PAUL SIMON's new CD!

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Wallingford
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PAUL SIMON's new CD!

Post by Wallingford » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:55 pm

PAUL SIMON--Surprise

I just thought the latest effort from the man whose lyrics I'm forever quoting from (as my "signature" on this site) would be apropos here.

Paul Simon's career among pop musicians has been a refreshingly offbeat one. For well over three decades he has kept his public (and, admirably, his record labels) in perpetual suspense. Chameleon-like, he has slipped into this or that musical guise, especially in his post-Garfunkel years: first exploring black music (reggae and blues in his self-titled first solo album; and gospel and dixieland in There Goes Rhymin' Simon).

Then, he tried his hand at ultra-sophisticated pop songwriting, for which he took the trouble to take lessons (in Still Crazy After All These Years.....in my college days I was awestruck to see this disc in nearly all the jazz students' collections). He tackled incidental film music for One Trick Pony; more black music with the famed Graceland (recorded with Joseph Shabalala & Ladysmith Black Mambazo); Brazilian (Rhythm Of The Saints); a flop musical (the potty-mouthed Songs From The Capeman); and now, with veteran Brian Eno, New-Age style elctronica with the present effort.

One should very well ask: Does this make him an IMPERSONAL artist with all that help? Does he lean too much on outside help? Dedidedly not, for stripping away the "extra dressing," one finds each time the soul of a 60s-style folkie, one forever tuned in to the world's happenings. It's obvious, of course, when listening to his leaner-textured offerings (the debut solo album has the best examples); he always had a very dry way of putting across his droll lyrics which show that poetry with exact rhymes is alive and well.

Perhaps it is this very quality that rubs old diehard "....And Garfunkel" fans the wrong way. But now more than ever, in the grand scheme of things, Art Garunkel was really JUST ANOTHER COLLABORATOR.

In the present CD one has to really focus before being put into contact with our old friend Simon The Folkie. Headphone listening is the answer: Center yor attention on what goes on in the middle, rather than the much-touted "sonic landscape" Brian Eno spreads out widescreen-style over the stereo channels. In the middle one hears--eventually loud and clear--Simon's voice and his guitars. His guitar style has always mirrored his dry, wry singing style and (especially in light of his chronic hand problem) is greatly in abundance here.

Musically, there is nothing here as fetching or engaging as side one of Graceland; side two of Hearts And Bones; "Born At The Right Time," "The Obvious Child" and "Proof" from Rhythm Of The Saints; or ALL of There Goes Rhymin' Simon. There ARE some musically striking moments here, though--chiefly on "Beautiful," by virtue of the way Simon amusingly takes an octave leap into falsetto whenever he repeats the song's title. If we are to believe the song's lyrics, Simon seems to have taken up the hobby of adopting infants from around the globe:

We brought brand new baby
Back from Bangladesh,
Thought we'd name her Emily.


And we can add to this mainland China and Kosovo.

Also, the appearance of one of Simon's young children on the closing track, "Fathers And Daughters," during the song's refrain. (That kid REALLY can stay on key.)

And certainly, lyrics have been (I'll grudgingly admit) the BIG ATTRACTION of Simon's albums; my own little ritual after purchase has been to read all the lyrics first before hearing the album. And there are some warm, wise statements this time out (Simon apparently having come totally to terms with being a grandfather's age & even--I daresay--an equal acceptance of there being a God, albeit never being self-righteous about it). "Wartime Prayers" says it the best:

Times are hard, it's a hard time
But everybody knows all about hard times.
The thing is, what are you gonna do?
Well, you cry and try to muscle through
Try to rearrange your stuff
But when the wounds are deep enough,
It's all that we can bear,
We wrap ourselves in prayer.

Because you cannot walk with the holy,
If you're just a halfway decent man.
I don't pretend that I'm a mastermind
With a genius marketing plan.
I'm trying to tap into some wisdom,
Even a little drop will do.
I want to rid my heart of envy
And cleanse my soul of rage
Before I'm through.


He lays it even more on the line in "Outrageous":

Tell me, who's gonna love you when your looks are gone?
God will, like he waters the flowers on the window sill.
Take me, I'm an ordinary player in the key of C,
And my will was broken by my pride and my vanity.


There's a complicated kind of simplicity in Simon's summing-up of life's progression in "How Can You Live In The Northeast?":

Weak as the winter sun, we enter life on earth.
Names and religion comes just after date of birth.
Then everybody gets a tongue to speak,
And everyone hears an inner voice,
A day at the end of the week to wonder and rejoice.


Even with the above-mentioned reservations, this is, nothing more and nothing less, another Simon album I'm willing to explore further to reap unexpected riches. Simon once again did his legendary integrity well.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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Post by Ralph » Fri Jun 02, 2006 7:19 pm

He's goin' strong but I'll stick with the Simon and Garfunkel albums of my youthful days.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Jun 02, 2006 7:27 pm

Simon's capacity for the poignant vignette is unsurpassed. Because the vignettes almost always involve relationships and loneliness and take on an added sharpness with the addition of Garfunkel's voice, I've never gotten over the breakup of the singer and the bard. My favorites:

Homeward Bound
The Boxer
The Dangling Conversation
Old Friends, with it's sophisticated orchestral accompaniment that recalls Joshua Rifkin's work for Judy Collins on her Wildflowers and Who Knows Where the Time Goes albums
For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
Kathy's Song
The Sun Is Burning
Even the overplayed Scarborough Fair
And that inimitable signature of innocent optimism, The 59th Street Bridge Song.
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:47 pm

I enjoyed their classics as a kid when I was already aware that popular music was never going to be anything important in my life, but the extent to which I knew what was going on was that in grad school, when Art Garfunkle appeared on Saturday Night Live which I was watching with some friends, I said, "Look it's Paul Simon!"

