Monday 14 July 2014

Simon and Garfunkel Unreleased Tracks (News, Views and Music 253 Top Thirty-Three-And-A-Third)

You can now buy 'Patterns - The Alan's Album Archives Guide To The Music Of Simon and Garfunkel' in e-book form by clicking here

Dear all, here we are with volume seven in our discussion of the best AAA outtakes. This week it's Simon and Garfunkel's turn under the spotlight. Now compared to last week's discussion of unreleased Neil Young there really aren't that many completely unreleased songs out there. What we do have, though, is plenty of alternate takes (especially from the 'Bookends' era and the unfinished 'joint' version of what became the 'Hearts and Bones' LP in 1983) and lots of songs that were released but are very very rare (especially at the beginning of the duo's career!) We're hoping to do a full feature on Simon and Garfunkel's days as Tom and Jerry sometime in the future but there's still plenty of songs the pair did separately in the late 1950s and early 1960s so we've plumped for what we consider the best of their 50 or so A and B-sides pre-'Wednesday Morning 3 AM'. As with the last few reviews we've gone for a '33 and a third' track compilation, to get a bit of equality (Neil Young's outtakes alone would account for 100 songs easy!) with the 'third' coming from a 'hidden' bonus track of speech:

CD One:

1)    Dream Alone (Art Garfunkel 1959)

We start with Art Garfunkel's first single. While less dedicated to creating music than Paul, Arty was still very much involved with music after the pair decided to knock Tom and Jerry on the head after six singles (only one of them, 'Hey Schoolgirl!' a hit) and recorded two solo singles, interestingly using his own name a good four years before his partner decided to do the same. 'Dream Alone', the A side from the first single, is the best of the bunch, with a snappy 1950s beat and some simple lyrics about, funnily enough, going solo.

2)    Lone Teen Ranger (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1962)

Easily my favourite of the pre-fame songs is this fun novelty song from 1962 with Paul (still using his Tom and Jerry stage-name 'Jerry Landis') sounding like a Texan cowboy. With a funky backing beat way ahead of it's time Paul plays the boyfriend narrator of a lovestruck girl who cares morefor the titular fictional hero than she does for him ('She even kissed the TV set, it's a crying shame!') Most of the Jerry Landis novelty songs try too hard but with a fun catchy riff ('Bang Bang *pistol shot sound effect*), a sneaky lift from the William Tell Overture and a driving backing beat 'The Lone Teen Ranger' deserved to become one of the bigger hits of the pre-Beatles 1962. Of course, if this had been a success history would have been very different and we'd now be talking about Paul's songs about the cowgirl Mrs Robinson 'The Sound Of Shooting' and the Bridge Over Troubled Horses or something!

3) Make A Wish (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1962)

Many of these pre-fame songs have been collected down the years, generally for CD compilations that only have access to a third of the songs each and are quickly deleted under lawyer's orders (although amazingly most on youtube seem to have been spared the wrath of Paul Simon). This is one of the few songs that has never been collected - perhaps because it's the most embarrassing of the lot. A genie comes, urges the narrator to wake up and make a wish (dig Paul's crazy bass voice!) and the narrator heads over to Lulu's house, the crazy chick he fancies. The twist of the song is that the wish doesn't work - the wizard reveals that 'you're the tenth one to make that same wish tonight!' How we laughed. Luckily she ,makes a wish too and gets the narrator in the end anyway. With a chorus that runs 'I'm a smash, I'm a wow, I'm a smoke, yellow smoke, green smoke,  blue smoke, purple smoke, pink smoke,  white smoke...WOW!!!' Not really Paul's most distinguished moment, but the song's a lot of fun and the tune is a pretty one, very much of the period but who can blame a teenage writer for reflecting his surroundings? Unluckily for Paul he sings in what will become his de facto 'natural' voice, making this one of the most recognisably 'him' of all his pre-fame recordings!

4)    Lisa (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1962)

A lot of compilations tend to focus on this song, though, perhaps because it's a doo-wop song that's remarkably similar to the sort of thing Paul will write for his 1950s-set musical 'The Capeman'. Doo-wop was, of course what first got Paul interested in music (particularly The Penguins 'Earth Angel' with the twist that the title character is ' angel from Earth!' the trigger for Paul's own writing style, so hearing him writing in the genre at the time when it was still a key influence alongside rock and roll is fascinating. Lisa's a good song for a teenager to write too, a letter set to music with the twist that the listener assumes the narrator's in love - but it turns out this is a 'letter of goodbye' (best line: 'Even though I love you and my heart says 'stay', my feet start movin' and I gotta obey!') Paul has really got the 'humming' vocal style down well too.

