After Sounds of Silence was released in January of 1966, Simon and Garfunkel released Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme in October of that year. The album continues the trend of including tracks originally released on Simon’s solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook. “Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall” receives added harmonies and “A Simple Desultory Phillippic” is a much better take of the song. Whereas the solo version sounded like a harsh, angry parody of Bob Dylan; this newly recorded version sounds like a fun celebration.
A few of the tracks here would later appear on 1972’s Greatest Hits album including the classic first track “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” which melds the traditional folk tune to Simon’s “The Side of a Hill”. “Homeward Bound” was the next single released after the “The Sound of Silence” and was a top 5 hit in the US. This simple track was written in Liverpool when Simon was travelling around the UK and includes the cynical lyric that “all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity”.
“The 59th St Bridge Song” joy and cheerfulness has lived on in pop culture even making an appearance on the Simpsons nearly 30 years later. Set only to an acoustic guitar, the Art Garfunkel lead “For Emily Whenever I May Find Her” is a beautiful track of walking the streets and “tripping down the alleyways”. “Cloudy” was written with Bruce Woodley of The Seekers, a dreamy track about watching the clouds roll by. The harsher side of life is examined on “The Dangling Conversation” where a woman reads her Emily Dickinson and the man reads Robert Frost while their relationship crumbles.
Clocking in at less than 30 minutes, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is like an extension of Sounds of Silence. It doesn’t grow the duo by leaps and bounds but is a smidge better and more successful. Interestingly, many of the tracks that were later included on the Greatest Hits appear in live versions that add even more warmth to the originals. Several of the elements are already in place here for when Simon & Garfunkel release their next two critically lauded studio albums.