Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Paul Simon: still great after all these years

Two music giants rocked London last week, oh and Madonna was here as well (but I only really like her "Vogue" and RAY OF LIGHT and MUSIC mid-period) .... Bruce Springsteen attracted headlines as his Hyde Park concert had the plug pulled on it as it over-ran, but Paul Simon got rave reviews as per usual. Good to see his GRACELAND out in a new re-mastered edition too, this was played at the concert as well as his great solo hits. I absolutely loved his 1975 album STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, which was perfect for turning 30, every track was a standout and those songs like "My Little Town", "50 ways to leave your lover", "Have a good time" quickly became standards to join the others like "Mother and Child Reunion", "I Do It For Your Love", "Slip Sliding Away", "Something So Right" "Train in the Distance", "The Sound of Silence" etc., and of course we all loved his 1970 opus "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with Art Garfunkel. The infectious African rhythms of GRACELAND are still delighting and it remains a very influential world music album.

Simon for me is probably America's finest male song-writer and singer up there with Joni Mitchell. I can listen to them anytime and their extensive back catalogues. I liked Bob Dylan's mid-'60s stuff and the hippie era JOHN WESLEY HARDING and NASHVILLE SKYLINE and the later BLOOD ON THE TRACKS but thats about it regarding Dylan for me - as I preferred Tims Hardin and Buckley with that amazing elastic voice of his - as per previous post, Music label.  
A memory: 1966 when I am 20 and new in London and living on my own, still to make new friends. Paul Simon's "I Am A Rock" is playing and I identified so much with it, and "Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall". Great that Simon at 70 is still performing and touring. His recent album SO BEAUTIFUL OR SO WHAT is also marvellous and I am getting used to the new songs. Along with Joni his work is as essential to me as say Aretha or Joan Armatrading. One of the several Paul Simon compliations is an essential item then. He reminds us of music's ability to transport us to a land of grace.

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