on 2 April 2011
Leaving aside the fact that the 40th anniversary was actually last year,this is a fine package.
It comes with an excellent 24 page booklet,a second disc of concert performances plus a DVD that includes a brand-new documentary. Please note the live disc has been previously released before as "Live 1969".
The documentary was originally banned in many states in the US because of its references to The Vietnam War. Its well worth seeing.
The original Album is of course a classic. Its beautifully remastered and sounds as melodic as ever. A must-have Album for any true lover of beautifully crafted pop music. Paul and Art were never better. No wonder it topped the UK charts for a total of 33 weeks !
on 20 October 2002
This is, of course, the pinnacle of Simon and Garfunkels creative genius.Arguably the best album ever released it contains the cream of Simons songwriting in classic tracks such as 'The Boxer' and 'El Condor Pasa'.I first bought this album in the early seventies and as with the previous reviewer I seem to know it off by heart.This may not be a bad thing as I seem to notice something new on every listen.This, as in the other S&G remasters is top quality and a very good buy at this price.
Returning to the album it contains my favourite Simon composition in 'The Only Living Boy In New York', this remaining my favourite even afer buying all other Simon albums in the intervening years.Buy this if you are one of the few that don't already have it!You will never regret it!!
A review for the 2011 2 cd+dvd deluxe edition...
This is such a great reissue from Sony Legacy. Simon & Garfunkel's classic album from 1970 given the full deluxe treatment and what a treat it is. There's a major difference between this EU release and it's stateside cousin. The USA issue is only two discs. The remastered album and the dvd containing the controversial period tv special "Songs Of America" plus a newly produced 2010 documentary "The Harmony Game", featuring interviews and reminiscing from all persons involved in creating this landmark album. Whilst the tv special is vintage and has been restored from the two best available tape sources, it definitely belongs in 1970. The new documentary, on the other hand, is a fascinating insight into the working and sometimes fractured relationship that Simon & Garfunkel lived through to create some of the most timeless music in recent pop history. I love hearing about the recording process and this doco doesn't disappoint. So what's the difference between the two editions?
The extra disc of the EU release is the previously unreleased cd "Live 1969". Though this title has been available in the USA for a couple of years (exclusively through a coffee shop chain for the first year), it makes its rest of the world debut in this set. Taped at a variety of shows while they were recording the "Bridge Over.." album, it's a fascinating snapshot of how the group would've sounded had they continued after BOTW's release. For some of these songs it's the first time they have been performed in front of an audience and it's also the first tour to feature backing musicians. If you want to hear how S&G sounded prior to this tour have a listen to "Live From New York City, 1967". That recording is just Art and Paul (accompanied only by Simon's acoustic guitar) singing their songs of life in America. It really does show you how different the sound and structure of Simon's songwriting had changed so much in just a few months. The 1969 live disc with this set, recorded only 12 months later is remarkable. It's amazing to hear how confident and proud Garfunkel is as he introduces a new song, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to the audience. If you attended any of the shows on this tour you were treated to three or four new songs. The next time these tunes were heard by America was during the broadcast of the tv special where "Bridge Over Troubled Water", the song, made it's debut to the world. In a few short weeks, the song and album were at the top of the charts all over the globe.
The extra live disc makes this deluxe reissue of Bridge Over Troubled Water good value. The previous release of the main album had two bonus tracks (a demo run through of the title song and the seasonal "Feuilles-O"), unfortunately they have not been included here and would've been a nice extra bonus but are not really missed. This new master of the album is clear and bright with nice bass tones and good separation bringing this classic album from the early 70's into the 21st century.
"Gee But It's Great To Be Back Home..."
It goes without saying that this album is one of the classic albums of all time, with almost every track a household name. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) selling albums of the 1970's, and still outsells many of its peers to this day. Paul Simon created a behemoth of an album when he set about trying to outdo his achievements on 'Bookends', and the resulting album cost Simon and Garfunkel their creative (and personal) partnership.