5)    The Greatest Story Ever Told (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1962)

In case you're wondering, 'love' is the greatest story ever told - the narrator was in love and then he wasn't and then he met someone even better. A fun little song of broken teenage hearts with some noticeably complicated backing vocals pointing towards the future. Thank goodness Paul nixed the cod-Elvis vocal section from this song for his later compositions, though, as it really is toe-curling: 'Every day we hear stories, some new some old, but the story of love - yes the story of love - is the greatest story ever told!'

6)    Tick Tock (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1962)

My second favourite of the pre-fame recordings has Paul Simon waiting for his 'baby doll' and wondering why she's two hours late. The 'tick tock tick' riff of the clock chiming is a clever peg on which to hang another cute song of teenage frustration and Paul's seething anger comes across really well, in stark contrast to the quiet stillness of most Simon and Garfunkel songs. Listen out for Paul's sweet falsetto fade that sounds a close between Art Garfunkel and Rev Claude Jetter on Paul's song 'Take Me To The Mardi Gras' in a decade's time.

7)    True Or False (Paul Simon as 'True Taylor' 1963)

This one's in for the comedy value as Paul Simon becomes the worst Elvis tribute act in living history! To be fair, Paul has clearly been studying his idol and has caught a lot more of Elvis' mannerisms than most, it's just that his voice has the wrong timbre for the King's husky drawl. The song is actually superior to most of the songs that cropped up on Elvis albums (have you ever heard 'Never Do A Rhumba In A Sports Car'? The mind boggles how that got onto an LP!), with Paul asking his girl whether she's been seeing someone else.

8)    Carlos Dominguez (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1963)

After the apprenticeship comes the 'real' Paul Simon. However the songs on 'Wednesday Morning 3 AM' ('The Sound Of Silence' among them) were actually the second batch of thoughtful Paul Simon songs. Here's one of the first, released as a single and the last time Paul ever used a name that wasn't his own. The title character, 'an unhappy man', is 'always running away' and although he's 'always looking for love' 'all I ever find is hate'. The summer of love philosophy in a nutshell four years early! Paul turns in a fantastic acoustic Spanish guitar part and even does a fair facsimile of a Spanish accent. The missing link between 'Silence' and 'True and False' this is a milestone amongst Paul Simon recordings and deserves to be better known amongst Paul's many fans.

9)    He Was My Brother (Paul Simon as 'Jerry Landis' 1963, Early Version)

This is the B-side and one of my favourite Simon and Garfunkel songs, even with all the many highlights to come. More shambolic and unfinished sounding than the 'other' two versions on 'The Paul Simon Songbook' and 'Wednesday Morning 3 AM', this song is more reserved in its outrage and anger (the song was written when Paul heard that one of his old college friends had died in Vietnam) but is actually more chilling because of it. Had that fateful decision to overdub electric instruments onto 'The Sound Of Silence' not taken place I can hear Paul's future as an earnest folk singer taking him somewhere to success anyway - he's perfectly poised here between quiet reflection and simmering hate.

10) The Sound Of Silence (Paul Simon Live 1964)

Following the flop release of 'Wednesday Morning 3 AM' (an album that only charted after 'The Graduate' made Simon and Garfunkel a household name), Simon and Garfunkel split up again and went their separate ways. Paul ended up in England, touring folk clubs and writing songs (including 'Homeward Bound' at Widnes Railway Station). Against all the odds a tape of one of these shows with the completely unknown singer-songwriter has survived, an 11 song acoustic set taped in London. Back then 'The Sounds Of Silence' was a brand new song (Paul introduces it after a run of traditional folk tunes like 'House Carpenter' and 'The Sun Is Burning' by saying 'I obviously do some contemporary music as well') and Paul plays with real verve and passion - more like his future 'Songbook' version than the S+G one. It's a towering performance and arguably the best live version I've heard him do, full of pregnant pauses and living every moment. However the crowd don't sound all that taken with it, giving only polite applause. Paul’s world will change forever within a year of this recording and it sounds like he knows it too, even if the audience don’t know it yet.