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Wallingford
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Post by Wallingford » Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:52 pm

Oh--HERE'S a prize piece of trivia:

When Pierre Boulez resided in New York in the 70s, he threw these arty parties, with many of the cognoscenti being invited. Paul Simon & his first wife, Peggy, were guests at one of these. Amusingly, Boulez couldn't keep their names straight, calling them "Al" and "Betty." This incident inspired, years later, Simon's lyric to "You Can Call Me Al":

If you'll be my bodyguard,
I can be your long-lost pal.
I can call you Betty;
And Betty, when you call me,
You can call me Al.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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Post by Madame » Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:55 pm

Corlyss_D wrote: I've never gotten over the breakup of the singer and the bard. My favorites:

Homeward Bound
The Boxer
The Dangling Conversation
Old Friends, with it's sophisticated orchestral accompaniment that recalls Joshua Rifkin's work for Judy Collins on her Wildflowers and Who Knows Where the Time Goes albums
For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
Kathy's Song
The Sun Is Burning
Even the overplayed Scarborough Fair
And that inimitable signature of innocent optimism, The 59th Street Bridge Song.
Some of my faves:
The Boxer (definitely)
El Condor Pasa
Sound of Silence
Bridge Over Troubled Water -- song AND album
Mrs. Robinson (that's how I fell in love with Dustin Hoffman, LOL)
Cecilia
Baby Driver

Hated: So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
Depressing: Richard Cory

______________________________
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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:04 pm

As a staunch Paul Simon aficionado I am loath to say that his latest offering is sonic drivel

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:38 pm

Ted wrote:As a staunch Paul Simon aficionado I am loath to say that his latest offering is sonic drivel
TED! Good to see you again! "Sonic drivel!" I love it!
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:39 pm

Madame wrote:You can't talk your way out of something you behaved your way into
Hey, Madame. Love your signature.
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Madame
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Post by Madame » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:44 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Madame wrote:You can't talk your way out of something you behaved your way into
Hey, Madame. Love your signature.
Thanks -- I forgot to credit it to our man Stephen Covey. I actually heard him say it in person, not more than 10 feet away from me. Cool.

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Re: PAUL SIMON's new CD!

Post by Madame » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:10 pm

Wallingford wrote:PAUL SIMON--Surprise

I just thought the latest effort from the man whose lyrics I'm forever quoting from (as my "signature" on this site) would be apropos here.

Paul Simon's career among pop musicians has been a refreshingly offbeat one. For well over three decades he has kept his public (and, admirably, his record labels) in perpetual suspense. Chameleon-like, he has slipped into this or that musical guise, especially in his post-Garfunkel years: first exploring black music (reggae and blues in his self-titled first solo album; and gospel and dixieland in There Goes Rhymin' Simon).
Even with the above-mentioned reservations, this is, nothing more and nothing less, another Simon album I'm willing to explore further to reap unexpected riches. Simon once again did his legendary integrity well.
There was S & G, and I loved them, and even more, hated when they broke up. But along came SIMON, and he had me hooked from the beginning:

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
Its a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of edu---cation
Hasnt hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the worlds a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama dont take my kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know theyd never match
My sweet imagination
And everything looks worse in black and white

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the worlds a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama dont take my kodachrome away

Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:45 pm

Hey CD!
Let me snoop around a bit and see what's happening 'round these parts
Later Palette

Wallingford
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Post by Wallingford » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:39 pm

Another piece of trivia: During the making of the album Bridge Over Troubled Water, S&G had a major tiff over Simon's desire to include a twelfth song, which he wrote: "Cuba Si, Nixon No." Garfunkel wouldn't have any of it. It was possibly THE precipitating factor in their breakup.

Finally, I have a question that's bugged me for the last several years, regarding the recording of "The Boxer." There are two instruments I can't identify: I'm pretty sure now that the lovely solo inbetween the second verse and second chorus is done by a STEEL GUITAR. But in the finale (where S&G repeat INTERMINABLY the "lie-la-lie"), just what IS that low-pitched instrument resonating over the last two repetitions? You know, the pedal-point reiteration between "A" and "E"??? It sounds more than anything else like a jumbo-jet. Anyone who's figured this out, let me know!
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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Post by karlhenning » Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:05 pm

Wallingford wrote:Oh--HERE'S a prize piece of trivia:

When Pierre Boulez resided in New York in the 70s, he threw these arty parties, with many of the cognoscenti being invited. Paul Simon & his first wife, Peggy, were guests at one of these. Amusingly, Boulez couldn't keep their names straight, calling them "Al" and "Betty." This incident inspired, years later, Simon's lyric to "You Can Call Me Al"
I always suspected that pop music owed an unacknowledged debt to Boulez 8)
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