Ever since I was in my late teens I’ve been a sucker for Simon & Garfunkel’s music. I watched their “Concert in Central Park” on HBO in 1981 and completely feel in love with all things Simon and Garfunkel and made it a mission to track down all of their music.
I of course had heard their hits – “Sound of Silence”, “Homeward Bound” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to name just a few – but after seeing their reunion concert (and buying the double album that was released from it) I wanted to explore some of their full length albums.
The first Simon & Garfunkel collection I bought was a five album vinyl set called “The Simon and Garfunkel Collected Works” which I believe came in a purple covered box and if my memory serves also came out in 1981.
It consisted of their main five studio albums including my two favorites “Bookends” and the “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” album.
Today I’m going to take a look a the most recent reissue of the “Parsley, Sage,Rosemary and Thyme” album that the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs label released just a few weeks ago on SACD.
(Note: The SACD format, which I’ve written about before, is what’s called a Super Audio CD which is a HiRes format for music with a higher resolution than normal CDs. You have to have an SACD player to get the Super Audio sound but most SACDs nowadays also have a normal CD layer that will be compatible with any CD player)
Now, to be perfectly honest I own the “Parsley” album on CD in a few different versions – the original Columbia CD, the 2001 remix on CD, the Audio Fidelity label’s gold CD as well as the most recent Columbia reissue from 2014.
While all of these CD issues sound good, the best is a close race between the Audio Fidelity gold CD issue and the 2014 Columbia issue. Most days I’d go with the 2014 CD as it just sounds a bit smoother and livelier than the Audio Fidelity CD but both are really nice.
This new 2014 SACD version is taken from the same source as the 2014 CD so I was anxious to hear how it compared sound wise.
Apparently the 2014 Columbia CD was taken from a duplicate master from Japan which is very close in sound to the original master from 1966 when the album was released.
The original master tape from this album was worn out by Columbia Records’ practice of mastering their various vinyl pressings from original master tapes as opposed to making copy tapes to press records as most other labels did in those days which of course wore out the original master (and best sounding source).
Anyway, with a bit of trepidation (yes, even I thought I needed another copy of this album on CD like a hole in the head!) I ordered the limited edition SACD and plopped it into my CD player.
First off I listened to the regular CD layer which is compatible with any CD player and found the CD sounded really nice – much like the 2014 CD pressing which I love. Practically just as nice sounding and hard to tell a difference.
Next I played the SACD layer and that’s where there was a slight improvement in sound – tighter bass, cleaner stereo separation and the vocals sounded a bit better. Now I’m not going to say it’s night and day better than the 2014 CD pressing but to me it did sound better and in fact is probably the best version I own of this album in digital form.
Is it worth the $35 for the slight upgrade in sound? Well that depends on how nuts you are about Simon and Garfunkel or this album or how nuts you are in general about music or collecting music.
As you may well know by now I’m nuts about music and collecting music so to me this CD is worth the upgrade.
You can see pictures of the new SACD above – lovely package, MFSL does a great job with all their products – and ponder if you’d like to take a chance on a truly lovely sounding version of this album on CD.
Of course these days I feel pretty much isolated, except online, in my love for CDs and physical media. Most everyone I know streams and has no need for anything physical when it comes to music and only care for what they can get on their phone.
BUT if you’re so inclined to wade into the CD world this SACD is really worth giving a try. Feast your eyes above if you need something to motivate you to hunt this CD down.
Until next time be well and enjoy the early December pre-Christmas buzz.