11) Scarborough Fair (Paul Simon Live 1964)

The 'other' future Simon and Garfunkel classic on the tape appears some three years before the 'hit' version. This version of the song is lacking both the 'On The Side Of The Hill' canticle section and Art Garfunkel's classy vocals and yet it already sounds like a hit, with some lovely singing from Paul closer to the high-pitched Arty part than his own on the eventual record. The crowd seem to like it more than Paul's own songs, interestingly...

12) We're Going To The Zoo (Paul Simon Live 1964)

Paul's done well enough to return for an encore. Introducing this song as 'a Tom Paxton children's song that adults love but children don't dig at all' he nervously asks the crowd to join in, claiming 'I'm not usually the type to join in, but if you shed your inhibitions you can sing this with me'. He jokes that the crowd has to regress to a 'third grade level' before adding as an afterthought 'or progress to a third level!' So ensues a fabulous version of the novelty folk song, with Paul urging everyone to keep singing it 'so Tom Paxton can collect some royalties!' and doing some fine animal impressions (he does a great seal noise!) Not what anyone would have been expecting at the time had they heard the earnest folk song Paul had just made with Arty or the solo one he's about to make - and equally fans coming to this magical period from a modern perspective will be scratching their heads over this choice to end the concert. The crowd love it though, giving it a huge ovation that's noticeably bigger than the reception 'Sound Of Silence' got!

13) Bad News Feeling (Paul Simon Outtake, 'The Paul Simon Songbook' 1965)

A rare completely unreleased Paul Simon song (there are only two on the whole list!), this outtake from the 'Songbook' album (and sadly absent from the CD re-issue) is very much in keeping with the Davy Graham/Bert Jansch acoustic feeling of the album. Pentangle would have done a fine version of this song, incidentally, with its tricky 'Anji'-like riff and its quick-stepping lyrics that try to work out why the narrator feels as low as he does ('confection, I have no reflection, it's a bad news feeling!') Interestingly this song is another on Paul's favourite theme of 1964-65, miss-communication, adding a pleading 'talk to me!' as the 'hook' in the last verse. This would have made a fascinating addition to the Simon and Garfunkel songbook, with references to walking along 'cobbled stones' miles away from home (so like the lyrics of 'Silence') and offering a sign of future hippie philosophy with the lines 'why fight, feel uptight?' A lost gem.

14) Simon and Garfunkel at the International Monterey Pop Festival (1967)

Fans seem to forget that Simon and Garfunkel appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival and actually headlined the Friday night (Paul Simon was on the director's panel too)> Perhaps that's because S+G's mellow acoustic vibe got rather lost amongst the Janis' and Otis' and compared to the other AAA members who performed at the show the duo's performances are very hard to find (only Punky's Dilemma' made the film). Introduced by 'Papa' John Phillips, the pair's 20-odd minute set seven song was delightful, though, a mixture of old songs ('Silence' and a riveting 'Benedictus' ) and new ('At The Zoo' and 'Punky's Dilemma' were both unreleased at this point, a full year before their release on 'Bookends'). Paul is unusually chatty this night, asking the audience what the blue light in the audience is ('blue lights are associated in my mind with rather a good time' he lustfully winks to the audience, who takes a while to get the risque joke) and breaking off from 'At The Zoo' to quote the Kellogg's commercial that inspired the song, much to Garfunkel's amusement ('A bowl of Rice Kirspies ain't what it used to be!') A full release of the show - like those done for the other AAA bands in recent years like Otis Redding, the Jefferson Airplane and even the Grateful Dead's  self-proclaimed lacklustre showing at the event - would be highly welcome.

15) Save The Life Of My Child (Demo 1968)

For some reason loads of outtakes from 'Bookends' have turned up on bootleg but almost none from the other S and G albums. Almost the whole of the first 'aging' side exists in demo form, with some fascinating differences. 'Save The life Of My Child' has long been one of my favourite Paul Simon songs, a chirpier version of the sorrow and melancholy in 'The Sound Of Silence' that even 'borrows' a section of the song in explaining the teenager's attempted suicide in the song. That bit isn't here yet and nor's the whacking great production effects or the policeman's cameo ('and b-lah b-lah'), but the weird freaky noises are here, making this the single most psychedelic recording in the duo's canon. The lyrics are subtly different too: there's a whole third verse that was cut bar the first line ('A patrol car passing by halted to a stop, 'twas Officer McDougal to the scene, and he moved through the crowd like a finger through the sand, and the sand was mean!') The ending is quite different too: instead of jumping ('He flew away! Oh my grace there's no hiding place!') the teenager takes an officer's hands and steps down from the ledge, 'waving goodbye to the city' having got the attention he craved. Fascinatingly different and yet apart from the ending fascinatingly similar, with the sense of urgency and echo-drenched confusion present already.

