Classic Rock Corner

There Goes Rhymin' Simon: The First Four Books Of Paul

With Paul Simon's latest CD, So Beautiful or So What, released this spring, the reissue folks at Columbia/Legacy have embarked on a reissue project. Out of the box first this month are his four solo releases after the implosion of Simon and Garfunkel.

Coming on the heels of S&G's epic farewell, Bridge Over Troubled Water, the simply titled Paul Simon (1971) couldn't have been more different. This low-key effort shows Simon dipping his musical toes into different genres - something he continues to do today - be it singer-songwriter ("Duncan," "Congratulations"), jazz ("Run that Body Down"), ballads ("Armistice Day"), and blues ("Paranoia Blues").

The record also debuted two hits, the reggae-tinged "Mother and Child Reunion" and the jaunty "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" - though what Mama saw that was "against the law," he's never quite clarified... All in all, it's Paul Simon taking his first, almost shy steps into the solo spotlight. That's a theory borne out by the cover, which features Simon's face barely poking out of one of those huge fuzzy-hooded winter coats, making him look like a Jewish Eskimo.