Simon and Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme - Review
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critics' view

The second long-play offering of ’66 from the duo arrived in October, and was widely acclaimed as their finest work to date. Unusually for folkies, they spent many months in the studio in an attempt to get the atmosphere “just so”. The results show the effort to be worthwhile; the respectful melding of the traditional folk template with a contemporary mid-60s vibe could hardly be any more perfect, and effortlessly veers between themes of love, war and social commentary. Side 1 is particularly stunning. The big single from earlier in the year, “Homeward Bound”, appears 4th track in. I love the feeling I get from this – it's semi-joyous, semi-wistful, but with an overall sense of something good that's on the horizon. Unfortunately, Paul Simon pours cold water on the whole affair – don't you just hate when that happens? From a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine: “That was written in Liverpool when I was traveling. What I like about that is that it has a very clear memory of Liverpool station and the streets of Liverpool and the club I played at and me at age 22. It's like a snapshot, a photograph of a long time ago. I like that about it but I don't like the song that much. First of all, it's not an original title. That's one of the main problems with it. It's been around forever. No, the early songs I can't say I really like them. But there's something naive and sweet-natured and I must say I like that about it. They're not angry. And that means that I wasn't angry or unhappy. And that's my memory of that time: it was just about idyllic.” It’s a perfect 10 all day long – what’s the matter with him? I think I'll give up reading interviews… This is immediately followed by the organ-led rockabilly jangler “The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” which sees Paul sneer at the vacuous and oft-banal world of consumerism. It’s most agreeable in every way. Side one’s triple whammy of excellence is cemented with “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” a feel-good 100-seconds shot of morning caffeine which exudes chilldom with it’s simple message “slow down, you move too fast” to a pseudo-jazzy backdrop which features Dave Brubeck Quartet members Joe Morello (drums) and Eugene Wright (bass). “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” is the smell of coffee percolating to perfection. And that’s timeless…

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