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The Paul Simon Songbook Import


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The missing link in the Simon & Garfunkel discography, finally on CD in the U.S.! In fact, Paul long suppressed the release of this record in America; recorded in Britain in 1965 after the commercial failure of the duo's Wednesday Morning 3 AM album. It features a Simon solo in the British CBS studios singing I Am a Rock; Leaves That Are Green; The Sound of Silence , and more, including the Scarborough Fair precursor This Side of a Hill . This reissue includes unissued takes of I Am a Rock and A Church Is Burning , plus original notes and track-by-track overview by Simon and Garfunkel themselves!

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Amazon.com: 20 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
My Favorite Album By Anyone, Ever--Period! Sept. 17 2010
By Robert L. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There is a purity and an innocent optimism to this early Paul Simon solo album that--in many ways--surpasses the later work Simon has released, whether alone or with Art Garfunkel. Accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, a very young and still unknown Paul Simon offers up pasionate and tender versions of twelve songs that later became Simon and Garfunkel classics, often with subtle differences in lyrics. The never-again-released rarity "The Side Of A Hill" may sound a trifle naive nowadays, but--in an edited form--it went on to become the "Canticle" counter melody for "Scarborough Fair!" And yes, that is Kathy with Paul on the cover, kneeling on the damp London cobblestones. Perhaps because of its unadorned simplicity, this album--which I actually wore out several times on vinyl--has become my favorite album ever--by anyone--period. Even if you do not come to treasure it as I have, you will find it well worth a listen. It offers a glimpse of a budding genius on the verge of greatness, a sweetly unguarded moment, a harbinger of things to come.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Just a remarkable collection March 2 2010
By Statmonkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have long been puzzled by the lack of critical acclaim that Paul Simon gets. This collection really shows an amazing artist in a broad range. It contains several alternate takes of some his best known early work (as well as many that you won't know unless you are a fan). Yes, overall it is mellow but like some of Joni Mitchell's early recordings you can enjoy great music while listening to the development of a pop genius. Perfect listening for a quiet Sunday afternoon or just something relaxing to have on while you work. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
His back pages Sept. 5 2012
By jblyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"What-if" scenarios are sometimes intriguing. For example, what if producer Tom Wilson at Columbia Records hadn't thought to put a rock band overdub on an obscure song called "The Sound of Silence" from an equally obscure debut album by a folk duo called Simon & Garfunkel? Would the songs that were on that duo's hit single-propelled second album ever have gotten heard by the public at large? I suspect that the answer is a definite maybe, because Paul Simon's first official solo album, THE PAUL SIMON SONGBOOK, is actually pretty good in many ways. It has to be heard in context not only to what we know about Paul Simon now, but also in context to the time it was made. Sensitive folkies with more than a few Dylanesque leanings were all the rage in 1965, the year Simon recorded this album in England (and ONLY available from there as an import for the longest time), and some of his less-memorable "protest" songs ("He Was My Brother," "A Church Is Burning") might still have had an impact with his solo renditions rather than with S&G. But the songs that later ended up on their second and third albums mostly come off well here; "Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall," "Leaves That Are Green,""A Most Peculiar Man" and "The Sound Of Silence" itself sound particularly good with just Simon and his guitar.

I can see why he was reluctant to have this album released in the US for the longest time. The production has a very echoey demo feel to it and, let's face it, Paul Simon has grown in leaps and bounds as a songwriter and performer in his over 50 years of doing this for a living. But what's on this artifact doesn't tarnish him at all, and makes for a nice setting to see a prodigious talent at the very start of that livelihood.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Minstrel April 23 2014
By Annie Van Auken - Published on Amazon.com
Paul Simon promised that he would never read his liner notes for the 1965 British solo album, THE PAUL SIMON SONGBOOK. It's understandable why-- Simon might have felt they were a too-awkward attempt at a conversation of one. Perhaps he had doubts about their oddly hallucinogenic imagery, as well.

Maybe not the greatest of self-promoters, there's no question that Mr. Simon clearly was, by 1965, already a songwriter of the first rank-- the man's talents shine brightly on all of these tracks. That this earliest solo work wasn't released in the USA until decades later is as much a mystery as the true meaning of Paul's liner note chat with the Poppy Tender.

What a delight it is to examine the sonic building blocks that three future Simon & Garfunkel albums would draw upon. And what a privilege too, to hear the master minstrel, in voice and guitar alone, telling his stories and baring his soul. Opportunities like this are so very rare.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
good July 29 2012
By brandon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is not only the album's first appearance on CD but the first time it has been available anywhere, in any format, for more than 20 years. Paul Simon, forever the perfectionist, was unhappy with the basic nature of the recording and has vetoed its release at every turn - until now.


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