Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

Simon & Garfunkel

Columbia Records, 1966

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


The grand and organically titled Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme is a rich and often stunning listen. With producer Bob Johnston onboard for a second go-round, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were obviously shooting for a lot more than their usual acoustic fare. While hurriedly walking down the street one chilly autumn day, the popular refrain, “Slow down / you move too fast, you got to make this morning last,” from “The 59th Street Bridge Song” was bopping through my mind. It was at that moment that I decided to give its parent album another spin. Little did I know just how much else I had been missing out on.

Starting off with the dreamy “Scarborough Fair,” the entrancing and hypnotic mood for the overall album is set in place. The Byzantine melody and hushed vocals help the track to positively sparkle. It will instantly bring back magical memories of your childhood the first time you hear it. We then pick up the pace and add some unsettling heavy percussion on “Patterns” before settling back into a more comfortable groove for “Cloudy.” This was the point of the record where I wish I could find the nearest patch of grass, lie down and gaze up at the clouds in the sky. Such peaceful reverie! This is music our busied souls need to hear more of these days.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Breaking up the next familiar section of hit S&G songs is the delightful surprise of “The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine.” Filled with fun poetry and a carefree sense of whimsy, this is more stuff that children’s stories and fairy tales are made of. Such material is childlike in the best sense of the word, and the complex lyrics help each one to be even more mature than the last. Trying on grown-ups’ clothes for a jarring change of pace is the odd, Dylanesque piece “A Simple Desultory Philippic,” where the subject of marijuana use is disguised as “having tea.” Not sure such adult subject matter belongs for an album largely about innocence, but at least it shows off the duo’s range and proves they can rock out when it is required of them.

The gentle yet potent “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” is more suited for the style they are most known for and rightfully so. With their incredible harmonies, these two young New Yorkers really didn’t need much more than just a guitar or piano to sing to in order to effectively move listeners to tears. The closing tune “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night” is especially heartbreaking. An ironic statement such as this is as timely as ever, proving just how much things go in cycles when it comes to current events.

All Enneagram Type 4’s should run -- not walk -- to their nearest CD shop and seek Parsley, Sage out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.