By Nick Arietano Jr. The Record Lover
Hello Fellow Music Lovers!
Today’s discussion will revolve around Paul Simon’s 1986 Grammy Award Winning LP/CD “Graceland”, specifically the 25th Anniversary version 2 Disc Deluxe set.
These are (indeed sic) the days of miracle and wonder. This is the long distance call. The Way the camera follows us in slo-mo. The way we look to us all. Oh yeah.
Off we go to a musical and emotional journey courtesy of Paul Simon: A Musical and Poetic Genius. From his tenure with partner Art Garfunkel (1964-1970), to his fruitful solo career, Simon knew when to pull no punches when the time came to bare his soul to his audiences (i.e. “The Dangling Convesation”, “Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall”), and when to entertain (“The 59th Street Bridge Song”, “At The Zoo”). His previous solo efforts: “Paul Simon” (Self Titled), “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”, “Still Crazy After All These Years”, “Hearts and Bones”, contained good-bordering on great songs. However, I must say, “Graceland” is where Simon completely enjoys himself. There are so many different styles of music on this masterpiece. “I Know What I Know” is a great pop/rock song (and my very favorite on the album! Love singing along with it every time it comes out of the speakers!), and of course “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”.
There are also some heavy hitting musicians and back up singers which add to the magic of “Graceland”. The Everly Brothers share the spotlight with Simon on the title track, Linda Ronstadt lends her angelic vocals on the beautiful “Under African Skies” and the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the tracks “Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes” (which also features Joseph Shambalala on the intro a cappella portion).
The bonus material on the 2 CD set is amazing. Whether you’ve been a fan of this Grammy Award Winner since August of 1986, or just experiencing it for the first time, you’re in for the treat of your lives.
- “Homeless” (Demo version )-breathtaking early arrangement of the album track .
- “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes (Alternate Version)” -Features the bass (played awesomely by Bakithi Kumalo) and vocals only -WOW!
- “All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints (Early Version)”-Excellent!
- “You Can Call Me Al” (Demo) -Wonderful Alternate Instrumental recorded at Ovation studios in Johannesburg RSA (South Africa)
- “Crazy Love” (Demo) -Great instrumental also recorded in Ovation Studios Johannesburg RSA (South Africa)
The second disc contains the documentary “Under African Skies: Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey” (a wonderful viewing) with extended interviews featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Harry Belafonte, and the music videos “You can Call Me Al” (with Chevy Chase), “The Boy In The Bubble”, “Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes (original video)” and “Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes (From the Saturday Night Live Broadcast of November 22, 1986)”. Fans will also enjoy the full color booklet which features original liner notes from the LP back cover, as well as the lyrics to all of the songs.
The re-mastering of this CD set sounds fantastic! The soundstage and the instruments are evenly distributed through both the left and right channels, and the vocals are more clean and crisp sounding than the previous issues.
We come and we go. That’s A Thing I keep in the back of my head!
Your Friend and Mine,
Nick Arietano Jr The RecordLover