16) Punky's Dilemma (Early Version 1968)

The demo for 'Punky' is slightly slower and sounds like a more 'serious' song without all the 'silly' overdubs (there are no steps for Roger the Draft Dodger to fall down and none of that irritating timpani). Paul sings solo and the song suits his voice alone much better than the pair together and interestingly he attempts a really high falsetto part on the 'South California' line, suggesting perhaps that in Paul's head he sings most of the song alone and gives this section to Arty to sing. Shorn of the comedy effects 'Punky's sounds like a much more 'normal' and better song, although interestingly his comedy 'oh really?' near the end of the song is left intact.

17) America (Early Version 1968)

Another gorgeous 'Bookends' song to end the first disc, this demo unusually features Simon and Garfunkel singing together. The finished version of the song doesn't have much production gloss anyway but with even that little bit gone 'America' suddenly sounds much wiser and maturer here, with the oppression of the last verse rather than the hope of the first two peeking through. The changes are subtle - Arty joins in at different points in the song and both he and Paul fluctuate where they rise and fall on each line - but the performance is a good one and such an important song in the S+G songbook deserves to be heard in every variation possible.

CD Two:

18) At The Zoo (Early Version 1968)

We begin side two with the most different of all the 'Bookends' songs. In its first incarnation 'Zoo' was a much straighter song purely about humans and barely a line makes it over from this version into the finished product. 'Something tells me things sure have changed since I've been gone' the song starts, with the narrator returning to a childhood haunt. A later cut verse adds: 'I long to tell you light and tumble tales of travel done, and to tuck you in and sing a gentle song, but your eyes are filled with icicles your touch has picked up hope and I know that I've been on the road too long!' (presumably this song was written for the media-shy Kathy - the pair are in the process of splitting at this stage). Sadly the song ends up as a travelogue thereafter about all the sights Paul's seen while he's been away, but even so it's fascinating to hear just how different this version of the song is to the finished product. There's even that Kellogg's commercial 'inspiration' still intact in the song ('A bowl of Rice Kripsies ain't what it used to be!'), showing just how new the song still is at this point. How on earth was this demo passed over for the 'Bookends' CD? By contrast the 'demo' version of the title track included sounds virtually identical with the finished product!

19) Overs (Early Version 1968)

Paul's song of divorce and growing up and in separate ways is just as grumpy in demo form, but it's played at a slightly faster tempo and its looser and more playful, the guitar playing even more uneven and unstructured than the finished recording so that you really don't know when the next 'sting' is going to come. Arty gets more to do on this demo than on the record, singing some wordless vocals behind Paul that sadly were cut from the finished version as well as his two-line cameo which is lovely but has the effect of softening the song - presumably Paul wanted to keep it as spiky as possible.

20) Groundhog (Outtake 1968)
'Bookends' is such a short album that I'm surprised space wasn't made for only the second completely unreleased song in Paul Simon's back catalogue. A slow lazy blues song, which begins with a ringing untuned chord, this narrator is fed up with life and angry on how things have turned out for so many of his friends. Ultimately its himself he's concerned with though: 'I get the blues all morning, and morning is my best time of the day' he sadly sings to himself. The melody is a good one, reflecting the quiet, understated narrator who imagines himself as a groundhog looking for a hole and which rises and falls with each uinsteady line of the song, poking its nose out of the ground to see what life has in store for him next. Goodness knows why Paul decided not to release it (while not his best song its better than many that made the record, including 'Punky's Dilemma' and certainly 'Voices Of Lonely Old People') - perhaps it smacked too much of the 'miserable' persona the duo were trying to get away from?

21) Cuba Si, Nixon No (Outtake 1969)

The third and final completely unreleased song is the most contentious. When Simon and Garfunkel were in the process of making 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' they'd decided to make it another 12 track album (as most of their records had been up to this point. Eleven of the songs were easy  but the 12th caused problems. Arty wanted to record folk tune 'Feuilles-Oh', something Paul considered a backwards step. Paul wanted to record a song he'd just written which slammed then-president Richard Nixon's attempt to oust Cuban leader Fidel Castro, something the ever apolitical Garfunkel thought would be wrong for their image (if you get the chance, do see the 'Songs Of America' TV special made to promote the album and included on the 'deluxe' set of 'Bridge' in 2011 - Paul is clearly going through a political stage given both the comments and the videos supporting the songs). The pair had the biggest row they ever had in their history but eventually compromised, ending up with just 11 songs on the record. Amazingly the song still hasn't seen the light of day, despite the fact that it now looks pioneering indeed - many people still stood by Nixon in 1969 but the time of 'Watergate' in 1974 and the 'I am not a crook' speech Nixon was a pantomime villain for many. S+G did record the song, apparently, but sadly the studio version has never leaked. However the duo played it on most of their 1969 tour (with Art noticeably absent from the stage) and a particularly rocking version from Miami University in November 1969 exists. This recording reveals the song to be retro Chuck Berry style rocker where Nixon has 'a funny way of running the show' and Paul imagines himself as a pilot, sitting in the cockpit 'in a dream' wondering why 'he's going to Savannah when he should be going to New Orleans'. With a furious chorus of ' Cuba Si, Nixon no no no!' it is pretty radical for its day (albeit in keeping with, say, the first CSN album) and tries to give solidarity with 'ill-treated Spanish speaking people'. The time is right for release we say - and could Paul please write a follow up song about David Cameron's atrocities?!

22) Old Friends (TV Special 1977)

Three reunions later, Art Garfunkel guested on the postmodern and deeply weird TV show 'The Paul Simon Special'. A comedy with musical interludes, it featured a straightfaced Paul with the cast of Saturday Night Live, including Charles Grodin as the producer from hell. The highlight is the first seen reunion of Simon and Garfunkel, a low key affair where the pair retire to the dressing room to work up the 'Old Friends' song (now with added poignancy). Alas the producer thinks the inane introduction to the song is more important and keeps nagging the pair to read it out over and over (sample: 'I want to thank you for having me on your show' 'My special wouldn't be special without you!' 'Thankyou Paul' 'Shall we sing 'Old Friends'? 'Great'). Thankfully they do get to sing it by the end of the scene and a very beautiful version it is too.

23) The Late Great Johnny Ace (Live In Japan 1982)

Less cosy is the short Simon and Garfunkel tour that took place after their successful 'Concert In Central Park' show. The old friends are butting heads by now but that doesn't prevent Paul from turning in a rare and deeply spooky live version of his tribute to John Lennon. As far as I know its the second and last time he sang the song - the first, performed in Central Park just metres away from where Lennon was shot, was interrupted by a fan clambering onstage for an autograph, visibly scaring Simon in the process. The only issues with this version is the sound (Paul apologises that there are 'no horns' and replies to a wag in the crowd who says he can't hear anything that his songs are 'all quiet'). This Johnny Ace might not have the swagger of the record or the breath-taking violin climax but it is a riveting version, played slower at the beginning and quicker at the end before tailing off into a lovely hummed coda.

24) All I Have To Do Is Dream (Live 1982)

Another rare song from that shortlived tour was the second Everly Brothers cover Simon and Garfunkel ever sang (the first being 'Bye Bye Love'). A song well suited to their vocals, the pair actually manage to sound as if they want to belong on the same stage as each other - which is quite a feat given how much they were openly hating each other's company again by 1982.A little offtune and sounding slightly tipsy, this is stills a fun version that deserves a release.

25) Hearts and Bones (Paul Simon Demo 1983)
The first of eight songs on our list from the long awaited Simon and Garfunkel reunion LP, tentatively titled 'Think Too Much' and which eventually became the Paul Simon solo album 'Hearts and Bones'. This demo doesn't feature Arty yet, suggesting it was either written near the beginning (before he joined) or the end (after he'd left) although Garfunkel was on period performances of the song (singing the middle verse, the one about 'Thinking back to the season before, looking back on the cracks in the door...') Typically, Paul Simon's demo is almost as lush and polished version with everything in its proper place but everything just that fraction different: the acoustic guitar is rougher, Paul's vocal not quite as graceful, the harmony vocals on the middle eight not yet there and the keyboard licks a little less developed. To make up for this there's a delightful Mexican style guitar part after the lines about 'waking up down in Mexico'. One of Paul's most important songs, even if only his biggest fans seem to know about it, this is a delight to hear and more people should get the chance.

