Getting asked to write a review on an Art Garfunkel album of my choice was an intriguing proposition to me. Having worked in record shops for the lions share of 14 years I realized I couldn't think of a single solo album he had done, or ever recall seeing one. Paul Simon, yes, think most people could visualise the cover to Graceland but other than the heart wrenching bright eyes, an emotive part of most peoples childhood of my vintage, I couldn't even muster up another hit.
I loved Simon and Garfunkel, still do. They were the soundtrack to my two years at college. E's were everywhere, house was massive and my fellow students were hitting the quad and other mad parties around the northwest. Not my scene (although over the years I have softened to the music).In the midst of all this a mate lent me a tape to copy of Bridge over Troubled Water. I loved it, was blown away and that Christmas I was bought a copy of their Greatest Hits (For some reason I never went beyond this and have always thought of them as a greatest hits kinda band, y'know the way you do with certain people, say like ABBA, Elvis etc). Having now updated to a CD, I still give this album time, it was probably my intro to folk music which is one of my great joys in life.
Back to Art.
A quick google search revealed he had a wealth of solo material and had had success with it too. I was surprised to find that Art wasn't a songwriter either, a poet and a singer yes, but rarely penned any of his own music.
As Bright Eyes was the only song I knew, this was going to be my starting point. Getting a little excited at the thought of discovering a lost treasure of dreamy street rock records I dove headlong into the 1979 album 'Fate for Breakfast'.
The album is definitely of its time. The 70s to me was the greatest decade of music. Innovative and eclectic, the music never stood still. Zeppelin, Sabbath, Bolan, Bowie, Iggy, Eno, Curtis, glam, disco, punk to name a few...... and to wrap the decade up along comes Art with his offering.
The album opens with a track called 'In a little While' which I had high hopes to start with, was itching to see it burst into a Doobie Brothers style epic, nope, I was left reaching for the bleach, didn't know whether to put it in me ears or drink it. A weak stylized instantly forgettable love song. Let's push on
'Since I don't have you'. Oh my. How to butcher a song by Art Garfunkel. A track that wouldn't sound out of place belted out by some precocious kid on X-factor or the like. This ain't going well Art lad, things can only get better.
Nope, they ain't.
'And I know' some kind of Air Supply mush. When's the folk coming mate. So far you're doing a Paul Mccartney impression, heartfelt love songs, only crap, and you never even wrote them.
'Sail On a rainbow' best ignored.
'Miss you nights'. Yes, get in, I know this one. Our Cliff had a big hit with this cracker. This is the first track on the album that showcases Arts sublime voice. It could have been a great Simon and Garfunkel record if recorded with the same gusto as bridge over troubled water. Art, however, never bothered and left himself being outdone by 'no-fan of the BBC' Cliff Richard.
'Bright Eyes'. I peak off this record. Maybe it's to do with the emotions stirred up as a kid watching Watership Down, maybe its the subject of animal death, maybe the songs crap, I don't know but I love it, always will, I've got it on 45 in the loft.
'Finally Found a Reason'. Thought this might be going somewhere, it never did.
'Beyond the Tears'. Had to skip it.
'Oh How Happy'. The first upbeat record on the album. I had hopes for this one, but oh how unhappy I was by the end of it. I've booked an appointment with the doctor to get my toes uncurled.
The next two tracks revert to form and I feel by writing about them you would think I was scathing for the sake of it. I'm not. I wanted to love this album. I honestly listened to it several times. I'm like that with music, it took me a long time to get Big Star, but it's not going to work with this. It feels lazy. It feels cheap. If I was around in the time I may have slightly warmed to it more but good music stands the test of time, this hasn't. I'm not sure who would listen to this now, I don't think albums like this are even made any more. (On a side note, it was a huge flop in the states and a huge success over here, don't know what that says).
I'll have a mooch through his other stuff but as for 'Fate for Breakfast' sorry Art - utter filth.
p.s. was that a line of lemo on the kitchen table on the album cover.