NEGOTIATIONS AND LOVE SONGS 1971 - 1986 - PAUL SIMON
LABEL: Warner Bros.
TRACK LISTING: Mother and Child Reunion, Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard, Something So Right, St. Judy's Comet, Loves Me Like A Rock, Kodachrome, Have A Good Time, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Still Crazy After All These Years, Late in the Evening, Slip Slidin' Away, Hearts and Bones, Train In the Distance, Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War, Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes, You Can Call Me Al
IMPRESSIONS: Once more we have basically a greatest hits album - which I don't like to do except when I don't really own "actual" albums by an artist and this is one of those times. This is basically the only Paul Simon cd I own and I'm OK with that. Even though it makes the cardinal sin of omitting "American Tune" from the track list! I'm pretty sure this collection has been deleted in favour of newer "best of" cds but this is the one I prefer (again, I'd like "American Tune" added to it). I mean come on, the cover photo of Simon in fedora with film noir shadows falling across him can't be beat by the generic covers of later greatest hits albums. Grumpy ole Paul knocked out some substantial hits in the 70s and 80s period covered here before he co-opted African music on "GRACELAND" (which frankly left me cold as a Franco & OK Jazz fan). As 80's yuppies and critics were lauding GRACELAND as groundbreaking and original, I was thinking a chap named Peter Gabriel had been there before and managed to retain his own musical identity rather than simply copying another musical style. But here we have the post-Garfunkel and pre-Graceland Paul Simon - the one I grew up hearing in addition to the old Simon & Garfunkel records I loved. Simon's 70's work always showed him as a bit of a magpie with the slightly reggae rhythm of "Mother and Child Reunion" (named after a chicken and egg dish he spied on a menu), the slightly latin sound in the bouncy hop of "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" which bounces like a basketball in that very same schoolyard or the pseudo-gospel of "Loves Me Like A Rock". On this collection we also get the "nice bright colours" of "Kodachrome" (very S&G sounding), the jazzy sound and playful lyrical exercise of "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" and the masterpiece solo Simon of "Still Crazy After All These Years" (possibly my favourite song on the album). I'm also a huge fan of the subdued and biographical "Hearts and Bones" which delineates Simon's marriage to Carrie Fisher ("one and one half wandering Jews") and the smokestack railway sound of "Train In the Distance". Simon sweetly marries the surrealist painter Magritte with a loving evocation of 50's doo wop groups ("The Penguins, the Moonglows, the Orioles, the Five Satins...") which somehow works with the rocking chair atmosphere of this wonderful song. Then we come to the African explorations of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" (nicely dueting with Ladysmith Black Mambazo) and the delirious silliness of "You Can Call Me Al" which is just plain joyful. And then, of course, I prefer having this cd because I'm pretty sure Fink lost his copy.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Mother and Child Reunion, Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard, Loves Me Like A Rock, Kodachrome, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Still Crazy After All These Years, Slip Slidin' Away, Hearts and Bones, Train In the Distance, Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, You Can Call Me Al
GUEST ARTISTS: Ladysmith Black Mambazo (vocals on "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"), Cissy Houston (backing vocals on "Mother and Child Reunion"), the Dixie Hummingbirds (vocals on "Loves Me Like A Rock"), Phoebe Snow (backing vocals on "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover), Patti Austin (backing vocals on "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover"), the Oak Ridge Boys (vocals on "Slip Slidin' Away"), Jeff Porcaro (drums on "Train In the Distance"), the Harptones (vocals on "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War"), Youssou N'Dour (percussion on "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"), Adrian Belew (guitar synthesizer on "You Can Call Me Al")
FACT SHEET: NEGOTIATIONS AND LOVE SONGS is a greatest hits collection spanning the years 1971 and 1986.