Simon & Garfunkel

Two Can Dream Alone

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Two Can Dream Alone Review

by William Ruhlmann

As a duo and as solo singers, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel released more than a dozen singles under various pseudonyms between the fall of 1957, when the two 16-year-olds made their recording debut as Tom & Jerry with the chart entry "Hey, Schoolgirl," and the release of their major label debut as Simon & Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., seven years later. At 21 tracks, this British compilation presents the most complete collection of that material yet released legitimately, though songs from eight singles are missing, not to mention the work Simon did in groups like Tico & the Triumphs. Due to legal complications, a "comprehensive round-up of early Paul Simon miscellany would be impossible," writes annotator Sean Egan. Indeed, given Simon's tendency to suppress parts of his career he prefers not to remember, from the 1965 solo album The Paul Simon Songbook to the 1998 original Broadway cast album for The Capeman, it's amazing that Two Can Dream Alone exists at all. The first thing to note about it, of course, is that the music bears little resemblance to Simon & Garfunkel's folk-rock recordings of 1964-1970. "Hey, Schoolgirl," originally released on Big Records, is in an Everly Brothers/Buddy Holly mold, and the duo's unsuccessful follow-ups, "Our Song" and "That's My Story," are in that style, too, while Simon's first solo single, "True or False," released under the name True Taylor, finds him aping the hiccupping rockabilly sound of Holly and Elvis Presley. The failure of the later Tom & Jerry singles led the two to split up, with Simon retaining the name Jerry Landis and Garfunkel recording as Artie Garr. By the end of the '50s, both had moved toward a soft rock/teen pop style, in keeping with the softening of rock & roll in the era. On songs like "Shy" and "Just a Boy," released on either side of a Warwick Records single in 1960, Simon clearly was aspiring to be another Frankie Avalon, and listeners are fortunate that he didn't make it. In keeping with the more gimmicky sound of the early '60s, he moved on to up-tempo novelties like "The Lone Teen Ranger," which actually made the charts in early 1963. But then Simon discovered the folk boom, and his writing and performing style changed drastically. The material on this album is likely to fascinate as well as flabbergast fans of Simon & Garfunkel's later recordings. No small part of the fascination will be that Garfunkel wrote a lot of this material as well as singing it, since he dropped out of songwriting later on. It should be noted, too, that some of this material is of questionable origin. "I Love You (Oh Yes I Do)" and "A Soldier & a Song," neither of which seem to have been released before, don't sound like Garfunkel, though he is credited as the singer. And there are two instrumentals, "Tia-Juana Blues" and the jazzy "Simon Says," that first appeared on records released in 1966 in the wake of Simon & Garfunkel's commercial breakthrough and are probably more the work of Simon's father, Louis Simon, than the duo. It would be nice to have a complete collection of Simon & Garfunkel's juvenilia sequenced in chronological order, but this partial selection may be the best to be expected, and the duo's fans may enjoy hearing their youthful efforts, as long as they don't buy it expecting work of the caliber of "The Sound of Silence."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Simon & Garfunkel 02:21 Amazon
2 Simon & Garfunkel 02:08 Amazon
3 Simon & Garfunkel 02:10 Amazon
4 Simon & Garfunkel 02:30 Amazon
5 Simon & Garfunkel 02:10 Amazon
6 Simon & Garfunkel 02:19 Amazon
7 Simon & Garfunkel 02:09 Amazon
8 Simon & Garfunkel 02:22 Amazon
Simon & Garfunkel 02:30 Amazon
10 Simon & Garfunkel 02:43 Amazon
11 Simon & Garfunkel 02:21 Amazon
12 Simon & Garfunkel 02:16 Amazon
13 Simon & Garfunkel feat: Tom & Jerry 01:57 Amazon
14 Simon & Garfunkel feat: Tom & Jerry 02:29 Amazon
15 Simon & Garfunkel 02:47 Amazon
16 Simon & Garfunkel 02:29 Amazon
17 Simon & Garfunkel feat: Tom & Jerry 02:20 Amazon
18 Simon & Garfunkel feat: Tom & Jerry 02:02 Amazon
19 Simon & Garfunkel feat: Tom & Jerry 02:23 Amazon
20 Simon & Garfunkel 02:12 Amazon
21 Simon & Garfunkel 02:30 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick