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THIS RELEASE FIXES A GLITCH THE PREVIOUS UPLOAD HAD AT THE END OF ONE TRACK
Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends (Remastered)
Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends
01.- Bookends Theme (Instrumental) [00:32]
02.- Save The Life Of My Child [02:48]
03.- America [03:35]
04.- Overs [02:19]
05.- Voices Of Old People [02:07]
06.- Old Friends [02:35]
07.- Bookends Theme [01:24]
08.- Fakin' It [03:22]
09.- Punky's Dilemma [02:17]
10.- Mrs. Robinson [04:07]
11.- A Hazy Shade Of Winter [02:17]
12.- At The Zoo [02:32]
13.- You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies [02:19] **
14.- Old Friends (Demo) [02:11] **
** = BONUS TRACKS, exclusive to this release
Originally Released on March, 1968. This remastered version, which includes two bonus tracks was released on August 21st, 2001.
Ripped with EAC, creating a .cue/.wav audio file, preserving the CD structure, gaps and volume levels as in the original CD.
In March of 1968, Robert Kennedy was still alive and offering a vision for a way out to the America that had deeply entrenched itself in the Vietnam War. The inner-city rebellions in 1967 had shaken the youth culture's image of their own summer of love in that year. The beginning of America's crippling identity crisis had begun to shudder through the culture that would erupt with the death of Kennedy later that spring and the tragedy of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago later that summer. Before it was all over, Martin Luther King, Jr. had also lost his life. In pop culture, rock was exploding everywhere in Western culture. The impact of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds -- both made in 1966 -- and the appearance of Jimi Hendrix on the pop scene in 1967 had ushered in a new way of making records, a way that not only referred to and portrayed everyday life but was part of its acceptance for what it was before attempting to transcend it. Earlier that spring, Simon and Garfunkel had slipped their fourth album into the bins with a whisper, the confoundingly literary, profoundly poetic and stunningly beautiful Bookends. Columbia Legacy has presented us S&G's entire catalog painstakingly remastered with extra tracks. The sound on these discs -- and Bookends in particular -- is amazing. It is literally true that there are instrumental passages and studio atmospherics that have never before been audible. As a pair, the two were seemingly equal collaborators with producer and engineer Roy Halee on a highly textured, multi-layered song cycle that offered observations on everything from urban crises that were symptomatic of larger issues, the prospect of old age and death, the loss and dislocation of those who desperately wanted to inherit an American Dream but not the one offered to them, surreal yet wistful reflections on youthful innocence lost forever to the cold winds of change.
Bookends is a literary album that contains the most minimal of openings with the theme, an acoustic guitar stating itself slowly and plaintively before erupting into the wash of synthesizers and dissonance that is "Save the Life of My Child." The uneasy rock & roll that carries the song through its disaster and the revelation of "Oh my grace, I've got no hiding place," which is the mere hint of what is to come in this wide open terrain of the previously familiar but completely unknown. The classic "America" is next, a folk song with a lilting soprano saxophone in the refrain and a small pipe organ painting the acoustic guitars in the more poignant verses. The song relies on pop structures to carry its message of hope and disillusionment as two people travel the American landscape searching for it until it dawns on them that everyone else on the freeway is doing the same thing. Its sweetness and sophisticated melodic invention are toppled by the message of the song and it becomes an ellipsis, a cipher, turned back on itself into disappearance, wondering what question to ask next. The sound of a lit cigarette is the opening of "Overs," a balladic study