Paul Simon: There Goes Rhymin’ Simon

Simon expands his reach with third solo effort

Simon’s third solo album (including 1965’s The Paul Simon Songbook), found the singer-songwriter expanding upon the freedom he’d displayed on the previous year’s eponymous release. The branching out displayed with reggae, Latin and South American sounds was now expanded with bluesy doo-wop, New Orleans pop, gospel and Memphis soul. Simon deftly choreographed an impressive guest list that includes The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Roches, horns arranged by Alan Toussaint and strings arranged by Quincy Jones. His mastery weaves multiple studios, dates and backing bands (including the players of Muscle Shoals) into a surprisingly cohesive album.

Beyond the album’s hits (“Kodachrome” and “Love Me Like a Rock”), Simon produced an album of memorable songs that set themselves apart from his earlier work with Art Garfunkel. The brass party on “Take Me to the Mardi Gras,” gospel backing vocals of “Tenderness,” Jamaican style of “Sunny Day,” and country underpinnings of “St. Judy’s Comet” were fresh to Simon’s catalog, and even the Garfunel-esque “American Tune” feels like a declaration of independence with Simon singing unaccompanied. Legacy’s 2011 reissue reuses Bill Inglot’s remastering and the four bonus demo tracks of Rhino’s 2004 reissue. Legacy’s traded out Rhino’s digipack for a standard jewel case and a 12-page booklet of lyrics and pictures. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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