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Sounds of Silence

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 21 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00005NKKV
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,434 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Sound Of Silence
2. Leaves That Are Green
3. Blessed
4. Kathy's Song
5. Somewhere They Can't Find Me
6. Anji
7. Richard Cory
8. A Most Peculiar Man
9. April Come She Will
10. We've Got A Groovy Thing Goin'
11. I Am A Rock
12. Blues Run The Game
13. Barbriallen
14. Rose Of Aberdeen
15. Roving Gambler

Product Description

Product Description

Unreleased (and previously unknown!) versions of the old folk songs Barbriallen; Rose of Aberdeen , and The Roving Gambler (plus the bonus track The Blues Run the Game ) make their sophomore effort even more indispensable.

One suspects that Paul Simon cringes a bit when he listens to Simon & Garfunkel's 1966 breakthrough release. Lines from "I Am a Rock" ("For a rock feels no pain / And an island never cries") and the title track ("Fools, said I, you do not know / Silence like a cancer grows") are the essence of sophomoric poetry. And who but a couple of self-serious young men would sequence the suicide odes "Richard Cory" and "A Most Peculiar Man" back to back? That said, every callow couplet found here is counterbalanced by words that are disarmingly guileless. The unabashed romanticism of "Kathy's Song" is truly poignant; it ranks with "For Emily" and "The Only Living Boy in New York" among the duo's most resplendent performances. "April Come She Will" has a similar innocent appeal, while the title track, despite its overwrought moments and Tom Wilson's tacked-on production, is a folk-rock landmark. It's not hard to find fault with The Sounds of Silence, but it's easier still to bask in its inchoate splendor. (The 2001 reissue adds the bonus track "The Blues Run the Game" plus three unreleased 1970 demos.) --Steven Stolder

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm not going into a detailed description of the history of the making of this LP but Columbia rushed it out so that they could get an LP on the shelves to support their first huge hit "The Sounds Of Silence". And it shows. Two tracks, "We've Got A Groovy Thing Goin' " and "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" were recorded much earlier in May 1965, and have poppy arrangements unlike the rest of the tunes which are much more folk oriented. The title track was recorded back in 1964 and was buried on their first LP which quickly hit the delete bins until its resurrection. The rest of this record, including overdubs of drums and electric guitar to "The Sounds Of Silence", was hastily recorded in December 1965. Because of a lack of new material, most of these tunes were re-recorded from Paul Simon's first solo LP recorded in Britain in (I think) mid 1965. This record has some fine moments and could have been a lot better had more time had been taken to produce it. It deals with many human emotions and activities including alienation on "I Am A Rock" and "Leaves That Are Green" and suicide on "A Most Peculiar Man" and "Richard Cory". The obvious theme of the latter song is that no matter how much money and power one may have, they still might not be a happy camper. A good lesson for those of us who think that winning the lottery will bring us instant happiness. "I Am A Rock" is a different recording (the vocal at least) than the later 45 version. They must have re-recorded it for the single which was superior to the version here. Simon & Garfunkel scaled much higher ground with their subsequent releases but despite its flaws this album shows them in the learning process and without the polish of their later material.

(This re-mastered copy is far better than my original CD in that it has informative liner notes and four bonus tracks, only one of which actually was from the December 1965 sessions.)
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Format: Audio CD
When "Sounds of Silence" came out as a single in late 1965, I was already becoming a thirteen year old devotee of folk-rock--the Byrds, the newly gone electric Dylan. It somehow took hold of my adolescent brain. The lyrics seemed intelligent and poetic, and the Beatles themselves had taken a few cues from Dylan and had started penning "meaningful" lyrics.
Into this mix came two sensitive NYC boys with "funny" names. I remember thinking that like most duos of the era--Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, Sonny and Cher--that "Simon" and "Garfunkel" were their FIRST names. Oh, well, what do you really know when you're thirteen? I also thought that "Sounds of Silence" must surely be a masterpiece. And when my college aged brother used to stick his head in my room when I was playing it and say, "What a stupid song! 'Sounds of silence'! That doesn't mean anything." Sigh! If only I had the vocabulary then to say, "It's an oxymoron, you moron." (He was no dummy actually, he probably knew that and was just trying to get my goat.)
A few years later, I was past Simon and Garfunkel and into more avant-gardesy kind of stuff like the Velvet Underground. I started to believe that "poetic" songs like "Sounds of Silence" were pretty darn pretentious and sophomoric, after all. Sort of like the poetry my friends and I were all writing at the time (yes, we knew it was bad, but we weren't commiting it to vinyl either).
Of course, Paul Simon was all of 21 or 22 (maybe younger) when he penned these songs. I should have been more generous. I mean, look at that cover shot--just a couple of kids! Besides, melodically, the songs all held up.
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Format: Audio CD
Ah yes, now THIS is the Simon And Garfunkel that we all know and love. Much, much better than the country-tinged debut album. It is here that Simon starts to realize his full potential as a brilliant songwriter, and Art as a breath-taking singer.
The title track is of course legendary, and for good reason. Everyone knows that it's just the same version from the debut album, albeit with electric guitar and drums overdubbed, but that really takes nothing away from the grandeur of the song. It's a stunning piece of work that talks about alienation and being out of touch with reality, a subject which Simon seemed to know an awful lot about. And that vocal melody is just to die for. "Leaves That Are Green" continues with the same mood, dealing with loneliness and confusion. This one features some fantastic harpsichord as well. "Blessed" and "Kathy's Song" are the only two weak tracks on the album. "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" is, to my knowledge, the only 'rebellious' song that the boys ever did. It's about robbing a liquor store and hiding from the cops. Who'd of ever thought that S&G would do a song like THAT? Oh well, it's a killer anyway. And I totally dig that chorus ("I've got to creep down the alleyway, fly down the highway"). "Anji" is a nice little acoustic guitar instrumental, but nothing to marvel at. But very soothing. "Richard Cory" is one of my favorite S&G songs ever. It tells about a man who kills himself because he's poor and greatly misunderstood. This is very deep stuff (I wonder if there really was a guy named Richard Cory, or if S&G just used it as an example). "A Most Peculiar Man" also deals with suicide. Yes, TWO suicide songs in a row. Eerie, huh? Anyway, this song sounds strikingly similar to The Beatles.
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