The Graduate – Original Sound Track Recording – Speakers Corner Records

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

The Graduate – Original Sound Track Recording – Columbia Records OS 3180 (1968)/Speakers Corner Records (2022) 180-gram stereo vinyl, 36:48 ****1/2:

(Featuring songs by Paul Simon, performed by Simon And Garfunkel; film music by Dave Grusin)

In late 1967, a countercultural movie became a landmark event. The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols (his second film) chronicled the social alienation of a recent college graduate (Benjamin Braddock, portrayed by Dustin Hoffman) who returns to his native Los Angeles. The protagonist soon becomes anti-social and questions the upper middle class norms as he embarks on a search for identity. Up to this point, there were no highly commercial movies that explored this phenomenon. Also, Nichols combined original score music (Dave Grusin) with contemporary songs performed by Simon And Garfunkel. This was a harbinger of future movies like Easy Rider that tied the characters and plot to individual songs. The soundtrack was a huge success, winning three Grammys.

Speakers Corner Records has released a re-mastered 180-gram vinyl Of The GraduateOriginal Soundtrack Recording. Included are five songs written by Paul Simon. Side 1 opens with the introspective anthem, “Sounds Of Silence”. Originally recorded ion 1965, this folk rock touchstone explores the psyche of coming of age in the 1960’s. This duo represents the purest vocal harmonies since the Everly Brothers. Indelible phrases like…”people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening…” epitomized the disaffected vibe of this era. The plaintive vocal delivery creates an ethreal melancholy that the listener can associate with the opening airport scene. “The Singelman Party Foxtrot: is a perfect counterpoint with its ballroom arrangement, strings and tinkling piano. The breakout single, “Mrs. Robinson” is covered initially with an abbreviated version. Its jaunty vibe and reference to the original middle aged femme fatale is another well-placed number. Anyone who experienced listening to their parent’s records will appreciate and possibly roll their eyes at the breezy Latin-infused “Sun Porch Cha-Cha-Cha”. There is a lovely instrumental (mostly acoustic guitar) of Simon’s take on the traditional “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”. Art Garfunkel’s crystalline tenor is featured on “April Comes She Will”.  With a simple guitar accompaniment, it encapsulates the artistic vision and personality of this duo. Of course, “The Folks” is prior generation, but in a cool, jazzy way with Count Basie-like piano accents.

Side 2 kicks off with the “single” version of “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”. All of the exquisite, delicate vocal harmony is wrapped up in atmospheric instrumentals, including a harpsichord and a faint reed at the end. “A Great Effect” will immediately recall the bawdy strip club date between Benjamin and Elaine Robinson. It is bluesy and downright nasty. In what could never be mistaken for any other time period from the 60’s, “Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” has a rock structure, some jaggedness and cheeky narrative. “Whew” is a crisp acoustic guitar interlude, highlighting different musical themes. This leads into the full “Mrs. Robinson” track. Simon’s funky grooves, some vocalese (“…dee di dee dee…”) and sardonic lyrics are compelling. It is easy to appreciate the long-lasting impact of this composition. A full rendering of “Sounds Of Silence” underscores the songwriting and arrangement gravitas of Paul Simon.

The Graduate was an iconic motion picture, The utilization of popular music in a soundtrack was trend-setting. Like all good film music, it motivates the listener to check out the movie again. Speakers Corner Records has done its customary excellent job in re-mastering this music to 180-gram vinyl. The sound mix is vibrant with excellent stereo separation. 

Side 1: Sounds Of Silence; The Singelman Party Foxtrot; Mrs. Robinson; Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha; Scarborough Fair/Canticle Interlude; On The Strip; April Come She Will; The Folks
Side 2: Scarborough Fair/Canticle; A Great Effect; The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine; Whew; Mrs. Robinson; Sounds Of Silence. 

—Robbie Gerson

More information available through Speakers Corner and Acoustic Sounds:

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Album Cover for The Graduate


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