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.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero