Voices of Intelligent Dissent

Simon & Garfunkel

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Voices of Intelligent Dissent Review

by Bruce Eder

This bootleg CD was made from what appears to have been a potential, legitimate live-album master tape. Recorded in concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 23, 1968, with Al Kooper on hand as engineer, it is one of the better in an ever-larger array of live 1960s-era recordings by the duo, with good balances between the two voices and the acoustic guitar. The repertory ranges across the duo's history, from "He Was My Brother" up through "Mrs. Robinson," although it is somewhat weighted toward 1966 to 1968 material, and includes live performances of those supposed "failed" singles such as "Fakin' It," "The Dangling Conversation," and "At the Zoo," as well as contemporary album tracks like "Overs." These are more than live recreations of the duo's studio tracks, for there are some considerable differences in the harmonization of various songs (especially "The 59th Street Bridge Song"); additionally, the performance of some of these works with just the single guitar and two voices doesn't pale next to the familiar studio versions -- rather, they come off seeming overproduced after a couple of listens to this CD. Several of the performances are impressive in their own terms, such as the depth of feeling in the performance of "America." The repartee between the songs is often funny and not at all distracting, and one can only imaging -- assuming that this was in the running as a potential, legitimate album release -- that it never appeared because their studio albums were selling so well that there was no place to schedule such a release, and then their repertory changed again when they went on tour with a full band and added the Bridge Over Troubled Water material to their output.

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