Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Released around the same time Columbia/Legacy expanded the original The Best of Simon & Garfunkel to a comprehensive 20-track single-disc collection, the British-only Tales From New York: The Very Best of Simon & Garfunkel takes that expansion a little further. It weighs in at a hefty 40 songs spread over two discs. This is not a problem, yet it isn't entirely an unqualified blessing, either. There are many terrific songs here that didn't make the cut on The Best of -- which, after all, concentrated primarily on the biggest hits -- but Tales From New York isn't exactly trim. Actually, it takes a little bit to get going, as the early folk numbers eat up the first five or so songs. Once it hits the second disc, Simon & Garfunkel are in their stride, and that disc, spanning "A Hazy Shade of Winter" to "America" and the reunion number "My Little Town," is peerless listening. Still, Tales From New York is a bit of a strange release, since it appeals to that small, small audience that wants more than just The Best yet doesn't want to delve into the actual albums or own the rarity-filled box (which contains nearly everything the duo recorded). For that select audience, Tales From New York is quite worthwhile, since it has almost every seminal song the duo cut, from hits ("Mrs. Robinson," "The Sound of Silence") to album tracks that are every bit as good as the singles ("Fakin' It," "The Only Living Boy in New York").