Various Artists

Paul Simon Songbook

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The second album to use this title is a very different affair, a tribute album made up of both classic cover versions (Aretha Franklin doing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," etc.) and newer acts (the Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter," Michelle Shocked's "Stranded In a Limousine"). The idea of gathering together these 20 recordings is a good one, and most of the acts are first-rate in their respective fields -- the Persuasions' version of "Slip Sliding Away" is worth the price of the disc -- though one sort of wishes the producers could have found versions of some real Simon obscurities like "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies" (assuming one exists). That would have made it revelatory about Simon's history as well as entertaining -- and it's also debatable about including "Scarborough Fair" (by Marianne Faithfull) in the collection, since Simon didn't write the song but simply arranged it after learning it from British folk legend Martin Carthy. (British import)