personally think that this album is brilliant, albeit still not enough to beat Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, their unparalleled masterpiece. Anyway, the title track of this album is, no questions asked, the greatest ballad ever written. I dare anyone to show me a song with more emotion, desperation and grandeur than this one. Garfunkel's passionate vocals never cease to take my breath away. "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" is a forgotten masterpiece. The acoustic guitar in the beginning and the marvelous flute playing are excessively haunting. And listen to the way Artie sings "Away, I'd rather sail awwaaaayyyyy". God, is that beautiful or what? "Keep The Customer Satisfied" and "Baby Driver" are both up-tempo, feel-good tunes that I adore. "So Long Frank Lloyd Wright" is a touching tribute from Art to Paul, as a way of bidding adieu to his ingenious colleague. And "The Only Living Boy In New York" is a tribute from Paul to Art. I guess he thought he should return the favor! "The Boxer" is a good song but I don't think it's a masterpiece like many people claim it is. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is rather lackluster. "Cecillia", "Why Don't You Write Me", "Song For The Asking" and "Bye Bye Love" are all pretty much boring. But the good songs more than make up for them.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that this album won six Grammy awards. And it beat Abbey Road for the #1 slot. How do ya like that, Beatles?!

<> (24.03.2004)

There've been times when I was slightly more fond of PSR&T or Bookends, but overall I'd agree that Bridge Over Troubled Water is the best Simon and Garfunkel album. Every song works: no "Seven O'Clock News" or "Voices of Old People" here.

While all the tunes are good, let me pick out four.

The title cut will be S&G's most enduring performance. Everybody involved is pushing their performance further than before. I even like that crashing effect that hero engineer/producer Roy Halee throws in toward the end, making the song even more of an epic. Don't hold it against S&G that Barry Manilow copped it for at least two (I think) of his hits later.

"So Long Frank Lloyd Wright" has one of the smoothest chord modulations ever. I remember trying to figure the chords out on guitar and marveling how the change just slips by before you know it. The concept of a semi-bossa tune about architect Frank Lloyd Wright is just enough off the wall to make it memorable the first time you hear it - oh, and that voice (Paul's?) saying "So Long Frank Lloyd Wright" at the end putting in a funny but not subverting the feeling.

"The Only Living Boy In New York" has those shimmering multiple-part Art harmonies over Paul's lead vocal. "I get all the news I need from the weather report" is my favorite line on the whole album. This is very true, especially if you live in Michigan! My understanding is Paul wrote it about Art being in Mexico working on the film "Catch-22."

"Why Don't You Write Me" I just liked to sing along with this in my room back in 1970 when I was home from school. My favorite part is the way the harmony vocals trail up after "..near you.." ,"..airfare..." and "..leaving me.." And then the end where the drums kick it up and Paul starts his "Monday morning sittin in the sun..." litany, just great.

Amanda Kenyon <> (12.05.2004)

This really is indisputably their best. The production is miles ahead of anything they'd had before and the song quality is just outstanding. I must say that I disagree with you 100% on the title track (are you surprised?). You may be one of the sadly misguided people who prefer Elvis's live cover of it, complete with blaring trumpets and shrieking women posing as background singers. I personally think it's blasphemy, but to each his own. "El Condor Pasa" is lovely - I once heard a mariachi band playing it at an ethnic festival, which was very cool. "Keep the Customer Satisfied" is one of the most engaging songs they ever did, and even though I'm not generally a fan of blaring trumpets (see my Elvis comment) I love them in this particular song because they're melodic and there's a good reason for them to be there. The only tracks I don't  much care for are "Baby Driver" and "Why Don't You Write Me," and those really aren't that bad. What's not to love? Oh, and the solo instrument in "The Boxer" is a piccolo trumpet.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (15.12.2005)

Frankly, the guys will never have a chance of becoming my favourite band, but this album moves me. About three or four years ago I heard Bridge for the first time and thought it was boring. I just couldn’t get inside. And now I can. And you know what? It is beautiful.

The best song comes at the very beginning. While I could agree with George that the absence of the third verse wouldn’t be out place, I still always wait on it. Probably the song is just too wide to have only two verses. Also, Art’s vocals get more and more emotional (and this is the case when the more the better unlike, say, spots). A grand statement.

