Solo From Garfunkel

By Peter J. Barsocclini
September 29, 1973

It's not a name one soon forgets: Garfunkel.

People thought it a good joke for a while, then began to respect the name upon realizing how well the kid could sing. But Art hasn't done much singing in the last few years, and people who haven't seen his movies might already have begun to forget the lad.

His acting career is a brief and not particularly distinguished subject. A bit in "Catch 22" and a fairly successful performance in "Carnal Knowledge."  But certainly nothing to close down the bars in Hollywood.

It is Arthur Garfunkel's voice that caused us to keep him in mind during those dry periods following his professional dissolution from Paul Simon.

Simon, the composer and self-proclaimed one man band, has delivered two very decent solo albums since the split, but Art's energies have gone elsewhere. But everybody knew, while his record company prayed, that Art would do a solo album soon enough. And this is it, Angel Clare (Columbia KG 31474).

It took Art over a year to put this one together, and the album evidences careful, precise, admirable production. The overall feel is just what one might anticipate from this singer: a fluid, melodic, pretty work, one that is eminently listenable.

Of course, the vocal parts are near perfect. Garfunkel always sings like he's in church. His choir-boy smoothness soothes the ear, allows the mind to accept his modes with ease.

The selection of tunes is, as my neighbor Commander Whitehead might suggest, curiously refreshing. 

A Paul Williams-Roger Nichols tune, one by Randy Newman, one based on J. S. Bach,  a pair by Jimmy Webb, and even a fascinating rendition of Osibisa's "Woyaya," which is quite a departure from the folk stuff Garfunkel grew famous for.

Listening to this album, it is not difficult to imagine Art wearing colorful Renaissance garb, singing before a great court audience, or as a precocious kid like the one who lip syncs the Romeo and Juliet theme in the movie. The ethereal pleasantries of the album speak of grander times than those embraced by pop fans.

The poster that comes with the album shows Garfunkel in a church, doing a session. This is a most appropriate enclosure for this LP. And since the meaning of the Angel Clare title is not readily apparent to this listener, it is possible to assume Art is summoning Clare in the church session.  Perhaps he is seeking divine guidance as to how he can uncurl his very curly hair, or perhaps he is apologizing for drooling over Ann Margret in "Carnal Knowledge." In any case, well done, Art. Amen.