An album Paul Simon recorded in 1965 that has never seen the light of day in America will get its first official release here this spring.
“The Paul Simon Songbook,” previously only available as an import and long out-of-print even in that form, is due March 23 via Columbia/Legacy.
The original 12-track album was recorded in the wake of the lukewarm response afforded Simon & Garfunkel’s 1964 debut, “Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.” Simon moved to London, building an audience while honing his material at coffeehouse performances. Entering the studio in June 1965 with producers Stanley West and Reginald Warburton, he offered solo acoustic takes on such future staples as “I Am a Rock,” “April Come She Will” and “The Sounds of Silence.”
The resulting “Songbook” was issued by CBS Records in England but was never released in North America, reportedly due to Simon’s dissatisfaction with the finished product. However, a number of the songs from the set were promptly re-cut with Garfunkel and an overdubbed backing band for the pair’s second album, 1966’s “The Sounds of Silence.”
“This LP contains 12 of the songs that I have written over the past two years,” Simon wrote at the time. “There are some here that I would not write today. I don’t believe in them as I once did. I have included them because they played an important role in the transition. It is discomforting, almost painful, to look back over something someone else created and realize that someone else was you.”
The upcoming edition adds previously unreleased alternate takes of “I Am a Rock” and “A Church Is Burning,” the latter utilizing six-string guitar instead of the album version’s 12-string performance. It also reproduces Simon’s extensive original liner notes, partially written in the form of a script.
Simon & Garfunkel are eyeing a new leg of summer dates for their wildly successful Old Friends reunion tour, the first run of which wrapped in late December.