Tuesday, January 05, 2016

On Simon and Garfunkel, from an old guy that was there...

On Simon and Garfunkel, from an old guy that was there:

Something sad there is contained in the harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel. Their sound is folkish, but they weren’t exactly folksingers because they performing new material written by Paul Simon .

The sadness of their harmonies and lyrics spoke to a sorrow that is in all of us, and it spoke to the times also.  President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.  “I am a rock, I am an island” speaks of the alienation of youth at the time.  This was still the silent generation in many ways. You were cool and silent and hopeless, beat as the beat writers maintained.

“Silence like a cancer grows.” And “Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson,” trapped inside a loveless upper middle class marriage. The song became an anthem in a my generation’s first generational film, “The Graduate.” No, we did not want to go to work in the plastics industry or end up in upper middle class marriages.”

Perhaps you have seen the movie and have seen Dustin Hoffman floating meaninglessly around in the parent’s backyard pool, wondering what to do with his life. “The nearer your destination, the more it keeps slip sliding away.”

Then more sadness: the dream team breaks up and things end inharmoniously. Paul Simon re-establishes himself firmly as a solo artist with the brilliant album Graceland. He has been through a divorce and is seeking answers taking a trip to the dead Elvis’ mansion. He is lost and sad, seeking a grace not yet found. The album takes a great leap into international music by including African sounds, but even with these new rhythms—a real break with the simple rhythms of folk—there is still sadness.  Ah but he is there for you, this singer, willing to lay himself down for you, like a bridge over troubled waters.

There are two sides to the American experience, the sad sorrowful side coming from our Puritan forefathers, and our optimistic side, coming from the revolutionary experience of establishing the first successful democracy since the Greeks. The sad side is often forgotten because, well, it takes great artistry to get us to listen to the sad. It’s much easier to get up there with Lucy in the sky with diamonds, or into the strawberry fields after a ride on the yellow submarine.  But a human who does not feel the sadness, the sorrow, is only half human—a mere bubble floating on the surface of the water of life.  Get yourself a glass of wine, listen to Simon and Garfunkel, get down deep and let the tears form in the corners of your eyes.

Chuck Taylor

Read about my dad here.

See the Songs of Simon with Marc Utter and Karen Mal at Tellers 607 Trinity Wednesday 6pm. RSVP here http://goo.gl/Om65CW
Watch show online here: http://goo.gl/xNZlrZhttp://goo.gl/xNZlrZ

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