The tracks on this album are as varied as they are original, probably the main reason for the album's hugely broad and enduring appeal. Garfunkel's musical contribution (by this stage) was largely as backing vocalist to Simon's all-encompassing talent, but ironically it is Garfunkel who stole the show with what must rank as his greatest achievement, being the tour-de-force vocal on the opening title track. Aside from that, and 'So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright', you don't hear much from him again. Even 'Why Don't You Write Me' has Simon doing his own backing vocals...
But Simon's contribution to this album is not just in the writing, but in the performance as well. The timeless classic 'The Boxer' (a song that has kept millions of buskers in business) ranks as one of his greatest tracks, and rivals (or surpasses in my opinion) anything that Bob Dylan ever penned. With a rivetting narrative and thrilling climax (akin to the likes of The Beatles 'Hey Jude'), this song more than any other stands out as the true lead track of the album. 'The Only Living Boy In New York' sees what Simon and Garfunkel (used to) do best... vocal harmonies. The sense of loneliness described in the lyric is emphasised brilliantly through the airy, choral sound of the harmonies in this song.
These songs represent the personal and emotional side of this album, but there is plenty to counter-balance. 'Cecilia', 'Keep The Customer Satisfied', 'Baby Driver' and a raucous live rendition of The Everly Brothers 'Bye Bye Love' all serve to lighten the load considerably. As with every classic album, there are one or two oddities as well. 'El Condor Pasa' sticks out like a sore thumb at first, but gradually becomes as much part of ones enjoyment of the album as the rest.
The album ends with the short and sweet track, 'Song For The Asking', which with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight, sounds like a goodbye, and certainly marked the end of an era, and for Paul Simon atleast, the start of a new one.
This album is such an out and out classic, it should be available in public libraries. That said, it is not altogether representative of the rest of S&G's work, as it is a much more polished, and somewhat less daring and innovative album than say 'Bookends' was, so I would recommend buying this album after some of their earlier stuff, or like I did, buy the whole lot at the same time and go through your 'Simon and Garfunkel' phase!
on 12 January 2006
Easily their classiest album and such a great swansong too. Paul Simon was to go onto a remarkable solo career after this and that whole chapter is worth an entirely separate discussion. Here he and Garfunkel get together one last time and produce a masterpiece.
The album from 1970 is so choc-a-bloc full of classics that it is hard to know where to begin. Well, with the title track of course. A gorgeous piano-based ballad with a tune to match and a truly uplifting lyric. Paul Simon has said he was forced into writing a third verse but it doesn’t show, in fact the build up towards the end of the song with rousing harmonies and then Garfunkel’s passionate closing vocal is just sublime. How many singers can reach those notes? No wonder you can count the cover versions of this classic on one hand. El Condor Pasa again carries an infectious and beautiful tune and uses the South American pipes nicely, something Simon would expolore more on his first solo album two years later.
’Cecilia’ is a joyful romp with a levity which belies the sad lyric about infedility and loss. The next track ’Keep The Customer Satisfied’ is a minor masterpiece, with an amusing lyric and a fun tune. On any other album of theirs it would be a stand out. Here there so many classics (see how they shine!) that it’s a lot harder. The closing number on Side 1 (vinyl) is a remarkable tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright. It is beautiful. Garfunkel sings the lead perfectly and is perfectly complimented by Simon for the ’architects may come and architects may go’ section.
Then we come to The Boxer which is a bona fide classic in anyone’s book. OK so maybe the lai le lai section goes on a tad too long? Controversial I know. ’Baby Driver’ and the cover of the Everlys’ ’Bye Bye Love’ are the only tracks which seem somewhat out of place on this album. Mainly because they both appear a bit trivial, especially when surrounded by such heavyweights. ’The Only Living Boy In New York’ is however is a lost gem of an album track with a melody up there with Simon’s very best and the lyric which is the closest Simon ever got to commenting on the split with Garfunkel. I didn’t even relaise this until a couple of years ago, mainly because he refers to his partner as Tom. But of course Tom And Jerry was a previous incarnation of Simon And Garfunkel. Before they realised that their own names were better than some stupid cartoon.