in the emptiness at the end of the relationship. The sound of inhaling and exhaling of the smoke tells the entire story. Also woven into the mix is a two-minute field recording of the voices of old people made by Garfunkel, collected from nursing homes and centers for the aged. The disembodied voices are chilling and heartbreakingly beautiful in their different observations, entire lifetimes summed up in a few seconds. This interlude leads into "Old Friends," which carries the message deeper as the image of two old men sitting on a park bench in languid statements of life lived ordinarily but poetically share not only their memories but also the commonality of their fear. A horn section threatens to interrupt the reverie, carrying the chaos they feel, their lack of control over current events, but is warded off as denial and the gentleness of the melody returns and fades into the album's opening theme, suggesting that we preserve our memories. As "Fakin' It" kicks to the fore, we feel the separation inherent in Simon's generational view of the unconscious separation of heart and mind. The tune is as full of hooks as a fishing boat and Halee swipes a bit from the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and eases orchestral layers into the mix, subtly of course, but ever-present and recognizable nonetheless. With "Fakin' It," the depth of the album's meditation presents itself in earnest. Synth lines and handclaps give way to snare drums and acoustic guitars, and the first appearance of loss shows itself for what it is, the passing of life, moment by moment, memory by memory so quickly, that pretending is somehow preferable to the reality of everyday life. When the horn section and strings bring the crescendos and the lyric asserts, "This feeling of fakin' it/I still haven't shaken it/I know I'm fakin' it/I'm not really makin' it." Even Leonard Cohen's dark prophecies never stated the case so plainly -- in a folk-rock tune. The identity crisis inherent in the jazzy "Punky's Dilemma" melds the loss of innocence and childhood with the cynicism of present-day living. The final four tracks of the original album, "Mrs. Robinson," the theme song for the film The Graduate, "A Hazy Shade of Winter," and the album's final track, the George-influenced "At the Zoo," offer as tremblingly bleak a vision for the future as any thing done by the Velvet Underground, but rooted in the lives of everyday people, not in the decadent underground personages of New York's Factory studio. But the album is also a warning that to pay attention is to take as much control of one's fate as possible. The bonus tracks, a different take of "Old Friends" and "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies" -- which ended up as the B-side of "Hazy Shade of Winter" -- add dimension to what was easily the most ambitious recording of Simon & Garfunkel's career. Its problematic themes, spare yet striking arrangements, and augmented orchestral instrumentation created a backdrop for the sounds of a generation moving through a workaday world they no longer accepted as real, a world they never understood in first place. That S&G never overstate the case here, never preach to the converted but instead almost journalistically observe the questions in the process of their being asked is a monumental achievement. That they did so in three- and four-minute pop songs is almost inconceivable for the time.
Appearing twice on the Bookends album, this piece was used as a link and helps to create a sense of unity in this classic record. The first (and very brief) instrumental version is a simple, acoustic guitar reading of the melody, stating its theme and feel. The second version features the vocals of Simon & Garfunkel and has been used in countless films and television shows that are set in the 1960s. Capturing the innocence of the era perfectly, the lyrics also have the distinction of looking back with a sense of wistful melancholy. This is most interesting when you consider that the song was written in 1967. Simple, effective, and wholly effecting, its one of Paul Simon's classics.
