Graceland [25th Anniversary Edition]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The simple answer to the question, "What made Graceland the most successful album of Paul Simon's solo career and one of the best albums of the 1980s?" is that Simon hit on the idea of combining his always perceptive songwriting with the little-heard mbaqanga music of South Africa, creating a fascinating hybrid that re-enchanted his old audience and earned him a new one. It is true that the South African angle including its controversial aspect during the apartheid days was a powerful marketing tool and that the catchy music succeeded in presenting listeners with that magical combination: something they'd never heard before that nevertheless sounded familiar. But there...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The simple answer to the question, "What made Graceland the most successful album of Paul Simon's solo career and one of the best albums of the 1980s?" is that Simon hit on the idea of combining his always perceptive songwriting with the little-heard mbaqanga music of South Africa, creating a fascinating hybrid that re-enchanted his old audience and earned him a new one. It is true that the South African angle including its controversial aspect during the apartheid days was a powerful marketing tool and that the catchy music succeeded in presenting listeners with that magical combination: something they'd never heard before that nevertheless sounded familiar. But there was more to it than that. For one thing, the album, as eclectic as any Simon had made, also delved into zydeco on "That Was Your Mother" on which Simon was accompanied by Good Rockin' Dopsie & the Twisters and into conjunto-flavored rock & roll on "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints" on which he was accompanied by Los Lobos. For another, beyond its aural delights, Graceland marked a surprising new lyrical approach though it was presaged by some songs on Hearts and Bones, if anyone was listening. For the most part, Simon abandoned a linear, narrative approach to his words, instead drawing highly poetic "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes", abstract "The Boy in the Bubble", and satiric "I Know What I Know" portraits of modern life, often charged by striking images and turns of phrase torn from the headlines or overheard in contemporary speech. When combined, the unusual musical contexts and surprising lyrics along with Simon's own ease and confidence as a singer made for a creative rebirth for an artist already known for a string of artistic accomplishments. As a result, Graceland went multi-platinum, won Grammys for Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the title song, and became the standard against which subsequent musical experiments by major artists were measured. Besides, it has a good beat and you can dance to it. [The 25th Anniversary edition of Graceland arrives in several different formats: a single-disc expanded by four cuts -- a demo of "Homeless," an alternate version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," an early version of "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints," and "The Story of 'Graceland' as Told by Paul Simon"; a double-disc that contains all those four tracks and adds demos of "You Can Call Me Al" and "Crazy Love" to the CD, then devotes a DVD to the acclaimed feature-length documentary Under African Skies; and a deluxe box, exclusively sold at Amazon, that separates the bonus tracks onto a second CD, adds a third CD of five live tracks recorded on a 1989 tour of Spain, then has the DVD of the documentary, in addition to various tchotchkes, books, and replicas. Among all these musical extras lie only two new archival cuts: the spare demos of "You Can Call Me Al" and "Crazy Love," items that are surely worth the time of the devoted, but what makes this worthwhile for those who have purchased either of the previous reissues of Graceland -- the latest arriving in 2011, just months before the release of this deluxe set -- is the presence of Under African Skies, the feature directed by Joe Berlinger who helmed the Metallica doc Some Kind of Monster, who doesn't shy away from some of the uncomfortable questions surrounding the creation of Graceland.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/5/2012
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • UPC: 886919147124
  • Catalog Number: 191471
  • Sales rank: 11,118

