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Art Garfunkel: The Singer

2012 two-disc audio CD release

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Art almost got it right.

  • Aug 29, 2012
For years I have been hoopin' and hollerin' for a comprehensive Art Garfunkel collection. Columbia's pathetic 1988 single disc 12 track offering "Garfunkel" simply did not cut the mustard. Finally, in 2012 Columbia has seen fit to release a solid two-disc anthology "Art Garfunkel: The Singer". According to the product description on Amazon "The Singer" is a 34-song collection of songs hand-picked by the artist himself. My beef is not so much with the tunes Art Garfunkel chose to include but rather some of the ones that he inexplicably left off.

It goes without saying that no Art Garfunkel collection would be complete without a sprinkling of tunes from his days as one half of Simon & Garfunkel. "The Singer" offers up more than a half dozen Simon & Garfunkel tunes including their #1 debut single "The Sound of Silence", the haunting 19th century folk ballad "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" as well as lesser known tunes like "Kathy's Song" and the luscious "April Come She Will". It has been years since I have enjoyed that tune! Also included is the boys biggest hit of all time "Bridge Over Troubled Water" which topped the charts for 6 big weeks in the Spring of 1970. I have always contended that Art Garfunkel's lead vocal is the greatest performance in the history of rock and roll.

When Simon & Garfunkel parted ways in the early 1970's some wondered if Art could make it as a solo act. Garfunkel dispelled those fears by recording a pair of Top 10 albums before the middle of the decade. "The Artist" must not have been a big fan of his debut album "Angel Clare" because he chose to include only a pair of songs from that disc including his popular debut single "All I Know" and a tune called "Barbara Allen".
Now I think that most Art Garfunkel fans would agree that 1975's "Breakway" was probably his best album. I was pleased to discover that Art chose to include a half-dozen tunes from that album including a trio of personal favorites namely "Breakaway", "Disney Girls" and his comeback single with Paul Simon "My Little Town". The remainder of this two-disc anthology features songs from other albums that Art recorded over the years including 5 from his 1993 album "Up ‘Til Now". Somehow I missed that one and I found each and every one of these tunes to be an absolute delight. In 2007, Art Garfunkel recorded an album of tunes from the "Great American Songbook" that he dubbed "Some Enchanted Evening". Along with the title tune "The Singer" also includes Art's moving rendition of Lerner and Loewe's "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face". Great tune!

As I indicated earlier I was a bit taken aback by some of the songs did not make the cut for "Art Garfunkel: The Artist". Perhaps my very favorite Garfunkel tune of all-time is "Traveling Boy" from the album "Angel Clare". I would have to say that Art's vocal on that one ranks right up there with "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Likewise it is inexplicable to me why "Looking For The Right One" was also not included. And having seen Garfunkel in concert some years ago I know he is a big fan of doo-wop and early rock and roll. I figured it was a slam-dunk that his marvelous rendition of "So Much In Love" would have been among the 34 tracks. Despite my disappointment I am going to bite the bullet and order this collection. Art Garfunkel is one of the finest male vocalists of his generation and release of the long overdue "Art Garfunkel: The Singer" corrects a glaring oversight by his record company. Highly recommended!

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August 29, 2012
Well done!
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on I never could … more
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Pulling together one man's remarkable career in music, The Singer is a 34-song collection of songs hand-picked by the artist himself. Spanning a life's body of work from the first Simon & Garfunkel album of 1964 (Wednesday Morning, 3 AM) through 2007's Great American Songbook album (Some Enchanted Evening) and continuing with two newly recorded performances for this release ("Lena" and "Long Way Home"). The Singer includes every #1 U.S. and UK solo hit "All I Know," "Breakaway," "I Only Have Eyes For You," "My Little Town" (with Paul Simon), "(What A) Wonderful World" (with Simon & James Taylor), "Bright Eyes" and more!

In addition to curating The Singer, Garfunkel provides his own personal track-by-track annotations, which appear in the booklet in his handwritten form. The notes are as unique as Garfunkel himself.

The voice and soul of a true American poet have illuminated the work of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Art Garfunkel for nearly five decades. It is there on record the Simon & Garfunkel LPs of 1964 to 1970 on Columbia, and his deep catalog as a solo artist starting in 1973 (the first six albums also on Columbia) as well as in film, and on the printed page (his 1987 collection of prose poetry, Still Water). Five-time Grammy® Award-winner Art Garfunkel has always approached every new project with the poet's perspective.

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