Sunday, 28 September 2014

"The Collection" by SIMON & GARFUNKEL - A Review Of The 2007 Columbia 5CD/1DVD Mini Box Set...

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Released November 2007 - "The Collection" by SIMON & GARFUNKEL on Columbia/Legacy 88697134662 is an inconspicuous 5CD/1DVD mini box set. But not so well advertised is the fact that it uses the stunning VIC ANESINI remasters of "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective from August 2001. So under its rather dull-looking S&G silhouette hood - you get a whole lot of sonic quality for not a lot of your hard earned. Here are the groovy feelings and remastered bookends...

Disc 1 "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM" (40:36 minutes):
1. You Can Tell The World
2. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
3. Bleecker Street
4. Sparrow
5. Benedictus
6. The Sound Of Silence
7. He Was My Brother
8. Peggy-O
9. Go Tell It On The Mountain
10. The Sun Is Burning
11. The Times They Are A-Changin'
12. Wednesday Morning, 3A.M.

Tracks 1 to 12 are their debut vinyl album "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM" - released 19 October 1964 in the USA on Columbia CL 2249 (Mono) and CS 9049 (Stereo) - the Stereo Mix is used. "Bleecker Street", "Sparrow", "He Was My Brother" and "Wednesday Morning, 3A.M." are Paul Simon songs - the rest are cover versions.

13. Bleecker Street (Demo)
14. He Was My Brother (Alternate Take 1)
15. The Sun Is Burning (Alternate Take 12)
Tracks 13 to 15 are BONUSES from the "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective (August 2001)

Disc 2 "Sounds Of Silence" (41:44 minutes):
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

Tracks 1 to 11 are their 2nd album "Sounds Of Silence" - released 17 January 1966 in the USA on Columbia CL 2469 (Mono) and CS 9469 (Stereo) - the Stereo mix is used. All songs by Paul Simon except "Anji" which is a cover version of a song by UK Folk artist Davy Graham

12. Blues Run The Game
13. Barbriallen (Demo)
14. Rose Of Aberdeen (Demo)
15. Roving Gambler (Demo)
Tracks 12 to 15 are BONUSES from the "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective (August 2001). "Blues Run The Game" is a Jackson C. Frank song and it opens his 1966 self-titled album "Jackson C. Frank" on Columbia Records in the UK (produced by Paul Simon). This studio outtake is S&G's version of it. The other 3 tracks are Traditionals.

Disc 3 "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme" (34:13 minutes):
1. Scarborough Fair / Canticle
2. Patterns
3. Cloudy
4. Homeward Bound
5. The Bright Green Pleasure Machine
6. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
7. The Dangling Conversation
8. Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall
9. A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)
10. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
11. A Poem On The Underground Wall
12. 7 O'Clock News / Silent Night

Tracks 1 to 12 are their 3rd album "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme" - released 10 October 1966 on Columbia CL 2563 (Mono) and CS 9363 (Stereo) - the Stereo mix is used. All tracks written by Paul Simon except "Scarborough Fair / Canticle" which is co-written with Art Garfunkel and "Silent Night" which is a Traditional Hymn.

13 Patterns (Demo)
14 A Poem On The Underground Wall (Demo)
Tracks 13 and 14 are BONUSES from the "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective (August 2001)

Disc 4 "Bookends" (34:30 minutes):
1. Bookends Theme [Instrumental Version]
2. Save The Life Of My Child
3. America
4. Overs
5. Voices Of Old People [no music, just elderly people talking]
6. Old Friends
7. Bookends Theme [with Lyrics]
8. Fakin' It
9. Punky's Dilemma
10. Mrs. Robinson (From the Motion Picture Soundtrack "The Graduate")
11. A Hazy Shade Of Winter
12. At The Zoo

Tracks 1 to 12 are their 4th studio album "Bookends" - released 3 April 1968 in the USA on Columbia KCS 9529 (Stereo). Al songs by Paul Simon

13. You Don't Where Your Interest Lies
14. Old Friends (Demo)
Tracks 13 and 14 are BONUSES from the "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective (August 2001)

Disc 5 "Bridge Over Trouble Water" (44:04 minutes):
1. Bridge Over Troubled Water
2. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
3. Cecilia
4. Keep The Customer Satisfied
5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
6. The Boxer
7. Baby Driver
8. The Only Living Boy In New York
9. Why Don't You Write Me
10. Bye Bye Love
11. Song For The Asking

Tracks 1 to 12 are their 5th and final studio album "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - released 26 January 1970 in the USA on Columbia KCS 9914 (Stereo). All songs are by Paul Simon except "Bye Bye Love" which is an Everly Brothers cover version

12. Feuilles-O (Demo)
13. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Demo Take 6)
Tracks 13 and 14 are BONUSES from the "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective (August 2001)

Disc 6 "The Concert In Central Park" (86 minute PAL DVD, All Regions)
1. Mrs. Robinson
2. Homeward Bound
3. America
4. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
5. Scarborough Fair
6. April Come She Will
7. Wake Up Little Susie
8. Still Crazy After All These Years
9. American Tune
10. Late In The Evening
11. Slip Slidin' Away
12. A Heart In New York
13. The Late Great Johnny Ace
14. Kodachrome/Maybelline
15. Bridge Over Troubled Water
16. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
17. The Boxer
18. Old Friends
19. Bookends
20. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
21. The Sound Of Silence
22. Late In The Evening

The pull-off lid reveals 5 Card Repro sleeves for the albums standing up inside and a 6th disc - a DVD as documented above. The CDs take their remasters from the August 2001 "The Complete Studio Recordings (1964-1970)" 5CD retrospective remastered by Vic Anesini. Compilers of the original 1997 “Old Friends” box set explained how it took Columbia up to 3 years to locate the best possible STEREO source tapes - and the sonic results Anesini produced are simply stunning. Beautiful clarity and real presence...

The booklet for this budget box keeps it simple - 12 pages of track details, basic recording/release info peppered with some period photos of the American duo. The lovely 5 x 5" Card Repro Sleeves are very well done (front and rear artwork fully represented) and inside each is a charcoal-grey inner sleeve to protect the disc (all the CDs have the same greyish colour scheme and don't reflect the original `360 Sound' Columbia record labels). The DVD uses the artwork of the 1982 double-album "The Concert In Central Park" - and as it contains live Simon & Garfunkel hits alongside many great Paul Simon solo tunes  - makes for a superb addition to the music.

12 of their American hit singles between 1965 and 1970 are here in Stereo form - "The Sound Of Silence", "Homeward Bound", "I Am A Rock", "The Dangling Conversation", "A Hazy Shade Of Winter, "At The Zoo", "Fakin' It", "Scarborough Fair / Canticle", "Mrs. Robinson", "The Boxer", "Bridge Over Trouble Water" and "El Condor Paso". But it's the album nuggets that get you too - the folk warmth of "Kathy's Song", the hip wit of "Punky's Dilemma" ("...talking to a raisin that occasionally plays L.A...."), the irrepressible hippy happiness of "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" and the Vietnam war swallowing up peace in the brilliant combination of the "7 O'Clock News" with the hymn "Silent Night". And even now the sheer melodies in "The Only Living Boy In New York" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" still move you (lyrics from Bridge title this review). Some of the bonuses are just as beautiful too - especially their version of the Jackson C. Frank gem - "Blues Run The Game" (what a find).

So there you have it. Although it's not the most awesome thing from the outside - "The Collection" has the audio and visual goods on the inside - and it’s cheap as chips price makes it a stunning deal into the bargain. A Columbia Legacy indeed...

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