Simon & Garfunkel ‎– Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme

Label:
Columbia ‎– CL 2563
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Vinyl, Mono, LP, Album
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Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 Scarborough Fair / Canticle
Written By – A. Garfunkel*, P. Simon*
3:13
A2 Patterns
Written By – P. Simon*
2:45
A3 Cloudy
Written By – P. Simon*
2:13
A4 Homeward Bound
Written By – P. Simon*
2:32
A5 The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine
Written By – P. Simon*
2:47
A6 The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Written By – P. Simon*
1:49
B1 The Dangling Conversation
Written By – P. Simon*
2:41
B2 Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall
Written By – P. Simon*
2:15
B3 A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamera'd Into Submission)
Written By – P. Simon*
2:15
B4 For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
Written By – P. Simon*
2:08
B5 A Poem On The Underground Wall
Written By – P. Simon*
1:59
B6 7 O'Clock News / Silent Night
Written By – P. Simon*
2:04

Credits

Notes

Album dedicated to Lenny Bruce.
Red original pressing "360 Sound" label design.

Side 1 (A) contains six tracks, including A4 "Homeward Bound" which wasn't present on the monaural <i>Sounds Of Silence</i> LP.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Other (Side A Cat#): 114871
  • Other (Side B Cat#): 114872

Other Versions (5 of 122) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
CS-10.068 Simon And Garfunkel* Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme(LP, Album, RE) Columbia CS-10.068 Venezuela 1971 Sell This Version
PC 9363 Simon & Garfunkel Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme(LP, Album, RE) Columbia PC 9363 US Unknown Sell This Version
SBP 233376 Simon And Garfunkel* Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme(LP, Album, RP) CBS SBP 233376 Australia 1981 Sell This Version
CS 9363 Simon And Garfunkel* Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme(LP, Album, RP) Columbia CS 9363 US 1972 Sell This Version
LJ-120.002 Simon And Garfunkel* Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme(LP, Album, RE) CBS LJ-120.002 Venezuela 1982 Sell This Version

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streetmouse

streetmouse

December 24, 2016
edited 7 months ago

With their first two albums, Wednesday Morning 3AM and Sounds Of Silence sharing material Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme was perhaps the most anticipated album of their career, where they were riding the folk wave, and deeply influencing the fledgling folk rock sound that would capture the hearts and minds of musicians and fans alike.  

The album was laced together tightly, and both well played and well produced, filled with songs of the times, songs that could be deeply introspective, sketchy and funny, political, and cutting.  It will take several listens before one can digest this album as a whole, and sadly, if you were not there during those days in 1966, much of what is expressed here will fly over your head, and that’s a sincere shame, because the reference points were in and of the moment, fleeting, and never again to shimmer as a reality.  Take the song “Poem On The Underground Wall,” where the protagonist is nearly hysterically defacing the subway system with graffiti, with but a four letter word, leaving the listener to wonder what that word was.  Of course then as now, most people would say that the word was ‘Fuck,’ though in reality the word was ‘Love,’ a word that during the heady days of the counter culture movement carried more weight than the sexual obscenity, as the word ‘Love’ smacked at the establishment in an act of willful change for the world and society.

“Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” was very Warhol-ish in nature, and a direct comment on the blatant advertising of the day that would instantly co-opt anything that even momentarily held people’s attention, meaning that one had better get it now, before supplies ran out, and you were the only one on the block without that useless item.  Of course there are the heady numbers such as “The Dangling Conversation,” a song that was so deep and profound that I often wondered what tragedy could have befallen these two minstrels to write such a song of detachment.  Of course there’s the bouncy hit single “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” that certainly inspired far too many kids to take up and leave home, headed for either NYC or San Francisco to find what they thought was missing in their lives.  The crowning touch to the album filters in as the conceptual last track, and a song I could never listen to more than once, “7 O’Clock News / Silent Night” where the war-torn news of the day is infused with the Christmas carol, with a juxtaposition that could literally bring tears to one’s eyes.  It is one of the darkest songs I’ve ever heard, though again, if you weren’t there then, then it is nearly impossible to grasp the scope and effect of this number.  

Intermixed with Dylan-ish references, the album beguiled and held the attention of nearly everyone who ever heard it, creating an atmosphere of venerability that did not inspire a sense of philosophical optimism … more, it show the dissociation and walls that were being raised in America between youth, their families, education, and equality.  So while Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme may hint at Peter, Paul & Mary, or even Joan Baez, it was light years beyond anything others had ever even considered.

Selfishly I would like to say to those who were not alive at this period in history, that this body of work is too sacred for you to aspire to, but that would be selfish of me, so I’ll implore you to please see the references found here, and apply them to the world situation today, as I fear we are on the verge of reliving all that we though we’d put behind us so many years ago.

*** And just for fun:  The title of the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, when connected to the song “Scarborough Fair” brings much to light.  Scarborough Faire was an actual agricultural and craftstmen fair, which originated in Medieval England in the mid 1200's. Merchants from all over Europe, Scandinavia and the Byzantine Empire traded and sold their goods at the 45 day event. Just as in modern times, there were food vendors, entertainment and curious pleasure-seekers. Fairs and harvest celebrations are a part of every culture and are as much a part of modern life as they were at the dawn of recorded history.  The singer is asking a friend who is attending the fair to seek out a girl who he was once romantically involved with and let her know he still has feelings for her.

These plants weren't chosen by the songwriter just because they rhyme well and have a pleasing cadence in the song, they have specific meanings that tell a deeper story than what is on the surface. This was a time when flowers and herbs were significant in the lives of medieval folk and they believed that they contained mystical properties that could influence emotions and feelings.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) as that sprig of green at the side of their plate when served a meal in a restaurant. Historically, parsley was thought to aid digestion and this custom of eating a few leaves with one's meal was thought to promote well-being. The song however alludes to a different meaning. Parsley was thought to remove bitterness and although medieval herbalists recommended it for a sour stomach, it was also thought to remove bad or bitter emotions. The singer wants to cleanse the bitter air between himself and his lost love.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) was a symbol of strength and wisdom according to Celtic tradition and was even associated with immortality. It was used medicinally long before it became a modern seasoning. Sage has drying properties and was used to treat chest congestion and its antiseptic compounds were used to bind wounds and treat snakebite. In the context of the song, it seems that the singer wants to offer strength and wisdom to his lady.

Rosemary (Rosmarinius officinalis) is also a modern culinary herb with ancient meanings beyond its seasoning properties. It is associated with love and fidelity, often used in Medieval times as part of a wedding bouquet or strewn on church floors during the nuptials. The strong scent lingers, so it was given as a token of remembrance between lovers. It is the singer's wish that his lady remember him with love and affection, possibly pleading with her that he will remain faithful this time around.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has a number of healing or medicinal properties and has been used for thousands of years to bind wounds and as an antiseptic. It was also a sign of love and courage and often a knight's lady would embroider thyme leaves on his cloak or tunic. The Greeks believed that thyme could reverse sad or melancholy feelings and it was sometimes used to boost confidence in stressful situations. Our singer wants his lady to have courage and be happy because he will eventually return to her.

The singer is trying hard to convince his lost love that if she will gather the strength and courage to see him again, to remember their happier times, he will eventually return to her.

Although the song was recorded as a modern pop number, the tune and lyrics, in several incarnations have been around since the Middle Ages … a journey into the past.

On the other hand there were many of us at the time who saw these spices or herbs, as referencing the profound herb of the day … marijuana.  Though I’m more than sure that with wiser eyes, that was no intended subversive meaning.

Review by Jenell Kesler