Art Garfunkel: The Singer

Art Garfunkel
The Singer
(Columbia/Legacy)

Whenever Art Garfunkel sang—whether as partner to Paul Simon, with another performer, or as a solo artist—he never tried to push or outshine. He simply was, and that has been his enduring strength in a career that has spanned nearly fifty years. His voice—pure, crystalline, ethereal, even wise—is celebrated in a Columbia/Legacy two-CD set entitled The Singer, which culls 34 of the Grammy-winning vocalist’s hand-picked songs.

From seven Simon & Garfunkel hits to American Songbook standards, collaborations with other recording artists like James Taylor and Amy Grant to obscure but memorable solo work, this compilation seamlessly weaves together sparkling moments from the singer’s remarkable career. And this singer can definitely sing. An added bonus is liner notes in his handwritten form, the annotations as unique, revealing, and perceptive as Garfunkel himself.

Highlights include “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her,” “Bright Eyes” (used in the animated film Watership Down), “The Decree” (from the tragically neglected Jimmy Webb holiday album The Animals’ Christmas), and re-imaginings of Broadway tunes “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” Two new 2012 recordings complete the package.

Garfunkel’s voice, especially on its own, is an acquired taste, “a certain thrill, the gift of glide, the ride on the cusp of emotion,” but it is a poetic talent worth tasting.

“There are songs where I am a shadow…the sound is lovely as long as the composite works,” Garfunkel has explained. This retrospective is proof that “the shadow knows.”