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Songs For The Asking
Wednesday Morning 3AM
Sounds of Silence
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Bridge Over Troubled Water
The Concert in Central Park
The Best Of
Live From New York City
Old Friends: Live on Stage
Paul Simon
Art Garfunkel
The Photo Album
Boxed Sets and Books
The Paul Simon Song Book
Old Friends: The Links

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; They're all that's left you
Bookends Theme - Paul Simon

Time it was, and what a time it was

Old Friends [click for larger image]

You know just how good an album is when the weakest song on it is the band's biggest single.
"Bookends" is Simon & Garfunkel, and 60's folk-rock, at their absolute best. While other bands were exploring complicted concepts and rock operas, S&G created a side-long song cycle about the simplest of ideas; growing up and growing old.
The album opens with a soft acoustic guitar line of the "Bookends Theme" which explodes into the psychedelic blast of "Save the Life of My Child", then fades into the glorious land and soul-searching ode "America". "Overs" deals with the subject of relationships reaching a stalemate, and "Old Friends" takes an elequent look at old age with beautiful vocals and melodies and stirring strings, and fades back into the original opening guitar line with ending coda "preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." Brilliant. And that's just the first half.
The second half, merely a collection of songs, is one of their stongest collections. The moderate hit "Fakin' It", the wry "Punky's Delemma", the rocking "A Hazy Shade of Winter" and the poppy Orwellian-with-a-twist "At the Zoo". The monster hit of "Mrs. Robinson" although brilliant in its own right, sounds almost out of place here, and ranks up as one of the weaker tracks.
The album covers a great deal of ground, musically and emotionally, and transports the listener...and does so in about a half an hour. Simon & Garfunkel do more with half an album than most bands can do with a full-length CD. At long last, this gem of an album is getting the credit it so deserves. This is (arguably) Simon & Garfunkel's greatest work as a duo, and perhaps one of the greatest albums of all time.
An essential album for anyone's collection

Bookends. February 1968

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