There is little left to say about the career of Paul Simon. He was one-half of the legendary duo of Simon & Garfunkel, plus his solo career has resulted in dozens of hit albums and singles. Throw in eight Grammy Awards, two inductions into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, induction into the American Academy Of Arts And Sciences, 39 BMI Awards, named in 2006 by Time Magazine as “100 People Who Shaped The World,” and a Kennedy Center Honors recipient and you have one of the most famous and respected figures in American music.
Now Legacy Records has released Paul Simon – The Complete Albums Collection, which is a 15-disc box set containing his 12 studio and two live concert albums. They cover his entire solo career from 1965’s The Paul Simon Songbook to 2011’s So Beautiful, Or So What.
Coinciding with the box set release is a one disc compilation titled Over The Bridge Of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective (1964-2011). While all the material has been available on a number of occasions, it is the first time that Simon & Garfunkel material has been combined with his better known solo work. The songs are sequenced chronologically beginning with Simon & Garfunkel’s first hit, “Sounds Of Silence” and ending with the recent “Love And Hard Times.”
There is nothing new here but the 20 tracks are a wonderful ride through his career. “The Boxer,” “Cecelia,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” set up such well-known solo songs as “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard,” “50 Way To Leave Your Lover,” “Slip Slidin’ Away,” “Late In The Evening,” and “You Can Call Me Al.”
Each of the songs stands on their own but they also make you yearn for more. Simon’s career is filled with well-known and not so famous material and to really appreciate his genius, it is necessary to dig deep into his catalogue of albums.
Still, Over The Bridge Of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective (1964-2011) serves the purpose of whetting the appetite with many of the definitive songs of the last half century. It presents Paul Simon at his most memorable.