October 26, 2013

101 Reel-To-Reel Tapes 12: Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

reel-to-reel tape box front
cover photo by Peter Powell
cover design by Tony Lane
photo of tape box front by Styrous®

In addition to my vinyl collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes I'm selling. This is an entry about one of them that was for sale on eBay (see link below for others). I have the vinyl LP version as well. Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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To me, this is the best of the five albums recorded by the two musicians. So many of the songs are truly "classics" and brilliantly written. The title song is beautiful, even reverent. It conveys the feeling of elation at having surmounted difficult times or situations; it gives hope to future times of despair. It inspires.

El Condor Pasa was a real eye-opener for me. I had only been familiar with the song from a recording of Peruvian music performed on the Peruvian flute. I remember when I heard it for the first time, I was astounded! It was the second time I'd heard a traditional work of music reworked to fit modern taste  (see: Van Cliburn & Sputnik), although it did not rock out (it retains it's original ethnic sound) it was extremely well done.

The Boxer held special significance for me. My father had fought in the Golden Gloves amateur boxing competitions in Chicago in the '30's before I was born. He was 4' 11', so he was in the bantam weight division (actually, he was a feisty bantam his entire life). The song mirrors the history of my father's early life; his coming to America as a poor boy to seek his fortune, his loneliness, his fears and his poverty. It magnificently evokes the intense feeling of a boxer being alone with two other men, one fiercely determined to physically defeat him, in the boxing ring. It is quietly reminiscent of a long ago time with occasional, sensational moments of drama with incredible, quiet and echoey 'shots' (?), perhaps representing the punches of the boxers. Boxer and Condor will always be my favorite cuts from the album and the two of them on my all-time greats list.

Cecilia! What can I say of Cecilia? It is so joyously happy. It wonderfully communicates the feeling of utter joy after having done something wrong and losing the one you love, then to have it reversed and having the loved one return. It's bouncy beat and hand clapping makes it impossible for you not to get up and dance; I never get tired of listening to it.

Near the bottom of this post there are links to the songs mentioned on YouTube so you can hear them for yourself, if you'd like.  

There is a joke about Art Garfunkel's "moustache" on the album cover photograph by Peter Powell (a word of warning, one of the comments on the blog is PG rated).  The moustache link.

reel-to-reel tape box front detail
cover design by Tony Lane
cover photo by Peter Powell
detail photo by Styrous®

Simon & Garfunkel
Bridge Over Troubled Water
reel-to-reel tape box back
cover design by Tony Lane
back cover photo by Abbot Mills
photo of tape box back by Styrous®
photo by Abbot Mills
detail photo by Styrous®

detail of photo by Abbot Mills
detail photo by Styrous®

songs and credits
photo by Styrous®

The interior of the box for the reel-to-reel has the lyrics and liner notes on a paper attached to each side of the interior of the box.

lyrics and liner notes on both sides of the interior of the box.
photo by Styrous®

lyrics detail photo by Styrous®

lyrics & liner notes
detail photo by Styrous®

reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

 reel-to-reel label detail
detail photo by Styrous®


All songs written and composed by Paul Simon except where noted.   

Side one   
1. Bridge over Troubled Water - 4:52
2. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) 

             (Daniel Alomía Robles, English lyrics by Paul Simon, 
                     arranged by Jorge Milchberg) - 3:06
3. Cecilia
- 2:55
4. Keep the Customer Satisfied
- 2:33
5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
- 3:41

Side two   
6. The Boxer
- 5:08
7. Baby Driver
- 3:14
8. The Only Living Boy in New York
- 3:58
9. Why Don't You Write Me
- 2:45
10. Bye Bye Love (live recording from Ames, Iowa) 

                  (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) - 2:55
11. Song for the Asking
- 1:49


Paul Simon – lead vocals, guitar
Art Garfunkel – lead vocals
Los Incas – Peruvian instruments
Joe Osborn – bass guitar
Larry Knechtel – piano

Fred Carter, Jr. – guitar
Peter Drake – Dobro, pedal steel guitar

Hal Blaine – drums
Jimmie Haskell and Ernie Freeman – strings
John Faddis, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff & Alan Rubin  - brass

Music links:

The Boxer on YouTube
Cecelia on YouTube
Bridge over Troubled Water on YouTube
El Condor Pasa on YouTube

Simon & Garfunkel discography

Other reel-to-reel listings on eBay

more reel-to-reel tapes on the Styrous® Viewfinder:
                                             reel-to-reel tape archive


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