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Art Garfunkel Across America

1997 "live" audio CD release

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Kick back and enjoy one of the great voices in pop music.

  • Dec 21, 2008
Art Garfunkel has always been one of my favorite solo artists. That is why I was absolutely flabbergasted to discover "Across America" at my local library.  For some strange reason, I was not even aware that this disc was ever released.  What makes that all the more remarkable is that my wife and I actually saw him in concert during his '96 summer tour when this "live" recording was made.  One can only conclude that this disc was not very widely promoted nor was it an especially big seller.

But none of that matters much. I found "Across America" to be a joyous experience featuring a varied menu of 16 wonderful tunes.  Not surprisingly, about half the songs are from Arthur's magical days with Paul Simon. Included are memorable versions of hits like "Homeward Bound", "Scarborough Fair" and "Sounds of Silence".  Then of course there is the remarkable "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as only Art Garfunkel can sing it. It still sends chills up and down my spine even to this day!  You will also find a number of tunes from Garfunkels solo career including "Bright Eyes" and the haunting "All I Know".  Add to that a neat duet with the legendary James Taylor and a memorable version of the Beatles "I Will" and you will begin to understand why I am so enthusiastic about this CD.  Art Garfunkel has always been a fan of 1950's rock and roll and doo wop so it is quite appropriate that the disc concludes with his version of the Jesse Belvin classic "Goodnight My Love".  Now I am not a big fan of "live" recordings.  But "Across America" is the exception to that rule and is destined for a special place on my CD shelf.  After a long and difficult day at work I can assure you that this is just what the doctor ordered.  So just sit back, relax and enjoy.  Whether this disc sold 1000 copies or 10,000,000 is really of no concern to me.  "Across America" is a winner in my eyes.  Highly recommended.

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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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Blessed with a beautifully ethereal voice, Art Garfunkel has suffered in his post-Paul Simon career because of a choice of songs and musical settings that mistake preciousness for subtlety. Happily, his new album remedies that problem. Nine of the 16 songs on Across America, which was recorded live last year, are Simon and Garfunkel classics, and the singer renders them with grace and a characteristically sublimated passion. If the album offers few new pleasures, hearing songs like "Scarborough Fair" and "Homeward Bound" in this context delivers the reassuring joy of running into old friends in a new place.

The title Across America refers to the walk across the country that Garfunkel completed during the course of 12 years, though it also derives meaning from the fact that these performances were recorded on Ellis Island. Beyond that, Garfunkel keeps his ambitions on this album aesthetic and personal. Small band arrangements, which include Michael Brecker's tenor saxophone and Eric Weissberg's guitar, mandolin and bass, provide sensitive support. Garfunkel's wife, Kim Cermak Garfunkel, sings background vocals, and his young son, James, coos his way through "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)." James Taylor duets with Garfunkel on a lovely reading of Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Crying in the Rain."

The high point, of course, is "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a song that Garfunkel has, uniquely in the Simon and Garfunkel canon, fully defined as his own. It's not ...

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Performer: Art Garfunkel
Label: Columbia
Genre: Pop
Release Date: May 21, 1997

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