The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970 (5CD) Box set, Limited Edition, Best of
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Buy all five Simon & Garfunkel studio albums- Wednesday Morning, 3 AM; Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme; Bookends , and Bridge over Troubled Water -and save $10 off what you'd pay for these upgraded reissues singly! Bonus tracks, new remastering and graphics, the whole deal.
Though the American folk movement of the early '60s would influence bands like the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield and a score of oh-so-sensitive '70s singer-songwriters, its two most looming successes during the decade--Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel--couldn't have seemed more disparate. While Dylan turned hard-left, outraging many a folk purist by zealously embracing rootsy blues-rock and its electrified cacophony, S&G veered toward the center, equally infuriating snooty pundits by embracing a Top 40 pop sense whose ostensible shallowness often belied its rich musical diversity. In retrospect, Simon and Garfunkel's career as a duo was remarkably brief (five albums in six years), if no less commercially potent (a slew of Top 40 singles, two Number One albums, and the requisite handful of Grammy Awards). This box set compiles digitally remastered versions of the original S&G albums, each expanded to include bonus tracks (mostly previously unissued demos with a few scattered outtakes, the quartet on Sounds of Silence the best of the lot) and a booklet featuring new notes for each album and song lyrics. It's a rewarding journey, wending from the almost slavish folk devotion of Wednesday Morning 3 AM through the greeting-card iconoclasm of Sounds of Silence, the madrigal-pop of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme to the increasingly impressionistic lyrical landscape of Bookends. It also covers the rich musical tapestry of Bridge over Troubled Waters, which foreshadowed Simon's own diverse solo career by embracing everything from the Everlys and Jan & Dean to Andean folk and R&B. --Jerry McCulley
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Top Customer Reviews
Propelled by Simon's provocative way with words and melodies, they sung their way into America's heart, and soon had a number of successes with songs like "I Am A Rock", "The Dangling Conversation", and "Scarborough Fair", all basic examinations of life as seen by an alienated and frustrated baby boomer. All of the follow-up success is here, as well, from "Mrs. Robinson" to "The Boxer" to "America" to "Bookends". Of course, their final smash hit is here, and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was their biggest and most enduring hit, staying on the charts for months, and the album literally for years. This is a terrific collection of the best of the single most successful and creative forces in folk-rock and popular music in the sixties and seventies. It is one I keep permanently installed in my new 110+ CD player for instant playing. Guess I'm still "crazy after all thes
So why buy it?
Finally, after more than 30 years, the entire "official" canon of Simon and Garfunkel is released in the original form from the original master tapes (long thought lost, but as noted in the "Old Friends" box, recently unearthed). Comparing the past CD issues of these albums to these new masters is like comparing a MacDonald's hamburger to a filet mignon. The richness of the sonics, the presence of the instruments, this is an absolute feast.
Of course, the earlier albums weren't as remarkable as recordings as the later albums. Once they got to "Bookends" they were creating records that were both great music as well as imaginative recordings. "Bookends" in particular is one of the few post-psychedelic records that still holds up as well today as it did way back then. Frankly, when "Save the Life of My Child" begins, you'll be hoping to save the life of your sub-woofer.
And the good news - beyond the quaint reproductions of the original album sleeves and the fine booklet - is that should you not wish to buy this whole box, each of the CD's is also available individually.
So...yes, it's old music once again, but it's never sounded this good. And it's fair to say that if you have "Old Friends" you have much of this, but if enjoying the albums in pristine sonic quality as the artists intended you to, this is a wonderful box set.
I noticed each CD has about 30-45 minutes of music, even with the bonus tracks. You could certainly fit it all onto 3 or maybe 4 CDs and save a bit of money. At full price, this isn't a bargain. But if you can find it on sale -- as I did, for half-price -- then it's a good deal. This is beautiful music. Own it, definitely. Just watch out for the price.
S&G are more than five stars, Columbia is -2.
One complaint, though, just to get it out of the way. I love the fact that the discs have the original label design on them, but BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER was also released on the same label as the others in its first edition (I own two such vinyl copies). That aside, onward and upward.
The music is what is important here. And it is given the royal treatment, beginning with WEDNESDAY MORNING, 3AM, a very good, if somewhat unassuming effort of basic folk arrangements. There are some standout tracks, indeed. "Sparrow", "Sounds of Silence", and the title track are among my personal favorites, but the rest of the album will not disappoint.
With 1966's SOUNDS OF SILENCE, the duo opted for a more folk-rock approach, which has been impuned for its commercial value. Commercial does not mean bad. The Beatles were, after all, the most commercial music group of all time. No one seems to mind. Neither should they here. "Leaves That Are Green", "Blessed", "Somewhere They Can't Find Me", "A Most Peculiar Man", and "I Am a Rock" never cease to captivate me. They were well on their way with this one.
Also in 1966, the duo released PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY, AND THYME. Let the opening title track work it's melodic and contropunal magic on you--it is hauntingly beautiful. PATTERNS is also first rate. In fact, very little on this record is not.
BOOKENDS (1968) is, I must admit not my favorite of their collections--just a bit pretentious. Still has "Hazy Shade of Winter" and "Mrs.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I do have "Collected Works", but could not resist the temptation of buying the recently released expanded versions of the original albums. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2001 by Harry Tavitian
Simon and Garfunkel's five studio albums spent a total of 470 weeks on the album charts--that's nine years! Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2001 by Steve Vrana
While I must admit I am a fan of whatever new tracks by Simon & Garfunkel might be put out by Columbia or Sony or whatever, the fact that the record company keeps rereleasing... Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2001
You would have thought that the single version of "I Am A Rock", featuring a different vocal take, would have surfaced on this set after "Old Friends" had... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2001
I tend to agree with the Cedar Rapdids reviewer. However, I wish to add that the CD running times are very short and the music found on the five CDs could have fit onto three (as... Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2001
The remastering of S&G's work has been long overdue and now that Columbia has finally done it with all the duo's albums, it's most welcome. Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2001 by Rusty Schrader
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