Essential Simon & Garfunkel [France Bonus Tracks]

by: Simon & Garfunkel

Essential Simon & Garfunkel was released to coincide with Simon & Garfunkel's 2003 reunion tour, this two-disc anthology is no less than the fifth multi-disc compilation of the duo to appear in the CD era. Viewed coldly, it's a mercenary exercise, squeezing yet more juice out of one of the most valuable catalogs in the business. If you happen to be starting from square one, though, it's an excellent package, with all 16 of their singles to reach the Top 100 (including the 1975 reunion hit, "My Little Town"). The other 17 tracks include some of their most beloved non-hits ("Richard Cory," "The 59th Street Bridge Song," "The Only Living Boy in New York") and eight live 1967-1969 performances, none of them found in studio counterparts on this compilation, though all are drawn from previously released albums or anthologies. Some listeners might find some of their secondary Simon & Garfunkel favorites missing; "Anji," "April Come She Will," "Patterns," and "Punky's Dilemma" are absent, for example. But it's a good option for that niche audience looking for something between a single-disc greatest-hits collection and a box set. [This French release of the album contains bonus material.] ~ Richie Unterberger

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