Simon & Garfunkel

I rarely find a boxed set interesting enough to make me want to shell out the big bucks. I don’t really care about all those previously unreleased tracks, ungainly packaging, and special-edition booklets full of liner notes and retrospective analyses by folks previously unknown to me. But, the opportunity to listen to Simon & Garfunkel’s Columbia catalog without a single pop or hiss in a convenient package was pretty compelling and not even that prohibitively expensive.

This box set contains five disks, consistent with the original LPs, each including a few bonus tracks recorded during the same sessions that birthed the albums.

Though the albums have been digitally remastered, they evoke the phonographic “360-degree” sound most people remember when they think of this New York duo’s folk rock. There’s no danger of confusing this collection with modern-day recordings. But the messages are timeless, from the original acoustic “Sound of Silence” to the melodramatic “Only Living Boy in New York.” I reminisced over my favorite disc, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, and the song “7 O’clock News/Silent Night,” with its overlaid radio news report about Richard Speck and the Vietnam War, gave me chills in junior high but now seems sadly overshadowed by our current headlines.

Stick these discs in a CD changer and sit back by the fire for an evening of lilting harmony and clever turns of phrase by a couple of America’s "Old Friends."