“Sherman, set the Way Back machine for New York City, 1967. I want to go to a concert.” This new release from Columbia Legacy beats Mr. Peabody’s infernal device by a mile. Recorded at Lincoln Center in January of ’67, Live from New York City sounds as fresh today as it did 33 years ago.
Seventeen selections, including such well-known songs as “Homeward Bound,” “A Most Peculiar Man,” and “59th Street Bridge Song,” join more obscure titles “For Emily, Whenever I Find Her,” “Sparrow,” “Benedictus,” and others to make up the 58:23 set. Song introductions and banter fill the spaces, but stage patter is minimal, as befits S&G’s serious pop-art folk music demeanor.
Accompanied by Paul Simon’s lone guitar, the duo’s signature dual leads possess a simple power. Their two voices coupled with Simon’s virtuosic guitar work is really all the arrangement these songs need.
Originally recorded on 1/2″ four-track analog tape, then transferred to digital, reissue producer Bob Irwin changed nothing. The final result is much like a good black and white photograph – simple, compelling, and unadorned. Except for a bit of tape flutter, which you can hear primarily on the guitar parts, the sound preserves the immediacy and intimacy of the event. With Simon panned to the right, Garfunkel panned left, and the guitar part dead center, the natural soundstage has a seductively palpable verisimilitude.
Live from New York City , 1967 should appeal to hardcore Simon and Garfunkel fans and anyone who would like just one S&G album containing their most famous songs. Simple and direct, it’s a musical flashback that makes time travel a satisfying reality.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.