Posts Tagged ‘Paul Simon’

I am without words today. It’s not that I’m not feeling a multitude of emotions or feelings. I just want to be quiet. This morning I somehow found myself listening to American Tune from Paul Simon, a song I’ve heard and enjoyed probably a thousand or more times before. But the lyrics jumped out at me this morning in a different way, like I hadn’t fully heard them all those many times before. Maybe it was just that they seemed to fit the moment so perfectly. It said everything I might have wanted to say had I had felt like talking.

There are three versions of the song here at the bottom from Paul Simon. The first was recorded just a few days ago for ‘Til Further Notice which is presenting virtual performances by different recording artists for the duration. The sound on this is not great but it’s certainly a heartfelt performance. The second is from a television performance from 1974, not long after he first introduced the song. The bottom version is one with the lyrics, which I suggest, even though it starts abruptly and has a number of grammatical errors in its transcription. Seeing these lyrics while hearing the song emphasizes the power of the words.

Sure worked for me. Hope you take a moment and listen.

Be good. Be careful. Have a good day.

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
But I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it’s all right, it’s all right
We’ve lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what went wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
and sing an American tune
But it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all, I’m trying to get some rest

Paul SimonAmerican Tune

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Paul Simon by Chuck CloseIt’s hard to believe that Paul Simon has been a major part of the American songbook for over 50 years, since The Sound of Silence arrived back in 1964.  If you want to get technical, Simon has been writing and recording since 1957.  So it’s closer to 60 years.  And through all that time, he has continued to move forward, never opting to cruise by on a well-built reputation and a deep body of stellar work.

His work has been a document of our times and a constant companion to many of us through out or lives.

At age 74, Paul Simon has released a new album, Stranger to Stranger, that continues his journey ahead.  On his terms.  The voice is not diminished.  The rhythms are still intriguing and the words and melodies bear his signature.  It’s all strong and distinct.

What more can you ask from an artist who you have known so well for so long?

The cover art for the album is a detail from a painting, shown above, of Simon painted by artist Chuck Close in his signature style.

So, for this Sunday morning’s music, here’s the title song from the new album, Stranger to Stranger.  Sit back, relax and have yourself a great Sunday.


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GC Myers-The Hidden Simple I wasn’t going to write anything today but there is a song that has been stuck in my head since hearing it the other day.  It’s one of those songs from the past that fades from memory but once it is reintroduced, becomes ever-present, at least for a short time.  And that’s where I am with Red Rubber Ball, a song made popular all the way back in 1966 by a short-lived band, The Cyrkle.  Their other hit was also a song with a catchy chorus, Turn Down Day.

This was never one of my favorites, at least consciously.  But it was so ingrained that the chorus just falls out once the song begins and, as I said, remains there for some time.  I found myself humming it this morning as I wandered through the woods to my studio at 6:30.  And there was no red rubber ball in the sky.

An interesting aside for this song is that Paul Simon co-wrote it with Bruce Woodley of  The Seekers, who also recorded it in 1966.  It has also been recorded by Neil Diamond and many others but the version that most folks remember, at least for short periods, is from The Cyrkle.  Here they are performing the song on a variety show in 1966, complete with keen matching outfits and a nifty set.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday.

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Last night on The Colbert Report, Paul Simon appeared and played a new Christmas  song called Getting Ready For Christmas.  Before singing he explained that it was based on a sermon from December of 1941, in the weeks after Pearl Harbor.  The preacher was the Reverend J.M. Gates, a fire-and-brimstone Baptist from Atlanta who was famous for recordings of his sermons in the years before his death in 1945.  I don’t know much about him.  Actually, I had never heard the name before last night.

But the song Simon played was pretty good and there were samples of Gates’ recordings in the background at certain points in the performance that intrigued me.  I don’t know exactly which sermon Simon sampled but there are several examples of Gates’ work online.  One, Death’s Black Train Is Coming, was his bestseller and is a great example.  My favorite however is Hitler and Hell which plays very well in the video off the sound of the footsteps of the jackbooted figure that goes through the darkness in it.  I’m thinking that one of the recordings in the advertisement shown here might be the one used in Simon’s song.  Will Your Coffin Be Your Santa Claus! sounds like it might be the one.  Funny, that with such a catchy title it never caught on like Jingle Bell Rock or  Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.

Anyway, gives a listen to the Rev. Gates, if you are so inclined and here’s Paul Simon’s new song, Getting Ready For Christmas.  It’s a very watchable video.

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