The pivotal use of "America" in the soundtrack to the film Almost Famous (2000) continued a trend that was started in part by Mike Nichols' use of Simon & Garfunkel songs as a plot device in the 1967 film The Graduate. The former film uses "America" -- released originally on the 1968 LP song cycle Bookends -- in the context of a young person leaving home in the restless late '60s, a microcosm of a whole societal shift. And this is also kind of how the song itself works, with the blank-verse lyrics open, offering small, personal details, almost in jokes: "Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together/I've got some real estate here in my bag/So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies/And we walked off to look for America/'Kathy,' I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh/'Michigan seems like a dream to me now.'" It seems like a recollection of a pleasant trip taken by young lovers, an apparently fictional trip with Simon and his girlfriend from his time in England, Kathy Chitty ( Simon has explained that, contrary to popular myth, the trip never occurred). But with a grandiose line like "to look for America" and the grand-scale musical arrangement, "America" is quite obviously something more ambitious than a personal postcard; Simon was observing the trends of his generation -- the physical restlessness and spiritual bankruptcy that the wanderlust signified. Simon, having received training in Brill Building songwriting as a young demo-singer-for-hire, merges -- in the song's masterful third verse -- his Bob Dylan-spurred ambition as an "important" songwriter with his commercial and traditional pop songcraft: "'Kathy, I'm lost,' I said, though I knew she was sleeping/I'm empty and aching and I don't know why/Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/They've all gone to look for America." The first line seems like yet another bit of innocuous dialogue between fellow travelers. But with the next line, the song climaxes lyrically; it might simply be a tinge that a relationship is coming to an end, but on a larger scale, Simon feels an emptiness, realizing -- in the depressing light of the New Jersey Turnpike -- the pointlessness of his travel and his search, which is not fulfilling his inner ache. He might even possibly be predicting a similar dead end for his peers. But it is not just a personal disappointment; the narrator goes looking for an America that Walt Whitman and Jack Kerouac have found before him, and he finds no such place; tritely speaking, there is no "there" there. Perhaps not coincidentally, the cinematic song came out the year after The Graduate, a film which explored similar themes: alienation, emptiness, disappointment, and so on. The lyrical deftness that Simon demonstrates is almost overshadowed by the orchestrated arrangement, a 6/2 folk rhythm that contains the lovely, lilting, sing-song melody. It begins softly, with a rhythm, tempo, and melody that Elliot Smith seems to have taken as a template for much of his songwriting -- though certainly the antecedent came from the later Beatles records (especially the drum fills). In fact, "America" can be taken as a "bookend' of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," which offers a brilliant look at the grown-child-leaving-parent paradigm from the point of view of the parents. We imagine their daughter going off and finding happiness and success in a bigger world than the one she shared with her parents. But that loss of innocence, an innocence which cannot be regained, is a common theme shared with "America," as well as other Simon songs like "Mrs. Robinson" in its lines: "Where have you gone Joe Di Maggio?/Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you." By the time "America" reaches the second chorus, and again for the final chorus, the arrangement stokes up into something approximating a robust sea shanty -- with cymbal crashes and layered harmonies -- thus forming a second template for '70s singer/songwriters; this time one with less subtlety by Neil Diamond on songs like his "America" and some of Billy Joel's early, folky moments, like "Piano Man."
A simple yet very effective track from Bookends, "Overs" continues the theme of aging and the passage of time that fills the first side of the album. In this case, Paul Simon is singing of a love affair on the verge of disintegration. Some exquisite, fugue-like passages from Art Garfunkel highlight the mood and arrangement, which is one of the most subdued and elegant on the album. Musically, it is based in a folk-blues style, with Simon's guitar taking a few blues explorations that allow the piece to breathe melodically. In some ways, this song is a signpost to some of his 1970s solo work.
VOICES OF OLD PEOPLE
More of a spoken word audio collage than a "song," this piece, which was taped at convalescent homes in Southern California, helps to underline the feeling of aging and the passage of time, themes that are indeed paramount. Sometimes sad, as well as comical, the voices on the record are touching, especially when you consider the fact that they probably died a few years from the date of recording.
Perfectly seguing out of "Voices of Old People," "Old Friends" -- which makes references to "Bookends Theme" -- is a unifying link on the Bookends album. The lyrics look into old age and the changes that may come to be. An elegant and ornate classical string section dominates the melody along with Paul Simon's acoustic guitar. There is also a frightening, dissonant passage, which is very reminiscent of Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle orchestrations, which in turn were influenced by Charles Ives. This is not the only reference to Parks on the album (see "Punky's Dilemma").