And of course as with most great albums there is a great closing track. Here it is ’Song For The Asking’. Another top class ballad from Paul Simon. One might be tempted to think that he had put all his eggs in one basket and left his solo career lacking of a few more highlights, such is the majesty and incredible songwriting form displayed by Paul Simon on this wonderful album. Fortunately that was not the case and the first three solo albums were all five star classics. Exploring different moods, styles and more sparesely produced for the most part. But no less brilliant for that. But back to this album. Forget the compilations. This album practically reads like one and has the continuity of style and purpose that few Greatest Hits albums can ever hope to have. Just as The Beatles had done the year before with Abbey Road (1969) this partnership signed off whilst at the very top of their game. And if you want humour check out Garfunkels’s enormous moustache on the front cover.
on 5 June 2011
40 years after its release there is little point in attempting a meaningful review of Simon & Garfunkel's ultimate artistic statement. It is what it is, an album whose classic status is assured thanks to a varied set of quality songs, amongst them the anthemic 'The Boxer', the lesser known 'Only Living Boy in New York' and the title track, arguably one of the best songs Paul Simon ever wrote, with one of Art Garfunkel's finest vocal performances.
There is already a plethora of means by which to acquire this album: either singly on the 2001 remastered and expanded version; as part of the reasonably priced The Collection box set, which includes all the S&G albums, plus a DVD of The Concert in Central Park; or well represented on one of any number of greatest hits packages. What makes this latest 40th anniversary version an attractive proposition are the extras, not the least of which is the Live 1969 album originally released in 2008. The 17 songs it contains were recorded as part of Simon and Garfunkel's final tour before their break-up. Spanning their career, it showcases several tracks from Bridge Over Troubled Water before its 1970 release.
The DVD contains an excellent new hour long documentary on the making of the album, featuring contributions from Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, producer Roy Halee and many others involved in its creation. Also included is the controversial Songs Of America television special, originally broadcast in 1969 on CBS, and apparently never shown since. Pitching Simon & Garfunkel's songs against a backdrop of contemporary news footage interspersed with contributions from Paul and Artie themselves, the feature is very much of its time, the duo's 60s-style philosophical musings seeming hopelessly naive in these somewhat more cynical times. It is an interesting time-capsule, serving the same purpose as Simon & Garfunkel's songs themselves so often do, of carrying the listener straight back to those heady days of hope and optimism. For those who already have this album, which will probably be anyone considering the purchase of this expanded version, the DVD alone is worth the entrance fee, with the Live 1969 CD being an added incentive for those who do not already own it. The music on the main album speaks for itself.
on 3 December 2000
Bridge Over Troubled Water marks the highpoint of the duo's creativity. While still nourishing their folk roots (The Boxer), they were unafraid to embrace world music (El Condor Pasa), a sign of things to come from Paul Simon. This leads to a richness of sound that complements their vocal harmonies fully.
From the soaring inspiration of the title track, to the cheekiness of Cecilia and to the relaxed lounging of So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright, they cover all the bases, never once sounding like they are uncomfortable with the genre they've picked.
Most of all, the album features Paul Simon's best ever songwriting (The Boxer, The Only Living Boy In New York), sympathetic and warm without the sentimentality that mars his solo work.
An essential buy.
on 6 October 2007
It doesn't get any better than this. A wonderful album with a strong collection of songs, superlative performances and arrangements, and, for many people, an important part of the soundtrack of their lives. The title track speaks for itself - a perfect song inspirationally sung. 'The Only Living Boy in New York' is another cracker, but the more you look, the more songs you list as being great! As one reviewer has hinted, it's perhaps best to play the album and just listen. The music speaks for itself - the quality of songwriting and performance is awesome. I can't recommend this album highly enough.
on 29 February 2008
The magic of this record is apparent right from the outset, with the title track - which for me, remains one of the most inspirational song ever recorded - establishing the mood, tone and scope of the album completely. Everything about it just works perfectly - from the arrangement, to the production, to the vocals - everything! It opens with the aforementioned title track, which is probably one of those songs that you'd really love to hate in order to stand out from the crowd, but it's simply impossible. It's just one of those songs that you can put on after a rough day and drift away completely into that great crystal-like piano that opens the song and leads us effortlessly into Simon's great lyrics and Garfunkle's truly enveloping voice.
