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The Only Living Boy In New York ( Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel Cover ) 04.17.10

Even though Simon and Garfunkel had a wonderful flow of hits during their day, I always gravitated to this album track from their fifth studio album, 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. I first heard the album in its entirety in the late 70s while babysitting. The Only Living Boy In New York struck a chord in me, both harmonically and lyrically. I connected to the story about a guy left alone, missing his friend, a friend who had gone abroad to seek out new creative pursuits and life-changing adventures. Paul Simon had to wait around for six months while Art Garfunkel went down to Mexico to work on the Mike Nichols film Catch 22. It sort of got in the way of making a record apparently, so he channeled that frustration into a song. Since Simon and Garfunkel started their careers as Tom and Jerry, Tom was Paul’s affectionate nickname for Artie.

It was a challenge in my low-fi interpretation to distill this song down to one piano and one voice, given the level of production on the original track, so I turned on the “layer” effect on my Roland RD500 to add an organ sound in the mix, just to give it a churchy feeling.

This one’s dedicated to my friend Devon, who celebrated a big birthday this week. That, and he lives in New York. Well, Brooklyn [addendum: I think he’s since moved], but I wasn’t up for breaking out the Beastie Boys today. “NO SLEEP ‘TIL…” etc.

Anyone else here an el Perro del Mar fan?

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