Simon & Garfunkel

Alternate Bookends

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Although this bootleg does its best to construct a sort of alternate version of Simon & Garfunkel's classic album Bookends, it's not exactly a different version of the record that was never released. The first dozen songs cobble together a facsimile of such an imaginary thing by combining alternate versions, outtakes, and demos of most of the album's tracks, padding it out with 7" mixes of "A Hazy Shade of Winter" and "Fakin' It," as well as adding the non-LP B-side "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies." The differences aren't radical (though these versions of "Save the Life of My Child" and "At the Zoo" have some different lyrics), but it does at least make listening to the tunes a somewhat refreshing experience for fans of the album who have nonetheless tired of hearing it after dozens or hundreds of spins. Then come live versions of all the songs from the album except "Bookends Theme," "Save the Life of My Child," and "Groundhog" (as well as a live version of "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies"), recorded at five separate venues between 1967 and 1970. These are actually in some ways more interesting, and more different, than the studio variations preceding them on the CD; it's especially nice to hear live performances of "Fakin' It" and "Mrs. Robinson" (in Ohio in November 1969) with full band backing. Closing the album is the mono version of Bookends, from start to finish. It's a CD for serious fans, obviously, but the sound quality is excellent on the studio material and reasonable on the live cuts, and with 30 tracks and 78 minutes of music, it certainly doesn't stint on value.