Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is the third studio album by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel.Simon & Garfunkel were given four months to record the album, which allowed the duo considerable freedom in terms of creativity. The studio time for Parsley caused its budget to increase into an unusual cost for albums at that time—around $30,000 (US$239,292 in 2020 dollars), Simon speculated.Garfunkel considered the recording of "Scarborough Fair" to be the moment the duo stepped into the role of producer because they were constantly beside Roy Halee mixing the track.Three songs on the album—"Patterns", "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall", and "A Simple Desultory Philippic"—also appear on Simon's first solo effort, The Paul Simon Songbook ("Canticle", the second half of opening ballad "Scarborough Fair", is also culled from another song on the record, "The Side of a Hill")."Scarborough Fair", the title track, a traditional ballad, combines "fingerpicked guitar accompaniment, delicate chimes, harpsichord embellishments, and the vocal blend"."Homeward Bound" carries a sense of melancholia, which biographer Marc Eliot attributed to an "echo of longing" that had resurfaced during the recording process over the failed relationship with Kathy Chitty."The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" is a "satirical appropriation of an electric, organ-heavy psychedelic rock style," in which the singer complains of various woes in his life, which can be "readily eased" by purchasing the titular device."The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" is a brief vignette "made up of variations on a two-bar ostinato figure," in which the protagonist goes about a carefree morning."A Simple Desultory Philippic" is a "satirical rant about the singer's confrontations with a wide variety of pop-culture personalities and phenomena". While other songs, such as "The Sound of Silence", had taken months for Simon to complete writing, others, such as "For Emily", were written in a single night. "A Poem on the Underground Wall" largely revolves around a man creating graffiti on a sign in a subway station, with Simon also bringing into play "a variety of visceral and religious images"."The result rather bluntly makes an ironic commentary on various social ills by juxtaposing them with tenderly expressed Christmas sentiments."."Artie is sprawled in jeans and a royal blue sweater, while Paul rises just behind, the modern poet-troubadour clad in cambric and shadow," wrote Peter Ames Carlin in Simon's biography, Homeward Bound.Worse, according to Peter Ames Carlin, "it credited Paul and Artie as coauthors, as if the centuries-old tune had emerged entirely from their imaginations.".After issuing several singles and receiving sold-out college campus shows, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was released by Columbia Records on October 24, 1966.The duo resumed their trek on the college circuit eleven days following the release, crafting an image that was described as "alienated", "weird", and "poetic".Manager Mort Lewis also was largely responsible for this public perception, as he withheld them from television appearances (unless they were allowed to play an uninterrupted set or choose the setlist).Bruce Eder of AllMusic called it the duo's "first masterpiece", one that regarded "youthful exuberance and alienation, [proving] perennially popular among older, more thoughtful high-school students and legions of college audiences across generations." Andy Fyfe of BBC Music wrote in 2009 that he felt the record carried a sense of timelessness, calling its "boldest themes [...] still worryingly pertinent today," while remarking that the record as a whole "reflected the social upheaval of the mid-60s while playing as substantial a part in folk rock's evolution. Disc jockey and author Pete Fornatale wrote that "Few others have come close to the intelligence, beauty, variety, creativity, and craftsmanship that Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme captured.".Paul Simon – vocals, guitar, harmonica on "A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara'd into Submission)”.
Edward R. Forte