The lyrics should get special mention, for it is here that Simon became a truly great songwriter, easily in the same league as Lennon and McCartney, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. The opening verse just sets it all up; "when you're weary, feeling small...when tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all". Sure, it's nowhere near as lyrically complex as something like Eleanor Rigby or Stuck Inside of Mobile, but the way in which Simon tells a story and yet communicates to the listener on a one to one, highly intimate basis is very special. Though it's the second part of the second verse that always touches me the most, "I'll take your part when darkness comes, and pain is all around... like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down", particularly though Garfunkle's sensitive, compassionate delivery and the undercutting bombast of Hal Blain and that gorgeous pain/keyboard fill from Larry Knechtel.
It's a shame that I've dedicated the majority of this comment to the title track, because really, every song here is great. It's one of those albums that just flows nicely from beginning to end, carried along by great song-writing, performance, arrangement and emotional intensity. Who cares if they were at each others throats the whole time? Songs like Cecilia, with it's world-beat inspirations, joyous handclaps and brisk pace, or the driving Keep the Customer Satisfied, which is probably the closes Paul and Art ever got to 'rock', act a nice high before the lulled, gentle pacing of So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright, possibly the only ballad dedicated to an architect, with that standout moment when Garfunkle coos "...all of the nights we harmonised till daaaawn!". Next track, The Boxer, is even better, featuring one of Simon's best ever guitar melodies and a great little narrative about the rise and fall of a low-life pugilist, which brings to mind a film like Raging Bull or that wrestling idea from the Coen's Barton Fink; particularly the lyric "in the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminder, of every glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out, in his anger and his shame, 'I am leaving, I am leaving' but the fighter still remains". It is easily one of the classic American songs of the era, elevated by bold orchestral flourishes that emerge as the song progresses, and the famous "lie-la-lie..." backing vocals from Art. It is also a great primer to a later track on the album, The Only Living Boy in New York, which I'm not entirely sure as to what it's about, but it's beautiful in it's melancholy all the same ("...half of the time we're gone but we don't know where, and we don't know where").
Meanwhile, the final track, Song for the Asking, really brings the whole melancholic, alienated theme of the album full circle, seeming like a cry for help from the very same character being addressed by the narrator of the title track. As others have said, the song is short and sweet and is all the better for it, offering us a final beacon of hope and undiluted honesty, with the coda "this is my tune for the taking, take it don't turn away, I've been waiting all my life... thinking it over I've been sad, thinking it over I'd be more than glad to change my ways, for the asking... ask me and I will play". Bridge Over Troubled Water really is one of the classic albums. Though it may not reveal it's self to you immediately, persevere, and take solace in the fact that Paul and Art's gentle musings will always be there... if you need a friend, sailing right behind, like a bridge over troubled water, it will ease your mind.
on 1 June 2004
Anyone with an inclination as to how influential and momentous the duo Simon and Garfunkle were on the entire music scene will already be well aware of this absolute masterpiece. I am lost for superlatives to describe their final album before going their seperate ways, but I think "masterpiece" comes close. This is amazing music. Classic song writing. Sing along anthems, bouncy acoustic pop, tear jerking folk ballads with lyrics to rival Wordsworth for poetic merit. My personal favourites are "The Boxer" (obviously) and "Keep the customers satisfied" but don't get me wrong, there isn't a bad track on this album. Where as the titular track yanks at your heart strings in an instant, and Baby Driver will have you singing along by the second stanza there are some slow burning classics such as "Farewell, Frank Loyd Wright" and "The only living boy in New York". This is a must buy, simple as that! One to enjoy for ever. It's Paul Simons finest moment as a song writer and Art Garfunkle has never delivered a better vocal.
"I have squandered my existence for a pocket full of mumbles such are promises"