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Boy in the Bubble (3:59)
  2. 2 Graceland (4:51)
  3. 3 I Know What I Know - General MD Shirinda & The Gaza Sisters (3:13)
  4. 4 Gumboots - The Boyoyo Boys (2:44)
  5. 5 Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (5:51)
  6. 6 You Can Call Me Al (4:40)
  7. 7 Under African Skies (3:37)
  8. 8 Homeless (3:48)
  9. 9 Crazy Love, Vol. 2 - Stimela (4:19)
  10. 10 That Was You Mother - Rockin' Dopsie & The Twisters (2:52)
  11. 11 All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints - Los Lobos (3:18)
  12. 12 Homeless (2:30)
  13. 13 Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (4:41)
  14. 14 All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints [Ve (3:17)
  15. 15 You Can Call Me Al (2:04)
  16. 16 Crazy Love (2:32)
  17. 17 The Story of "Graceland" (9:38)
Disc 2
  1. 1 How We Begin to Remember
  2. 2 Comparing Notes
  3. 3 A Chance in a Million
  4. 4 I Know What I Know
  5. 5 A Different Perspective
  6. 6 He Is My Brother
  7. 7 Roy Halee Goes to Work
  8. 8 London Sessions
  9. 9 Do You Think People Are Going to Like This?
  10. 10 Immediate Praise?
  11. 11 Setting a Tone of Hope
  12. 12 Zimbabwe
  13. 13 The Roots of the Rhythm Remain
  14. 14 Whoopi Goldberg
  15. 15 Harry Belafonte
  16. 16 Ray Phiri
  17. 17 Barney Rachabane
  18. 18 Hugh Masekela
  19. 19 You Can Call Me Al
  20. 20 The Boy in the Bubble
  21. 21 Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  22. 22 Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes [Saturday Night Live, November 22, 1
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paul Simon Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals, Synclavier, 6-string Electric Bass
Ladysmith Black Mambazo Vocals
Adrian Belew Guitar
The Everly Brothers Vocals
Linda Ronstadt Vocals
Jon Faddis Trumpet
Rob Mounsey Synthesizer
Barney Rachabane Saxophone
Alex Foster Alto Saxophone
Ralph MacDonald Percussion
Steve Berlin Saxophone
Steve Gadd Drums
Earl Gardner Trumpet
Diane Garisto Background Vocals
Morris Goldberg Soprano Saxophone, Penny Whistle, Soloist
David Hidalgo Guitar, Accordion, Vocals
Conrad Lozano Bass
Isaac Mtshali Drums
Youssou N'Dour Percussion
Sherman Robertson Guitar
Cesar Rosas Guitar, Vocals
Alan Rubin Trumpet
Alton Rubin Accordion
Joseph Shabalala Vocals
Assane Thaim Percussion
Vusi Khumalo Drums
Makhaya Mahlangu Percussion
Ronald E. Brecker Trumpet
Babacar Faye Percussion
Johnny Hoyt Saxophone
Lloyd Lelose Bass
Petrus Manile Drums
Lulu Masilela Tambourine
Jonhjon Mkhalali Accordion
Forere Motloheloa Accordion
Teaspoon Ndlela Saxophone
Leonard Pickett Tenor Saxophone
Daniel Xilakazi Guitar, Rhythm
Louie Pérez Drums
Bakithi Kumalo Bass
Chikapa "Ray" Phiri Guitar
David W. Bargeron Trombone
David Rubin Washboard
Mike Makhalemele Saxophone
Demola Adepoju Pedal Steel Guitar
Kim Allan Cissel Trombone
Lewis Michael Soloff Trumpet
Ronald E. Cuber Baritone Saxophone, Bass Saxophone
Alton Rubin Jr. Drums
Alonzo Johnson Bass
Gaza Sisters Vocals
Michele Cobbs Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Paul Simon Arranger, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Liner Notes
Adam Block Executive Producer
Greg Calbi Mastering, Remastering
Roy Halee Engineer
Joseph Shabalala Composer
Geoff Gans Art Direction
Lulu Masilela Composer
Jonhjon Mkhalali Composer
Forere Motloheloa Composer
Ethan Russell Director
Jeri McManus Art Direction
Gary Heery Back Cover Photo
Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff Art Direction
Joe Berlinger Director, Producer
Jim Blashfield Director, Producer
Chikapa "Ray" Phiri Arranger
Gary Weis Director
Eddie Simon Executive Producer, Management
Akil Brown Producer
Steve Berkowitz Producer
Daniel Hersch Mastering
Jeff Kramer Management
Mike Reilly Engineer
General M. D. Shirinda Composer
Justin Wilkes Producer
Jon Kamen Producer
Frank Scherma Executive Producer
Robert Friedman Executive Producer
Mandy Eidgah Marketing
Jennifer Feinberg Marketing
Jesse Kornbluth Liner Notes
Gil Aronow Executive Producer
Molly Thompson Executive Producer
Sara Enright Producer
Richard Story Executive Producer
Robert Debitetto Executive Producer
Nigel Siegel Org Producer
David McKillip Executive Producer
Amy Goldberg Producer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Comeback Album That Made A Difference

    In the 1980's, South Africa had more than 15 millions blacks who lived under the brutal, segregationist system of apartheid, ruled by only a few million whites. Nelson Mandella was still in prison for trying to overthrow that system. And any entertainer who performed in South Africa ran the risk of landing on the United Nations blacklist. One person who defied that risk was Paul Simon, whose career had been floundering since his on-again, off-again reunion with Art Garfunkel in 1981. The result was "Graceland", which not only didn't put Simon on that blacklist and resuscitated his career but it helped bring greater awareness to the tremendous talent of the South African musicians who lived under these harsh conditions.

    It's no secret that Simon was always fascinated with black music. His first solo album was partly recorded in Jamaica ("Mother And Child Reunion"). "Loves Me Like A Rock" sounds like the best Gospel song ever written by a Jewish New Yorker. And "Hearts And Bones" was supposed to have been a doo-wop record with Simon and Garfunkel. "Graceland", however, was an entirely different kind of beast. Simon recorded this album with a bevvy of South African musicians that included Miriam Mekaba, Hugh Maskella and The Ladysmith Black Mambazzo. These musicians give Simon's folk and soulful songs a more joyful, loopy bouyancy and even a positive attitude (all the more remarkable given the conditions at the time). Many of these musicians toured with Simon and as they did, their stories came out and helped expose the daily, grinding nature of an ugly, racist government.

    This 25th anniversary collection features the album in its entireity as well as a few outtakes, the best of which are the accepella numbers Simon did with The Ladysmith Black Mambazzo ("Homeless" and "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes" are particular stand-outs). There is also a DVD which features the videos Simon did at the time---yes, Simon is here with Chevy Chase doing the hit single, "You Can Call Me Al". But the DVD also features a wonderful documentary, "Under African Skies", detailing the making of this landmark album. Just watching this documentary makes you gasp at just how hard it was for Simon and these musicians to make this record. Though it took place 25 years ago, it seems like a hundred.

    Since this record came out, South Africa has long since abolished its apartheid policies. Nelson Mandella was released from prison and later became the country's President. As for Simon, who has been elected to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice, he continues to explore new ways to express himself through music. Like Steven Van Zandt's Artists United Against Apartheid "Sun City" album, Paul Simon's "Graceland" made you think as well as dance. And yes, it truly made a difference.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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