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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: #22,288 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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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
Why is this their best album? 1. Consistency of style. All the songs have similar instrumentation and the instruments sound the same from song to song. This unites the songs. 2. Quality of the songs. Four of S+G's best songs (Kathy's Song, The Sound of Silence, I Am a Rock and April Come She Will) are here. 3. A calm but impelled energy permeates the record. 4. The album is a well-structured collection of thoughtful and concise songs.
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Format: Audio CD
After the flop of their debut, "Wednesday Morning, 3am", Simon & Garfunkel went their seperate ways; Paul back to England and Art back to Columbia University. Once the Byrds broke with their cover of "Mr. Tamborine Man", producer Tom Wilson had the idea to "electrify" the original version of "The Sounds of Silence" (much to S&G's disdain) and release it as a single. The song broke huge and Simon & Garfunkel were rushed back into the studio to record a followup album.
Although the album does indeed sound rushed, and does contain a couple of their worst songs ever ("We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'", and "Somewhere They Can't Find Me", a bad electrified retread of "Wednesday Morning, 3am"), "The Sounds of Silence" is quite the fine album.
Their fine vocals and amazing sense of harmony is still thrilling nearly 40 years on, but it's here that Paul Simon, both as songwriter and guitarist, begins to blossom. Even though there are the previously mentioned missteps, the album also contains some beautiful gems (Kathy's Song, April Come She Will), some moments of poetry (Richard Cory, A Most Pecular Man, Blessed) and an all out teenage agnst anthem in "I Am a Rock" (Why no one covered this during the grunge era is beyond me).
Although both would later cringe when discussing this album, "The Sounds of Silence", although flawed, is early folk-rock at it's best and earliest form. Their talents would flourish even brighter in their sunsequent releases, but the seeds of that development are all here. Essential for S&G fans and fans of 60's folk rock in general. Don't start here, but definately pick this up.
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Format: Audio CD
Simon and Garfunkel's first "folk rock" album from early 1966 is an essential purchase. This does not mean that the duo didn't improve considerably during the rest of the sixties. Still, the moody excitement is here, starting with the classic hit rocked-up version of "Sounds of Silence" and the catchy "I Am a Rock." Simon's guitar playing is excellent throughout, as are Garfunkel's evocative tenor harmonies. True, some of the lyrics on this album seem immature and self-conscious compared to Simon's later work; often they are depressing and lonely. But darnit, these are some *good songs* - "Kathy's Song" and "April Come She Will" remain achingly poignant after all these years, and the hurried tempo and bright harpsichord of "Leaves That Are Green" drive home its message of youth and loss memorably. "Blues Run the Game" is a superb lost classic that had been added as a bonus track. (You will also find this track on the box set "Old Friends.") The other bonus tracks on this CD version are from a later time (1970), and mostly consist of sloppy run-throughs of folk standards. They are none too memorable, but the album itself is.
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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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