The Holidays are about the things we return to over and over. We watch White Christmas every December. We attend the same parties each year; it’s been so long, we don’t even need an invitation anymore. We just know when and where to be. We cook up all the special recipes, shake up the same drinks, and curl up with our kids to read the same stories.
And none of it ever gets old. In fact, the true test of any newcomer to the holiday scene is its longevity. Has Will Ferrell’s Elfworked its way into our holiday routine for enough consecutive years? Have we listened to Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Goldalbums for long enough to consider them canonical Christmas cheer?
In the realm of popular music, I recently had the chance to re-experience some uncontested classics. Like the eggnog you break out once a year, or that favorite tacky Christmas cardigan, listening to these albums feels comfortable. And though they aren’t “holiday albums” (a fact in which most readers will probably find some relief) something about this season’s emphasis on nostalgia made it the perfect time to re-listen to these favorites.
First and foremost, is Simon & Garfunkel’s Complete Columbia Album Collection. It’s a box set that includes all five of the harmonious duo’s Columbia records: Wednesday Morning, 3 AM; Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Bookends; and Bridge Over Troubled Water; in addition to 1972’s Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, which includes some non-LP singles and rare live performances.
These five albums represent the bulk of Simon & Garfunkel’s important work, and if you’re looking for a favorite track, it’s likely here. Pressed in heavy 180 gram vinyl, these LPs carry the original tunes with the same warmth as the original releases in the 60s and 70s, and also include a digital download card for each album so you can enjoy the music wherever you like.
And if you’re a stickler for authenticity, each album cover reproduces the original art.
I’ve enjoyed introducing these albums to my kids, just as I remember discovering my parents’ Simon & Garfunkel LPs when I was young.
The second trip down memory lane revisits three of Bob Dylan’s biggest and most important albums: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 (Deluxe Edition) includes the best unreleased recordings from Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Dylan’s electric debut, Blonde on Blonde.
These recordings provide a rare glimpse into the creative process of Dylan at the height of his 60s popularity. It’s available in three formats: the two disc “Best Of” set, a Deluxe edition box set of six discs, or an exhaustive 18-disc Collector’s Edition, which includes, “every note recorded during the 1965-1966 sessions, every alternate take and alternate lyric.”
Where the Simon & Garfunkel albums made for a familiar trip down memory lane, authentically recreated in the most minute details, the Dylan recordings take a familiar set of albums and transform them into fresh experiences altogether.