Friday Song: Paul Simon
One of America’s greatest songwriters remains Paul Simon, who never settled into an easy pop groove, always challenging himself and seeking new ways to deliver music, from the streets of New York to the deserts of South Africa. Simon entered the 1980’s with a vengeance with his 1986 album “Graceland,” creating much controversy by breaking the ban on musicians playing there. His point was that exposing the rich musical heritage of South Africa to the world could only help the racially divided nation. And Simon also believed that art has no borders. He was proven correct by the phenomenal success of the LP, which re-invented the songwriter for the 80’s, and gave the musicians Simon played with an appreciative global audience. It’s a staggering record with expert craftsmanship and Simon’s wry, thoughtful lyrics. “The Mississippi delta was shining like a national guitar” is poetry my friend. As is this whole incredible song, possibly the peak of his writing skillz, performed here in Zimbabwe by Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. My late father loved this song and disc, and it seems a fitting epitaph for the last summer tune of the year.