The U.K. Vocalion label has become a reliable source for SACD reissues of classic quadraphonic surround albums from pop, country, and jazz artists as diverse as Chet Atkins, Lynn Anderson, Percy Faith, Ray Conniff, Perry Como, Return to Forever, Eumir Deodato, and Henry Mancini. A new addition to Vocalion’s quad library is legendary singer Art Garfunkel. His first two solo albums, 1973’s Angel Clare and 1975’s Breakaway, have just been reissued by Vocalion on hybrid SACD. The discs’ stereo (2.0 channel) layer will play on any standard CD player while the high-resolution stereo and surround (4.0 layer) layers will play on any SACD-compatible player. (A surround-sound system is, naturally, required to properly hear the quadraphonic mix!)
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel called it quits following the release of 1970’s epochal Bridge Over Troubled Water, but Garfunkel had already begun a second career as an actor, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Mike Nichols’ 1971 film Carnal Knowledge. Nichols, of course, had directed The Graduate, featuring Simon and Garfunkel’s evocative score. Garfunkel returned to Columbia Records in 1973 for his solo debut, Angel Clare. A haunting and altogether beautiful album, Angel Clare was co-produced by Garfunkel and S&G’s longtime associate Roy Halee, and featured a core of musicians drawn from the L.A. Wrecking Crew (Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Louie Shelton, Tommy Tedesco, and Joe Osborn). Jerry Garcia, J.J. Cale, and even Paul Simon all contributed guitar. It included two songs from the pen of Jimmy Webb, including the gentle “Another Lullaby” and truly majestic “All I Know.” Allowing Garfunkel to scale the same vocal heights as “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “All I Know” became the solo artist’s first hit single (No. 9 Pop/No. 1 AC). The stately, folk-inspired Angel Clare peaked at No. 5, and also featured Garfunkel’s stellar interpretations of classic compositions by such luminaries as Randy Newman (“Old Man”), Van Morrison (“I Shall Sing”), and the team of Paul Williams and Roger Nichols (“Traveling Boy”). The quad mix of Angel Clare was no throwaway or afterthought; it was mixed by Roy Halee immediately after the stereo mixes.
The singer followed up Angel Clare in 1975 with Breakaway. Producer Richard Perry traded the delicate vibe of Angel Clare for an earthier, big-budget L.A. pop sound still anchored by Garfunkel’s ethereal voice. The Wrecking Crew was back, as well as members of The Section, Little Feat, L.A. Express, The Plastic Ono Band, The Beach Boys, and David Crosby and Graham Nash. Breakaway yielded three top 40 hits, all of which became Adult Contemporary chart-toppers: the infectious Gallagher and Lyle-penned title track, a revival of the Harry Warren/Al Dubin standard “I Only Have Eyes for You” and the darkly-tinged Simon and Garfunkel duet “My Little Town” (included simultaneously on Paul’s album Still Crazy After All These Years). The album’s other tracks were equally impressive, such as Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright’s “I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever),” the evocative Hal David/Albert Hammond road song “99 Miles from L.A.,” a ravishing version of Bruce Johnston’s nostalgic “Disney Girls,” and a beautiful reading of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Waters of March.” Garfunkel’s second consecutive top ten album, Breakaway was destined for quad – much like Perry’s productions for Ringo Starr, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, and Harry Nilsson. It was mixed into the format by the producer’s close collaborator Bill Schnee, with whom he had been working since 1971. Unfortunately, by the time of the quad release in January 1976, Columbia was phasing out the format entirely. By May of the following year, quad was officially dead at the label, and in 1978, all titles would be deleted.
These discs mark Garfunkel’s solo debut on high-resolution SACD. Both the stereo and quad mixes have been remastered from the original tapes by Vocalion’s Michael J. Dutton. The quad mixes are uniformly impressive and immersive for both titles (with the notable exception of “My Little Town,” likely handled by another engineer). David Zimmermann has written new liner notes for both releases, as well. Angel Clare and Breakaway can be ordered directly from Vocalion, via Amazon, at the links below!
- Traveling Boy
- Down in the Willow Garden
- I Shall Sing
- Old Man
- Feuilles-Oh/Do Space Men Pass Dead Souls on Their Way to the Moon?
- All I Know
- Mary Was an Only Child
- Barbara Allen
- Another Lullaby
- I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)
- Rag Doll
- Disney Girls
- Waters of March
- My Little Town – Simon & Garfunkel
- I Only Have Eyes for You
- Looking for the Right One
- 99 Miles from L.A.
- The Same Old Tears on a New Background