Everybody knows the amusing “El Condor Pasa”, with its fragile catchiness, “The Boxer”, a small story told in a totally grandiose manner (which works, of course, the song is a classic). Why else one would love this record? Just because "Cecilia” is so much fun, just because “Keep Your Customer Satisfied” is so delightful and memorable, just because “So Long” is so angelic and touching (btw, George, the song is dedicated to Art; Wright is him), just because “Baby Driver” is so effective (I believe the song was rolling in Ray Davies’ head when he was composing “Skin Bone”) AND JUST BECAUSE “THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK” HAS ONE OF THE GREATEST HOOKLINES EVER. Really. I may be along in that, but I’m also pretty certain of it. Hmm, and I thought “hook” is a more or less objective thing. Which tells us once more: there is no objectivity when it comes to music.

A 13. Objective, ain’t it?..

Barry Stoller <> (18.03.2006)

Solo on 'The Boxer': electric guitar with either a volume petal or the player was real adept at manipulating the guitar volume knob. A 'clean,' organic variant of the backwards attack. Far from a universal gimmick, it did characterize the work of Steve Howe - which, considering the similarity between the 'angelic' high-pitched folkie vocals of Jon Anderson and Art Garfunkle, make Yes' cover of 'America' pretty inevitable.

After the electric 'Sounds of Silence' hit, S&G consistently used the fanciest session people of the 60s.


Natty Bokenkamp <> (19.05.2000)

And how can you say that 'American Tune' is a rip off of Paul's song America. If you were actually listening, you might notice that the two songs are entirely different, with completely different themes and sounds to them. I will say that I find 'America' to be a better song, mainly due to the incredibly poetic lyrics which are only accentuated by their lack of rhyme, and because of Garfunkel's incredible vocal arrangement.

<> (11.09.2001)

I read in one magazine ("Stereo Review" or maybe "High Fidelity", 1983 or 1984) an interview with Paul Simon. He said that the concert in Central Park was initially planned as a solo concert, and somebody suggested (I don't remember who) to invite Art Garfunkel, so, in the end, the concert became a Simon & Garfunkel concert. So, several Paul Simon´s songs from his solo albums were included as initially planned, with Garfunkel singing in the old S&G songs. In the video from that concert there is an additional song not included on the album, dedicated to John Lennon ("The Late Great Johnny Ace"). Simon also said in this interview that Garfunkel's vocals were erased from the Hearts & Bones album tracks after a disagreement with him. Simon re-recorded himself all the vocals. Recently in the 90´s there were some solo concerts by Simon on which Garfunkel was invited to sing only in the S&G songs. I think that "The concert in Central Park" is a good album. It is their only album I have. Garfunkel's best moment in the concert was "Bridge over troubled water", and it was the main reason I bought the album. I heard the album on the radio, and I liked it a lot. In the backing band they had several famous and very good session musicians like Richard Tee and Steve Gadd. The album shows that Simon and Garfunkel's vocals were unique together. I don't like American Folk music very much, but this duo was very important and very good, and as soloists, it wasn't the same.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.10.2001)

Pleasant indeed. Why did they have to include 'Old Friends'. I could also live without 'Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover'. However, the reason all the Simon solo material was because Paul could write some good tunes where Artie could not. I do like Art's one solo number-'A Heart In New York'. He gives Paul a little dig before the intro. Boy its a wonder that comment was not edited out.None th less enough of the classic Simon & Garfunkel tunes are here to please most fans.

Amanda Kenyon <> (12.05.2004)

As live recordings go, this one is really pretty great. They hold the harmonies pretty well, the song selection is good (I am a big fan of solo Simon, though I do agree it was pretty rude of him to exclude Art so much) and the whole atmosphere really contributes to the feel of the album. The DVD release, though, is definitely worth owning as well if only to see the random audience member jump up onto the stage and scare the hell out of Paul during "The Late Great Johnny Ace."


Jaime Vargas <> (26.06.2002)

Is this the one with Paul and Art walking in the beach? It's awesome. Also interesting: Greatest Hits which includes some songs in live acoustic versions (off the top of my head: "For Emily", "Kathy's song", "Feeling groovy" and "Homeward Bound")

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