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The Paul Simon Songbook Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 29 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • ASIN: B0015XM77A
  • Other Editions: LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Product Description

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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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'd have been a Paul Simon groupie if I had not been working in the Yukon but this is an album which shows how good Paul Simon really was. Highly recommended!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Expérience intimiste. Paul Simon seul avec sa guitare. On a l'impression d'être dans un café.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
My Favorite Album By Anyone, Ever--Period! Sept. 17 2010
By Robert L. Smith - Published on
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
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
His back pages Sept. 5 2012
By jblyn - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Minstrel April 23 2014
By Annie Van Auken - Published on
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.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For Serious Simon and Garfunkel Fans Only.... March 27 2011
By Socrates Stewart - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THE PAUL SIMON SONGBOOK is not for the casual Simon and Garfunkel fan. It is not well-recorded. The performances are not particularly inspired. It's not the kind of album one can simply sit back and enjoy pure musical joy.

What it is is interesting. We get a glimpse of Paul Simon, the songwriter, as he really comes of age. Simon and Garfunkel had been peforming together since school lads and finally in 1964 recorded their first big label album. Frustrated with the results, they spiit just as the British invasion conquered pop music. Paul Simon departed for England to immerse himself in the English music scene with a particular interest in their folk music. While doing so, he worked on sharpening his songwriting talent and this album is the result recorded in England, just Paul and his guitar.

Most of the songs on the album are instantly recognizable tunes that would be recorded by Simon and Garfunkel on SOUNDS OF SILENCE or PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY & THYME. One exception is "The Side of a Hill" which an astute listener will recognize as the "Canticle" undercurrent sung in "Scarborough Fair/Canticle." "A Church is Burning" did not make it on to their official albums, but they performed it in concert and it appears on live albums. "A Simple Desultory Phillippic" is much angrier and snarling on this album.

All the rest of the songs are familiar such as "I Am a Rock," "April Come She Will," and "Kathy's Song." Another thing that becomes obvious is how much the material benefits from adding Garfunkel's voice. At this stage in Paul Simon's career, he was still a limited singer who only succeeded well on certain numbers. He'd overcome that deficiency as he gained confidence through Simon and Garfunkel's superb run of albums so by the time Simon issued his next solo effort in 1971, PAUL SIMON, he was quite capable of being a brilliant soloist.

Listen to THE PAUL SIMON SONGBOOK and hear a work in progress.