Angel Clare is the debut solo studio album by Art Garfunkel, released on September 11, 1973. It is his highest charting solo album, peaking at number 5 and contains his only Top 10 hit in the US, "All I Know" which peaked at number 9. It also contained two other Top 40 hits, "Traveling Boy" (#102 Bubbling under the Hot 100, #38 Adult Contemporary) and "I Shall Sing" (#38 Hot 100, #4 Adult Contemporary). It was produced by long-time Simon & Garfunkel producer Roy Halee, alongside Art Garfunkel.
"Traveling Boy" was the third single of the album and the opening track. Written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, the song describes the story of a young man heading for the road, leaving a lover behind. The piano opening riff was made by Larry Knechtel, with J.J. Cale performing the guitar solo. Garfunkel took three takes on the vocal, with the first two failing because he couldn't keep his voice loud enough during the first middle eight. Sally Stevens performs the soprano note at the start of the guitar solo.
"Down in the Willow Garden," the second track, was a country classic popularised by singer-songwriterCharlie Monroe, about a young man who kills his lover in the town's willow garden, and the events that follow, from his attempts to hide the body to his father's hypocritical advice and, finally, his own demise. Paul Simon sang harmony on the final verse and chorus with Garfunkel, along with Jerry Garcia playing lead guitar (overdubbed later by Roy Halee in San Francisco). Garfunkel went on to say it was one of his favourite country songs and loved the ability to work with Simon once again. Garcia, however, was less pleased with the results, referring to his contribution as "an overdub in a sea of overdubs" and expressing his dismay at not having been allowed any improvisational freedom.
"I Shall Sing", the third track of the album, was the second single of the album. The Van Morrisonreggae based song (which would later be a hit for Boney M) was changed from reggae to a Latin beat by Jim Gordon, with Milt Holland providing the prominent percussion, Joe Osborn on bass and Jules Broussard performing the saxophone solo, based on an Antônio Carlos Jobim song that he had heard early that year.
"Old Man" was the most controversial track of the album, because of Garfunkel interpretation of the song. Garfunkel himself admitted that he tended, in those days, to listen to the melody before the words, and so was quite happy to embed a strong string arrangement and vocal changes. Randy Newman, the song's composer, however, went on to say that he actually loved Garfunkel's version, despite bad press from Rolling Stone magazine. Strings were supplied by Peter Matz, Stuart Canin, Ernie Freeman and Jimmie Haskell, with Garfunkel having arranged the vocals, strings and instrumentation himself. The highest note of the song, an A5, is also the highest note on the album, on the line "The Birds Have Flown Away."
"Feuilles-Oh/Do Space Men Pass Dead Souls On Their Way To The Moon?", the fifth track of the album, was a combination of the traditional Haitian folk song with a middle section based on the melody of J.S. Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" Choral N°33, and lyrics by Garfunkel's then fiancée, Linda Marie Grossman. The couple were married at her Nashville home a year earlier (October 1, 1972) but divorced less than two years later (August 1975), with Garfunkel later saying that not only did he not love her, but he did not like her much during their short marriage.
"All I Know", the sixth track of the album, was the first single of the album. The Jimmy Webb composition became Garfunkel's highest US Charting single.
"Woyaya" is a cover of a song by the Afro-pop band Osibisa that was released two years prior.