Back until a month ago, my all-time favorite record used to be Metallica’s «Ride The Lightning». Furthermore, I usually listen to such bands as Children of Bodom or AC/DC. But then along came one record that totally changed my perception.
I was at a megastore with my mum when she comes up with this record she used to listen to when she was a teenager. I looked at it - Simon and Garfunkel. I used to like Art Garfunkel when I was a kid, and I had totally flipped out over Nevermore’s cover of Sounds of Silence
, so it was definitely worth a listen. When I did hear it, it blew my mind. The music that was coming out of my speakers was so innocently joyous, so openly optimistic that I couldn’t help but be captivated. And that was only track one of fifteen.
Simon and Garfunkel started their career at the age of 15, under the moniker Tom and Jerry. They achieved a couple of hits, but in no way stood out from the horde of Bible-influenced folk singers populating America at the time. So in 1964, they decided to adopt their real names and release their debut album, Wednesday Morning 3 AM
. Using little more than a couple of guitars and two perfectly synchronized voices, they succeeded in creating one of the best albums I had the privilege of listening to.
Apart from the opening, joyous blast of You Can Tell The World
, this album has plenty of other standouts. More notable are the songs written by Paul Simon: the elaborate Bleecker Street
, the delightful fable Sparrow
, and of course the amazing lyrics of Sounds of Silence
, presented here in its rawest, purest form. Then, there’s the social awareness of He Was My Brother
and Times They Are A-Changin’
(a Dylan cover). From the American Songbook selections, the aforementioned You Can Tell The World
and the equally joyous Go Tell It On The Mountain
deserve special praise. As for Peggy-O
, despite the strange choice of rhyming, it's a really infectious little track that also makes the cut into the noteworthy group. However, one could say almost all the tracks are noteworthy: this is an effort that should be considered as a whole, not by its individual songs. They all flow together so efortlessly, that it's actually like listening to a single extended piece. A bit like a mini-opera, if you get my drift.
But perhaps the duo's biggest achievement is pulling off such an album using only two acoustic guitars and sometimes an acoustic bass. A violin also intervenes in Benedictus
, but that's a one-off. This is an all-acoustic album and that's how it should stay.
So, when all is said and done, this would appear to be the perfect album. Well, is it? Not quite, but it doesn’t miss the target by much. There are a couple of blander moments, particularly the excessively slow rendition of church piece Benedictus
and the slightly boring, nondescript The Sun Is Burning
. But the sheer class of the other songs more than makes up for them, turning this into an unmissable record. Whether you like metal, punk, grindcore, rock, teen-pop or techno – listen to it. You won’t regret it a bit.