Friday, June 8, 2012

201 Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme-

Album: Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme
Artist: Simon and Garfunkle
Year: 1966
Genre: Pop


  1. Scarborough Fair/Canticle
  2. Patterns
  3. Cloudy
  4. Homeward Bound
  5. The Big 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

The more you listen to Simon and Garfunkle the more you realise that their inevitable break up wasn't the dissolution of a partnership as much as a songwriter shedding his backing vocalist. Simon wrote all the songs on Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme and sings most of it. Garfunkle tinkles the piano but if Simon couldn't have played the parts himself he could easily have found someone lounging around the studio who could have done it just as well. It's hard to know exactly what Garfunkle brought to the partnership, I can only assume he had really good drug connections or made excellent coffee.

Simon managed a few career highpoints after the partnership broke up but Garfunkle never really made it as a solo artist. Part of his issue was no doubt related to the fact that there's something romantic about a duo. There's just something about idea of two guys who join together to make music. We love the idea of friendship and we love picturing a duo making each other laugh and enjoying each other's company while they create magic. It's why the great comic double-acts (Morcambe and Wise, Fry and Laurie, Laurel and Hardy, Bush and Quayle) are so popular and endearing. Friendship is such a noble and basic ideal.

It's also what makes the dissolution of a partnership so unsettling. When bands collapse we're sad but often not surprised. We can blame musical differences and understand how hard it is to keep a collection of individuals together. But the breakup of a partnership feels like two friends falling out. It's one guy saying "I can't stand that guy anymore". We like to think they could work through their differences and keep going.

But Simon decided to shed his foolish-haired "partner" and go it alone. When you study the sleeve of this album you can understand why. He clearly didn't need Garfunkle around and was probably sick of having to give co-credit (and co-finances) to a guy who was basically an appendage with a silly name.

Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme has some classic songs (The opening track, Homeward Bound and "na na na na na na na Feeling Groovy") and it's fair share of less than inspirational filler. The mediocre tracks are actually a bit of a surprise when you look at their career. Sixties bands were notorious for cranking out albums at a furious pace. The Beatles managed two a year on average and Creedence once hurled three out in a single 12 month period. Sime and Garf managed less than one a year. You would expect their hit ratio to be slightly higher. But it's a minor quibble, when an album has Homeward Bound it seems churlish to complain because not all the songs are that good.

Influenced by: Dylan
Influenced: General acoustic ballardy

Highlight: Homeward Bound
Lowlight: 7 O clock news/Silent night (a statement where there should be a song)

Favourite Amazon Customer review quote: "Isn't it time that we all admit that some things from the sixties just don't age very well?"

-A fairly contentious quote to start a review with.

So you do think think Simon was a wise Sage or just a product of his Thyme? Let me know below.

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