A Sweet Mix Of Folk And Rock

   Folk and rock blending, voices blending, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme.

   What a feast. Food for thought, the songs of Simon and Garfunkel. 

   This is my 13th post dedicated to the album challenge. Today’s focus is Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.

    In this series I have tried not to cross that fine line between albums that truly influenced me and those I just liked a lot. Looking at Simon and Garfunkel helps illustrate this. The S&G hits had true influence and made people think. The Simon and the Garfunkel solo tunes are great, but they don’t hit me the same way.

   Compare “The Sound Of Silence” to “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” for example, and surely you get my point.  The former is sublime, fodder for much deep thinking (and unfortunately some overwrought prose).  The latter is great fun, but doesn’t inspire introspective thought.

   If I had to pick ten songs from the two solo careers, nine of them would be Simon songs for sure. But number one on the list (and by a wide margin) would be “All I Know,” by Garfunkel.

    There was discussion as to whether Simon or Garfunkel would sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Each thought the other should sing it. But after Garfunkel took the lead Simon regretted giving it away. 

   Thank God the group stayed together long enough for Garfunkel to sing on this record.   Simon’s writing and Garfunkel’s voice made the song an all-time classic. It was the Billboard song of the year in 1970 and won five awards at the 1971 Grammies.

   Do you know anyone who could sing “I Am A Rock,” and do so without irony? What a shame for them.  I love it when a songwriter finds a different way to write about the need for love and human connection. 

   Not sure I understand the whole story picture painted in “The Boxer.” But I can relate to stone cold loneliness and carrying scars from life experience. And I can verify the truth in the line “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

   Name me a song that is similar to “Scarborough Fair.” I can’t think of one.  It is a traditional English ballad. The singer asks a former lover to do a series of impossible tasks (such as making him a shirt with no seams or needle work) and says “then she’ll be a true love of mine.” 

   He’s saying he will never return to her. It’s the big brush off, that’s what it is. Has there ever been a more beautiful putdown?

 “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” you probably know as “Feelin Groovy.” The song speaks for itself.  It’s probably one we should be playing in heavy rotation these days, just to lighten the mood.

    I love “Mrs. Robinson,” even though the movie it comes from “The Graduate” is an overhyped dog. (For another overhyped dog movie see also “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”).

 “Homeward Bound” is a lament from a homesick musician on the road.  Some of us wannabe musicians would love to be on a tour like that. But the song does a great job of defining what it truly meaningful.

   “My Little Town,” is a 70s S&G collaboration that should not be overlooked.  If you peel it apart musically it’s quite complex. But I prefer to absorb it sonically and emotionally. 

   I love the way “America” doesn’t offer any answers, just themes. There is young love and wanderlust. The characters have a firm hold on the details right in front of them, no grasp on that something that ties it all together.  But they are looking.

   Their search is for America, or so they suppose. Simon sings “Kathy I’m lost” and that’s surely a good thing. All the drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike are on that same winding quest. No end in sight, to the line of cars or to the search.

   It seems America is elusive if not illusory altogether. 

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