Simon & Garfunkel – The Complete Albums Collection (review)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Complete Albums Collection (Columbia / Legacy) review

Everything this talented, but volatile duo ever recorded – and then some

Simon & Garfunkel only released five studio albums. Yet, their work has been compiled many times.  The Complete Albums Collection isn’t even their first box set (there were at least two before it), but it is, by far, the most comprehensive, and the best.

What sets this new collection apart is that everything is left in it’s original form.  Instead of cramming two albums onto one CD (like the previous Collected Works box did), every album is presented as a separate disc, and includes replicas of the album sleeves.  This allows you focus on these great LPs, the way they were originally intended.  Their debut, Wednesday Morning, 3am features just Simon’s guitar as accompaniment, and is not indicative of their later work.  But, by the next record, The Sounds of Silence, the band had hit their stride.  There’s plenty of stellar album tracks on all the remaining records.

In addition to the five original LP’s, also included is the rather spotty, but hugely successful soundtrack to The Graduate.  Simon & Garfunkel’s contributions are scattershot.  And, the very dated, “lounge music” that’s mixed in, definitely makes for an intriguing listen.

But, the set doesn’t stop there.  It might seem strange to also include the Greatest Hits album – yet many of the tracks on that LP were live versions unique to that record.  Four live collections round out the set, these include two concerts recorded during the height of their popularity, the legendary reunion concert in Central Park, and Old Friends Live on Stage, a document of their recent touring.

Casual fans will do better to stick with a single-disc compilation.  But, any big fan of Simon & Garfunkel’s music should find a place in their collection for The Complete Albums Collection.  —Tony Peters