Tuesday, April 17, 2007

263. Paul Simon - Paul Simon (1972)

Track Listing

1. Mother and Child Reunion
2. Duncan
3. Everything Put Together Falls Apart
4. Run That Body Down
5. Armistice Day
6. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
7. Peace Like a River
8. Papa Hobo
9. Hobo's Blues
10. Paranoia Blues
11. Congratulations


The cover of the album give you an inkling of just how cool Paul Simon is... an anorak with a wooly hoody! He's so cool he doesn't care about being cool. From his 3 feet height he looks down on all us non-musical geniuses. Despite all that this is probably one of the best singer-songwriter albums of the 70's, there is not a miss here and each song is different enought to give you a glimpse of Simon's genius in all kinds of music.

Dropping Art Garfunkel was really not a bad thing at all for Paul Simon, I think Simon was holding himself back because of Art and when Art leaves you get to see where all the genius was. And it was with Simon. The album starts with Mother and Child Reunion; one year before Bob Marley's To Catch A Fire came out, Paul Simon was bringing Jamaican music to all of us. He follows that with Duncan with beautiful south american inspired pipes which surprisingly don't sound half as tacky as in El Condor Pasa.

Simon is all about the experimentation here, and while other artists will use experimentation for the sake of it, making it sound distorted and hard to listen to, Simon makes it harmonious and beautiful, even if they are sounds that you had never heard before. Simon's voice is just about the most pleasant thing you can think of and his guitar playing is not bad at all. In Hobo's Blues Simon actually attempts to be the Django Reinhart to Stephane Grappeli who guest stars in the album, and although not Django the track is still pretty successful. Simon's love for the sounds of the world would be explored at much greater lenghts in later albums, but the germ is here in a beautiful and pretty damn near perfect album. With Art went the schmaltzyness, the too prim harmonies and the pretentiousness, with Simon stayed all the brilliance. Get it today from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Mother And Child Reunion
2. Peace Like A River
3. Me And Julio Down By The School Yard
4. Duncan

Final Grade



About Mother and Child Reunion:

This song is considered to be one of the first attempts at reggae music by a white musician (although many scholars point to the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" as an earlier example of reggae by a white artist). The name has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish which Paul Simon saw on a menu at the Chinese restaurant Say Eng Look Restaurant in New York City's Chinatown.

Yes, but Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da was SHITE!

The best cover version EVER of Mother and Child Reunion:

Simon and Garfunkel do Me And Julio:


Mockup said...

About the Anorak with the fur lined hood - I grew up in Manhattan in the early 70s and EVERYBODY was wearing those in 71 and 72. They were called snorkel coats because of the elongated shape of the hood. This album reminds me so much of NY when I was a kid. "When the radical priest come to get me released we was all on the cover of Newsweek"

Keep it up, Mario. This blog is a treat. I look in from work every day to get my fix.

Francisco Silva said...

Mockup: It is a prettty amazing album indeed, and a very evocative one as well.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Mother & Child Reunion was kind of an allegory about the recent Beatles breakup... "I can't for the life of me remember a sadder day, I know they say 'Let It Be'". I don't think Simon has ever said EXACTLY what this song is about (he tends to let his songs speak for themselves), although he has denied the urban legend that Me & Julio is about a circle-jerk.