Entertainment Music

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Garfunkel comes to fore to sing

John Meagher

John Meagher

Art Garfunkel

The Singer

(Sony)

HHHHI

Art Garfunkel appears to have played second fiddle to Paul Simon all his life. The duo weren't known by the alphabetically ordered Garfunkel & Simon, because it was Paul rather than Art who wrote the songs. Simon often took lead vocals, while Garfunkel handled many of the arrangements.

Garfunkel's solo work falls well short of his former bandmate's too, not least because he was interpreting the songs of others, while Simon was carving his own legend as a singer-songwriter.

Art certainly has nothing to match Simon's Graceland in his back catalogue.

But the 70-year-old deserves greater acclaim, especially as his vocals helped elevate Simon & Garfunkel above the folk pretenders of the day.

That voice helped paper over the cracks of Simon's own vocal limitations -- and his wonderfully expressive singing has, largely, retained its potency in the 40 or so years since S&G called it a day.

This collection, as its title makes clear, attempts to showcase Garfunkel's greatest gift and the 34 self-chosen tracks cover almost 50 years of recorded music.

While there are a handful of hammy songs from recent years that do his reputation no good whatsoever, for the most part Garfunkel's choices for the album are impeccable.

Listen with fresh ears to the beauty of his voice on such evergreen standards as The Sound of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water and marvel how his crystal clear vocals takes the mystical Scarborough Fair beyond the sort of run-of-the-mill hippy ditties of the late 1960s.

From his solo years, his sublimely delicate take on the Beach Boys' Disney Girls manages to retain its charm after all these years and his spirited rendition of Jimmy Webb's Skywriter reveals a voice with more heft and power than he has been credit for.

KEY TRACKS Bridge Over Troubled Water; Disney Girls

Day & Night

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