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Song For The Asking
ROIO - Recordings Of Illegitimate Origin

Title Far East Reunion
Label Hard Rain
Catalog Number HARD RAIN-007/8
Source 7 May 1982: audience recording from floor of Osaka Stadium.
July 1965 BBC premiere: off-air recording.
Queens College 1964: unknown - likely soundboard.
SNL 18 November 1976: off-air TV recording.
Performers Paul Simon - guitar, vocals
Art Garfunkel - vocals
George Harrison - guitar, vocals (SNL only)
(the following only at Osaka 1982)
Richard Tee - keyboards
Steve Gadd - drums
Pete Carr - guitar
George Wadenuis - guitar
Wayne Pedzwater - bass
Ed Walsh - synthesizer
Fred Lipsius - trumpet
John Eckert - trumpet
John Gatchell - trumpet
Gerry Niewood - saxophone
Quality Osaka 1982: EX- / 7.5
BBC 1965: EX / 8.0
UK 1964: EX / 8.5-9.0
SNL 1976: VG+ / 7.0
7 May 1982 - Osaka:
1. Mrs. Robinson
2. Homeward Bound
3. America
4. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
5. Scarborough Fair/Canticle
6. My Little Town
7. Wake Up Little Suzie
8. Still Crazy After All These Years
9. Bright Eyes
10. Late In The Evening
11. Slip Slidin' Away
12. El Condor Pasa
13. 50 Ways To Leave You Lover
14. American Tune
15. The Late Great Johnny Ace
16. Kodachrome / Maybelline
17. Bridge Over Troubled Water
18. The Boxer
19. Old Friends / Bookends
20. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
21. The Sound Of Silence
22. Late In The Evening (encore)
23. The Boxer (encore)

BBC promo show for Wednesday Morning 3AM:
1. Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
2. Sparrow
3. The Side Of A Hill
4. I Am A Rock
5. A Church Is Burning
6. Anji

Queens College, London - rehearsal 1964:
1. Anji
2. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright (instrumental)
3. Old Friends / Bookends (instrumental)
4. Scarborough Fair / Canticle
5. The House Carpenter Song
6. Gospel Ship
7. Pretty Boy Floyd
8. A Church Is Burning
9. The Sound Of Silence
10. Leaves That Are Green
11. The Sun Is Burning
12. Can't help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
13. Going To The Zoo
14. He Was My Brother

Saturday Night Live, 18 Nov 1976:
1. Homeward Bound
2. Bye Bye Love
Total Time 152:14
This 2CD set gathers together an entire 1982 tour concert with a lot of cool S&G and Paul Simon rarities from the 1960s, along with one of Paul's many mid-1970s appearances on Saturnday Night Live.

The Osaka concert was one of the last dates on the Simon & Garfunkel reuinion tour, which followed their 1981 concert in Central Park. This show finds the pair in much better form than at the NYC gig, with better presence and a hotter band. Art's voice is much better than it was in NYC, and the song selection was a bit more diverse, including such nuggets as "My Little Town" and "El Condor Pasa." Both Paul and Art seem fairly upbeat, especially given how late in the tour this concert was. The recording is sometimes a bit distant, but it's also very clear. Sometimes the audience is a bit too boisterous, clapping along with the songs, but the concert as a whole is quite nice - muche better, in my opinion, than the legitimately-available Concert In Central Park CD.

The BBC promo for Wednesday Morning 3AM is a wonderful gem. The recording is of decenlt quality, and the performances are great. Each song is introduced by either Paul, Art or a BBC announcer. Of special note are the two songs which weren't on the LP. "The Side Of A Hill" appeared on The Paul Simon Songbook, though on this version Artie takes to vocal duties. The song eventually became the "Canticle" to "Scarborough Fair." "A Church Is Burning" also appeared on Songbook, though S&G also performed this song at most of their 1965 and 1966 shows.

The Queens College stuff makes me wonder. Everything from "The House Carpenter Song" onward seems to be legitimate. The first tracks ("Anji" through "Old Friends/Bookends") seem suspect, though. Could Paul have written "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" and "Old Friends/Bookends" in 1964, years before they were recorded by the duo? It's hard to say. Given the fact that the recording quality is similar to the rest of the material, these tracks may, indeed, be legitimate vintage '64. However, further listening has led me to conclude that the instrumental versions of "So Long" and "Old Friends/Bookends" are likely vintage 1968 or 1969, from a soundcheck.

The Queens College performance, as a whole, is delightful. It features Paul performing solo during his Songbook period, throwing in a lot of cover tunes in addition to his own compositions. The only problem I can find with this recording is that it is mastered about a semitone fast - Paul sometimes sounds like he's been inhaling helium before each verse.

The SNL material has appeared on other ROIOs from both Paul Simon and George Harrison. The quality is nothing to praise, and one of the songs ("Homeward Bound") can be found in much better quality on the Nobody's Child charity CD.

This set is a worthwhile purchase, though it is devilishly hard to find.

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