- Album name: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
- Group name: Simon and Garfunkel
- Year: 1966
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Columbia Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics: “DEMONSTRATION / NOT FOR SALE” stamped on back of album
- Buy it on Amazon: $22.98
Level of familiarity before listening
I’m pretty sure that I’ve never listened to Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme before, but as I mentioned when I reviewed The Concert in Central Park a few months ago, I do know a decent amount of 1960s-era Simon and Garfunkel.
What I expected
Folk and folk rock with extensive use of vocal harmonies.
What it was actually like
I loved this record’s versions of the Simon and Garfunkel classics Scarborough Fair (though I’m not sure what they meant by “canticle” and why this pair of Ashkenazi Jews from Queens felt the need to superimpose so much Christian imagery on their essentially secular folk record) and Homeward Bound – the arrangements were very solid.
In general, of the songs that I didn’t previously recognize from The Graduate and such, I found them basically ok, if lacking in any pop-catchiness.
A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission) was definitely cute, and I do think they managed to capture and represent the essence of Bob Dylan, but I also think that it didn’t succeed as a Bob Dylan parody in the way that Rocky Raccoon did, because it was just too exaggerated. Dylan himself is so exaggerated that the right way to satirize him is with a bit of subtlety.
7 O’Clock News/Silent Night substantially detracted from the overall quality of the record, and I think that if Simon and Garfunkel wanted, for some reason, to record a Christmas carol, then they just should have done that and played it straight, rather than trying to make an awful and obnoxious point with the “7 O’Clock News” bit. I get that they were trying to be creative and clever, but it’s not like they invented juxtaposition.
4/5: would listen again
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