Easily Simon & Garfunkel's most ambitious piece of music to date (1967), "Fakin' It" is a precursor to several other studio masterpieces that would follow, namely "The Boxer" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." A virtual suite, the song opens and closes with a nod/tribute to the Beatles, with its high-pitched note (sounding like bagpipes) backed by marching drums, which is a dead-ringer for the end of "Strawberry Fields." The first main section of the song is built on a jazzy- blues acoustic guitar figure from Paul Simon that leads the listener into a casual atmosphere. The lyrics in this section are an autobiographical account of a relationship, and Simon conceived this while in a "hashish reverie." The buoyancy of the music neatly juxtaposes feelings of doubt and insecurity, which is some of Simon's funkiest pop. There is a striking interlude that features the voice of Beverly Martyn, a singer/songwriter that was befriended by the duo during the 1967 period. Like a fantasy cameo in a film, it presents a portrait of a man in a past life as a tailor in Europe, named " Mr. Leitch" (a reference to Donovan). Oddly, after recording the song, Simon learned that his grandfather -- also named Paul Simon -- was a tailor in Vienna. The song returns to the main theme before the Beatles/ "Strawberry Fields" closing. All of this is less than four minutes; it's one of the most striking recordings and songs of the limit-smashing 1967/1968 period.
On the surface, "Punky's Dilemma" is one of the lighter, nonsensical songs on the Bookends album. The casual, almost jazz/ bubblegum feel of the music and arrangement is almost juvenile, but this is deceptive. Lyrically, part of the song is about a draft dodger and his moral "dilemma." This is neatly and innocuously set against the pleasures of breakfast food and contentment. But perhaps more important are the references to both Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, who had just been working on the (never completed) Smile album project. Specifically, the references to relationships to food are probably from the song "Vegetables." The sunny, casual, and almost comedic feel of the music and arrangement were indeed themes of the Smile project, and "Punky's Dilemma" comes across as a tribute rather than a parody.
A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER
"Hazy Shade of Winter" was a sizable hit for Simon & Garfunkel in late 1966, reaching number 13, although it's not quite as frequently played or famous as their biggest smashes. That's unfortunate, as "Hazy Shade of Winter" was one of their best songs, and certainly one of the toughest and more rock-oriented by a duo more noted for being relatively mild and dignified. A brusque, stiff drum rhythm sets the pace on the opening instrumental section, built around an edgy, up and down guitar riff; the melody and arrangement of the instrumental section are duplicated on the track's subsequent vocal choruses. The lyric is one of Simon's more downbeat early ones, particularly on the chorus, with its images of leaves turning brown (perhaps subconsciously influenced by the brown leaves in John Phillips' slightly earlier "California Dreamin'"?) and the sky looking like a hazy shade of winter. Though the verse is less melodically memorable than the chorus, it's commendably urgent and well-arranged, particularly in the lonely bleats of trumpet after some of the lines, and the part at the ending where the bass and a bassoon busily bring the verse to a climax. There's only a brief bridge here -- and we're not talking about the 59th Street bridge! -- which, though not as vital a part of the song as the main courses, does serve the purpose of adding a little bit more of a dark clouds gathering feel. It's also nifty how the song comes to an unexpected dead, final stop on the last chorus, after the line about a patch of snow on the ground. In the 1980s the song was revived from an unexpected quarter, when the Bangles put it on the soundtrack of Less Than Zero.
AT THE ZOO
Like many of Simon & Garfunkel's songs of their later period, "At the Zoo" is a multi-leveled piece, combining childish whimsy with serious, poignant social statements. On the surface, the song is a simple take on the pleasures of going to the New York City Zoo, complete with a description of the journey there. However, the lyrics in the final verse describe the dispositions of the different animals ("zebras are reactionaries/Antelopes are missionaries"), which draws a parable of human behavior. All of this adds up to the civilized "human" world as the real zoo. Musically, it's a fun and funky romp. Opening with a delicate acoustic guitar pattern, it slips into a walking piano and bass guitar pattern and also features some excellent studio performances, most notably Hal Blaine's drum work. The final section of the song finds the momentum escalating, culminating in a neo-African chant from Garfunkel, which foreshadowed the group (and Paul Simon's) later forays into what would be called world music.