Simon & Garfunkel

Village Vanguard

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    6
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A very interesting and worthwhile, though not superb, collection of 27 live performances and outtakes, spanning 1966 through 1969. The three studio outtakes from 1966 to 1967 include one song that the duo released as a B-side to the Fakin' It single, "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies," which is perhaps a bit too insouciant a love song even by Simon's 1966 standards, but has a decent tune. There's also a version of "Overs" with considerably different lyrics than the one that turned up on Bookends. Then there are a few songs from a 1966 "studio rehearsal," though the cover doesn't say whether this is a recording, TV, or radio studio, and some of them sound like Paul Simon solo tracks, with no evidence of Garfunkel. Anyway, these too are noteworthy for including two songs that never appeared on their albums: the nice, folky ballad "I Wish You Could Be Here" and "Bad Blues Feeling," the latter of which shows the influence of Simon's 1965 stint in Britain with its Bert Jansch-type licks. Six songs from a 1966 BBC appearance again yield rarities with a cover of Tom Paxton's "I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound"; the anti-war "On the Side of a Hill," which never made it onto any S&G albums; and "A Church Is Burning," which only came out on Paul Simon's 1965 solo LP, The Paul Simon Song Book. The nine songs from a November 1969 concert don't have any otherwise unavailable numbers, but do boast the best sound quality of anything on the CD. This bootleg isn't solely notable for the rare compositions, though. The sound is very good at best and very listenable at worst. The performances are fine, and there are renditions of famous hits like "Homeward Bound," "Sounds of Silence," and "I Am a Rock" dotted throughout the program.