26) Think Too Much (Unfinished LP 1983)

This version 'B' back in the days when there was only the 'fast' arrangement of the song (Paul had second thoughts and recorded the song slow but then couldn't make up his mind which one to use and used them both!) As glossily pop as the finished product but with an extra little kick, some jagged guitar and some delightful Art Garfunkel vocals where Paul's harmony part will be on the record, this one sounds almost finished.

27) Train In The Distance (Unfinished LP 1983)

Although we've maintained many times on this website that Art Garfunkel was shabbily treated during the making of this album (having his vocals wiped after weeks of work without being asked), it has to be said that Paul just has to sing this oh so personal song solo - Art sings as well as ever but his harmony part just doesn't belong on this song of divorce and gloom. In concert Arty got to sing the verse about 'two disappointed believers' but interestingly that isn't here on this work-in-progress version - perhaps Paul was already having second thoughts? Apart from Arty the other major difference is the ending: there's a longer guitar solo, a whispered 'train...train' on top of all the 'oo momma' and 'wooh wooh' vocal sound effects, then the drums kick in and come to a rocky conclusion, filling in the 'nagging' part the strings will play on the finished version.

28) Song About The Moon (Unfinished LP 1983)

I've never been a big fan of Paul's song about his own writer's block, which doesn't quite reach his usual high standards. This early version is nice, though, with a much longer 'hummed' opening and Simon and Garfunkel singing in unison for most of the song, with Arty much more fitting on this happy-go-lucky song than the deeper sadder songs on the album. Thankfully this version doesn't have the 'gloss' of the final product either, with a rougher, 'rawer feel in the backing - especially the tempo which slips and slides its away through the song, keeping the singers on their toes. Easily beats the original.

29) Allergies (Unfinished LP 1983)

This version is even rawer, basically featuring just Paul, a guitar and a heavy set of drums. All the pieces of the puzzle are here (even the virtuoso guitar solo) - they just haven't quite fallen into place yet. An unusual song anyway (Paul was still suffering from writer's block and was encouraged to write about his 'problems' - he started with an easy one, his allergies, and never quite developed the song into a metaphor for anything else). I rather like this 'grungy' take of the song sans horns, though, with Garfunkel's soaring harmonies exactly what the finished version on 'Hearts and Bones' was missing and Paul even falls into a sort of rap style for the second verse ('Well I got a famous physician...') which is a lot better than it sounds, honest.

30) The Late Great Johnny Ace (Unfinished LP 1983)

My copy of this recording is very muffled and hard to make it out, but it sounds as if as well as the usual surface noise from many-copied bootlegs Paul meant it that way - he's overladen the song with echo and sounds like he's singing somewhere with tiles. Sadly Arty isn't on this one, which may not have developed from demo form back when he was working on the album (he doesn't appear on the live versions either, though, so perhaps Paul always meant to sing this one solo?) This gives this Lennon eulogy a suitably creepy, unearthly feel, which is quickly taken away with a fiery electric guitar part and a longer instrumental passage into the 'Year of the Beatles, year of the Stones' bit. This version of the song ends even more beautifully, with a stunning array of near capella 'ohhhhs' that turn this song into something akin to a hymn. Which, in a way, ''Johnny Ace' is.

31) Citizen Of The Planet (First Version, Unfinished LP 1983)
This one is a bona fide finished Simon and Garfunkel recording that Paul never returned to for 'Hearts and Bones'. The most Simon and Garfunkel of the entire bunch of recordings, its a plea for peace that would have fitted nicely onto 'Bookends'. Simon and Garfunkel returned to it as a 'bonus track' for their 'Old Friends - Live On Stage' CD in 2004, a studio recording that was apparently made afresh in the 21st century. It's very similar to what we have here, though, making me wonder if the pair simply added a slightly more polished set of harmonies to this old recordings. While no carat gold classic, this song deserves better than to have been thrown away on what was, if I'm honest, not one of the better concert recordings in my collection, with a sweet laidback feel and lots of space for that Simon and Garfunkel blend the other recordings here don't always have.

