Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Album of the Day #129: PAUL SIMON

Title: Paul Simon
Artist: Paul Simon
Label: Columbia (now distributed by Warner Bros.)
Year: 1972
Songs: Mother And Child Reunion/Duncan/Everything Put Together Falls Apart/Run That Body Down/Armistice Day/Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard/Peace Like A River/Papa Hobo/Hobo's Blues*/Paranoia Blues/Congratulations
Written by: Paul Simon, except *Paul Simon & Stephane Grappelli
Produced by: Paul Simon & Roy Halee
Thoughts: It was pretty clear that Simon felt a little confined in the Simon & Garfunkel duo, despite the fact that he was the songwriter. Remember, he had to write songs for two people, songs that he could sing and songs that Garfunkel could sing. For his self-titled debut, Simon only had to write songs that fit his singing style and he could do whatever he wanted with his songs.
Even though it opens with the rather adventurous "Mother And Child Reunion", the remaining tracks are understated, mostly acoustic and delicate songs. "Duncan" is a heartbreaking story of a fisherman, which is contrasted by Los Incas (who Simon used on "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)"). "Everything Put Together Falls Apart" and "Run That Body Down" are two songs about going until you break. "Armistice Day" is another beauty and I think it's probably one of the hidden gems here. The second side, starting with "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard" is great too. "Peace Like A River" is a great, prayer-like track and the "Papa Hobo"/"Hobo's Blues" sequence is another part that highlights the plight of those that the well-off really don't think about. "Paranoia Blues" is really awesome, especially with the Bottleneck guitar by Stefan Grossman. The album closes with the attack "Congratulations", where Simon congratulates his love about breaking his heart again, something that seems a little odd. You don't celebrate the fact that someone hurts you, but here Simon uses it as his closer to his first solo-LP. It's surprising, but that's the whole point of the album; doing things that no one really expects.

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