While it’s customary for best-of collections to add a recent song or two to freshen the brew, rarely has one offered so fresh and important a track as The Sound of Silence leading off Paul Simon’s two-disc, 32-song Songwriter collection.
Recorded in concert in June, it’s a stirring voice-and-guitar performance of his Simon & Garfunkel classic from the ’60s — which was virtually the theme song of landmark film The Graduate. And it kicks off this career-spanning set with a vibrancy that trumps any sense of this being a warmed-over array of familiar songs.
The remaining tracks Simon chose from throughout his solo and S&G career — speaking of which, he provides not the duo’s performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water, but Aretha Franklin’s, and not the duo’s The Boxer, but his own live version from Central Park. Sorry, Artie.
The other songs are from the 12-time Grammy winner’s many solo albums, ranging from obvious hits (Still Crazy After All These Years, Late in the Evening, Kodachrome) to astutely chosen album tracks, one of the best being the moving and beautifully melodic Peace Like a River from his first, self-titled solo LP. (more…)