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Paul Simon

4.7 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Paul Simon
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Audio CD.

How does one follow a commercial smash on the scale of Bridge over Troubled Water, one of the blockbuster pop titles of the '60s? For Paul Simon, the strategy was simple--as in "Keep it simple." His 1972 solo debut is the bantam bookend to the expansive Bridge. Where the final Simon & Garfunkel LP was grand, Paul Simon is modest. Where Bridge served up lavish emotions, on his own Simon explored a kind of hooded, pensive melancholy. "Mother & Child Reunion," the first reggae arrangements many Americans ever heard, opens the album and casts a blue hue over the collection. An eclectic crew of players (including jazzmen Stephane Grappelli, Jerry Hahn, and Ron Carter) turn up in tunes that fit together as snugly as a winter wardrobe. By the time Larry Knechtel's electric piano fades away at the end of "Congratulations," Paul Simon, solo artist, has put that Bridge behind him and set off on his solo career. --Steven Stolder

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Mother And Child Reunion
  2. Duncan
  3. Everthing 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

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002LBV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,251 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After busting up Simon & Garfunkel, but before becoming a noted ethnomusicologist, Paul Simon was the essence of thoughtful pop craft. On his first few solo albums, he hired the best musicians to back him on songs that were carefully composed, lyrically as well as musically, with a poetic acuity backed by sounds that supported the words and vocals with just enough musical intrigue to warrant repeated listenings, and sometimes Top 40 hit status.

"Paul Simon" is his first solo album, and I think there may have been three hit singles off this, including one of the first efforts by a white, U.S. musician to use reggae players, "Mother and Child Reunion," "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," an antic look at the protest politics of the day (1970), and "Duncan" which made use of Inca pipe players. His lyrics were increasingly direct and autobiographical, seemingly influenced by the confessional school of poetry--except you always had the sense that Simon was always under control, never yielding to the call of the wild, but instead always studying and commenting ironically on his heartbreaks and confusions.

What I really like about this album is some of the musicianship. The session players Hal Blaine on drums and Larry Knechtel on electric piano shine throughout--Knechtel especially on the last song, "Congratulations." Stefan Grossman contributes wonderful slide guitar on "Paranoia Blues," and Simon's own playing on the great "Peace Like a River" is tasty. The late great Stephane Grappelli is given a chance to show off his fiddling on "Hobo's Blues," an instrumental.

The remastering cleans up what was already a very clean recording; the three extra tracks are fine, but not particularly essential.
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Format: Audio CD
This album represented Paul Simon's emancipation from the wearying exposure and constant pressures of fame as part of the Simon and Garfunkel phenomenon. With hints of his new directions rife in the final S&G album, "Bridge Over Troubled Water", this album showcases Simon's unique talents and creative interests with an eclectic, quirky, and yet gorgeously produced solo effort. From the haunting rhythms of "Mother And Child Reunion" to the comically intimate "Duncan", we sense more than a little autobiographical influence in all the songs. Commenting on his failed relationship with Art Garfunkel as well as his troubled first marriage, he gives us "Everything Put Together Falls Apart", a preview into his somewhat fateful notions about the inevitability of life changes and unavoidable heartache in later songs like "Slip Sliding Away".
On the other hand, we hear a more playful side of Simon with "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard", an upbeat number with intriguing lyrics and overlaced with a wonderfully latinized treatment. He shows his own concerns with a comical "Wear That Body Down", and a later take on trying to deal emotionally with a world gone crazy with "Peace Like A River". This is an album one must listen to appreciate, and the new directions Simon began with this album have now stretched out in a dozen or so albums and compilations. This is a terrific album and a brand new start for a man who had the courage and nerve to walk away from a phenomenally successful situation as half of Simon and Garfunkel to follow his own artistic heart. I highly recommend it. Enjoy!
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Format: Audio CD
Though not technically Paul Simon's solo debut - that honor goes to the acoustic performances he recorded for 1965's The Paul Simon Songbook - this first post-Simon & Garfunkel album does represent the true beginnings of Simon's massive success as a solo artist. Released in 1972, it came two years after Simon & Garfunkel bowed out with the Grammy winning Bridge Over Troubled Water, and the same year as the duo's greatest hits album topped the chart. Simon's re-debut was a strong artistic statement that was both commercially successful and the seedbed for experimentation and growth that would mark his solo career. The album opens with the reggae-inspired hit single "Mother and Child Reunion," and along with the Latin influences of "Me and Julio Down By the School Yard" and haunting Andean instrumental breaks in "Duncan," the melting pot of styles predicted the wealth of world music Simon would fold into his music.

At 32, Simon had matured from the sharp, at times bitter, worldview of his twenties. The difficulty of Simon & Garfunkel's end had given way to the freedom of a solo act, and there's a sense of renewed discovery in his characters and lyrical forms. The wayward "Duncan" recounts the education of a small-town fisherman's son into a clear-eyed world traveler, while the fragmentary allusions of "Mother and Child Reunion" are surprisingly open-ended and poetically opaque.
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