Art Garfunkel – Breakaway

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both sides are transparent, open, and spacious, with dramatically more life and energy than the typical pressing. The bottom end on this copy is surprisingly meaty as well, with far more punch than most of the pressings we played. 

The keyboards are full and rich, the guitars ring just right. This copy is killer in practically every way. You will be hard-pressed to imagine it sounding much better than it does here.

The problem with this album is that, for whatever reason, practically every copy you find is, to some degree, grainy, harsh and shrill in the loudest passages of the music. When the music gets loud, the sound often becomes strained and unpleasant. A copy like this one that doesn’t do that is the exception, not the rule.

Listen to the song ‘Disney Girls’ on side one. If you own the average pressing – odds are your copy is in fact quite average unless you went through a pile of copies and played them in order to find a good one – parts of that song will sound painfully hard and shrill, assuming your playing the record at the kinds of levels we do.

Which is the main reason I’ve never understand what qualified this record to be on the TAS Super Disc list. Now, having heard the best of the best copies sounding so big, rich and tubey, I can certainly say I hear what impressed HP (he likes that sound, as do we). It may indeed be a very well recorded album, but we feel it falls a bit short for our own Rock and Pop Top 100 List. (To be fair, as you know we play a lot of amazing albums around here.)

The Best Songs

The late Harry Pearson knew little about popular music and may have been more impressed by this album than those of us who play pop and rock albums by the boatload.

Most of the pop albums on his Super Disc TAS list are a joke. Only the people who listen almost exclusively to classical or jazz seem to take them seriously, in my experience anyway. (Check out the 12″ pop singles for a good laugh.)

That said, there are some wonderful songs on this album. Check out Break Away or 99 Miles From L.A. for some very good sounding, very well produced adult pop music. The version of Jobim’s Waters of March here is another high point.

Quiet Vinyl?

It’s nearly impossible to find quiet copies of this album. Columbia vinyl from the mid-’70s just ain’t very good, and this title seems to have even more problems than their other releases from 1975. We imagine that even if you found a sealed original and cracked it open yourself it would likely play no better than Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, and probably worse.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) 
Rag Doll 
Break Away
Disney Girls 
Waters of March

Side Two

My Little Town 
I Only Have Eyes for You 
Lookin’ for the Right One 
99 Miles from L.A. 
The Same Old Tears on a New Background

AMG Review

The second time around, Art Garfunkel turned to pop producer Richard Perry, who liked to record in studios rather than cathedrals and who replaced the angelic style of the first album with a lush pop approach. The result was Garfunkel’s best-selling album. The title track and a cover of “I Only Have Eyes for You” reached the Top 40 (the latter topped the U.K. charts), though the most prominent song was the Simon & Garfunkel reunion single “My Little Town.”