Paul Simon

Paul Simon 1964/1993

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Artist-designed box set retrospectives tend to be idiosyncratic, and this one is no exception. Take the title, which describes a 52-track, 200-plus-minute, three-disc set, the earliest recording from which actually was released in 1957 (that's Tom & Jerry's chart single, "Hey, Schoolgirl") and which contains no recordings from 1964 or from later than 1991. While Simon has included all of his biggest solo hits and most of those by Simon & Garfunkel (excepting "Homeward Bound" and "I Am a Rock"), and has grouped the songs into three roughly chronological sections (1957-1973, 1973-1983, and 1986-1991), he has made song choices and sequencing decisions within each section more reflective of his own taste than any historical or audience-based consideration. The music is so good it almost doesn't matter, but with only one previously unreleased song (a 1991 outtake from The Rhythm of the Saints), Paul Simon 1964/1993 is basically an abridged reshuffling of Simon's existing catalog. [Note also that Simon's tendency to edit his songs for use on compilations continues: "Loves Me Like a Rock" is 13 seconds shorter than the version on There Goes Rhymin' Simon, while "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" has lost 29 seconds from the Still Crazy After All These Years version.]

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