32) Cars Are Cars (Live 1983)

We end the 'Think Too Much' sessions with a song that wasn't actually recorded there - or if it was then it sadly hasn't leaked on bootleg yet. Simon and Garfunkel did do it live, however, just once at the very end of their 1982-83 tour, suggesting that the pair were working it up for use on the album before Paul began to have second thoughts. Another strange song, about how mass produced objects can have special meaning when they enter the lives of their owners, the criss-crossing vocals suit the idea of a reunion and Arty even gets his own verse to sing (the second one again, 'But people are strangers, they change with the curve...') Again, it's a lot better than the rather stilted version that made the record and makes you wonder whether Paul was right to give his 'old friend' the boot.

33) The Boxer (Paul Simon Live 2006)

We close with a song that's readily available and a live version that, until recently, used to be readily available too - the new arrangement that Paul gave the song on his 'Surprise' tour. Slowed to a crawl and made to feel small and humble, with just Paul on acoustic, basic percussion and a pedal steel part subbing for the solo, I'm not sure this version beats the masterpiece of the original but it certainly comes close. Certainly this is a long cry from the multi-dubbed harmonies and the smashing drums of the original version - by contrast this one is very ,uch down but not actually out, not yet anyway. With Paul's voice breaking throughout, this version of the 'Boxer' sounds even more bowed and bloodied than the original, but the fight hasn't left him - there's even more of a determination to keep battling in this song's quiet melancholy. A superb version of a superb song, it was an unexpected encore on most gigs that tour and made for a surprisingly emotional end to these concerts so we thought it would make a fitting end to this compilation too.

Hidden Bonus Track:

As usual with these compilations, we've opted to end with a hidden 'bonus' track of speech. Our choice will be familiar to anyone who owns the 'Paul Simon 1964-93' box set, but as that's become something of a rarity itself these days we thought we'd give fans another chance to come across it! Back in 1972 Simon and Garfunkel were back together, briefly, to record an advert for their upcoming and decidedly separate solo tours. Paul is in the control box, Arty is speaking and neither quite know what to say. Along the way Paul comes on the monitor to tell his ex-partner to sound 'graver', adds his two-pennies worth that 'I like that bit about the separate commitment' and ends by asking Arty is he could squeeze in a mention of the tour he's doing that fall. Here's the text:
AG: This is Art Garfunkel, formerly of Simon and Garfunkel. 
I'm here in the studio to talk about something that's very
important to me. You know, a lot of people feel that when
an important recording group, such as…
PS: Art?
AG: Yeah.
PS: Let me interrupt you a minute. It's not quite serious
sounding enough. Try to make it a little bit more, uhh, grave.
AG: Okay. This is Arthur Garfunkel, once of Simon and Garfunkel.
One of the things that's disturbed me through the years has
been people's reaction to The Breakup of Simon and Garfunkel.
PS: Artie? Try and play a little bit more on…emphasize the word
AG: One of the things that has disturbed me through the years
has been people's reaction to The Breakup of Simon and Garfunkel. 
You know, a lot of people have taken it as a comic event and have
not realized that only with deep, real feelings of separate 
commitment can such…
PS: I like that. I like that part about the "separate commitment."
AG: …can such a breakup actually take place. Only by two,
separate individuals pursuing their own individual paths and 
following, what to they is, the God of their own choice can two
people who were once so close end up…
PS: Art? Art, try and work it in that I'll be doing a major college tour
this fall.
AG: …who were once so close, follow two paths which are so divergent.
Whereby, I, for example, record material that I feel expresses my soul, and
you, Paul, who are doing a major college tour this fall…(laughs)

Right that's us from us for another week. Be sure to tune in next Monday when we'll be presenting our mock-Beach Boys rarities compilation! Till then, goodbye!


'The Paul Simon Songbook' (PS, 1965)

'Sounds Of Silence' (SG, 1966)

'Bridge Over Troubled Water' (SG, 1970)

'Paul Simon' (PS, 1972)

'There Goes Rhymin' Simon' (PS, 1973)

'Angel Clare' (AG, 1973)

'Watermark' (AG, 1977)

‘Scissors Cut’ (AG, 1981)

'The Animals' Christmas' (AG, 1986)

'Songs From The Capeman' (PS, 1997)

'Stranger To Stranger' (PS, 2016)

Every Pre-Fame Recording 1957-1963 (Tom and Jerry, Jerry Landis, Artie Garr, True Taylor, The Mystics, Tico and The Triumphs, Paul Kane)

Live/Compilation/Film Soundtrack Albums Part One: 1968-1988

Landmark Concerts and Key Cover Versions

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