Art Garfunkel : 99 Miles From LA
Until his third album, at least, Art Garfunkel remains one of the great background voices -- nothing more.
-Dave Marsh, reviewing Garfunkel's second album, Breakaway, for Rolling Stone
Released within days of Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years and also featuring "My Little Town", Art Garfunkel's Breakaway was bound to draw comparisons. Garfunkel is not a songwriter so his albums should be judged on song choice, production and performance.
I've only recently owned the album and I'm impressed by the song choice. Garfunkel recorded the first version of Gallagher and Lyle's "Breakaway, a #1 Easy Listening hit, with backing vocals by David Crosby and Graham Nash. "99 Miles From LA" was another #1 Easy Listening hit for original author Albert Hammond. Bruce Johnson's "Disney Girls" was originally recorded by The Beach Boys for their Surf's Up album. The big single was a Flamingos cover, "I Only Have Eyes For You", a UK#1 hit. Andrew Gold played all the instruments on that song and many on the rest of the album.
Richard ( Carly Simon, Ringo Starr) Perry's production is perfect but lacking in any kind of edge. The same can be said of Garfunkel's performance. If 1975 was the mellowest year in rock, Breakaway may be the year's quintessential recording. And it goes down smooth with an evening cocktail.