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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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.
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.