Reviews

First Listen: Paul Simon / Graceland 25th Anniversary Bonus tracks

Paul Simon / Graceland CD/DVD 25th Anniversary EditionPaul Simon‘s Graceland was reissued (in 2004) with three bonus tracks – the demo of Homeless, an alternate version of Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes and an early version of All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints.

The 25th Anniversary Reissue (due on 4 June) adds three further bonus tracks to this original offering. The CD/DVD edition has everything together on one disc, while the Collectors’ Box has the album by itself on one CD and all six bonus tracks on an additional CD. Below is a brief preview of this new bonus material.

You Can Call Me Al (Demo)

An interesting, but brief (just over two minutes) instrumental demo of the single. The familiar horn stabs are at this stage electric guitar chords. It’s a full sound though, rather than a solo demo – a group performance with guitar, bass, organ, drums and percussion, but really more of a groove at this stage. Pity there is no vocal.

Crazy Love (Demo)

Another instrumental, clearly from the same session as the You Can Call Me Al demo. It runs for just over two and a half minutes. The structure of the finished album track Crazy Love, Vol II is fairly much intact.

The Story Of “Graceland” as told by Paul Simon

Here is the surprise highlight when it comes to bonus material on the 25th Anniversary Edition of Graceland. This “story of Graceland” is the story of the SONG Graceland rather than the album.

For nine and a half minutes Paul Simon – as articulate as ever – talks us through the evolution of the track: “A very good example of how a collaboration works, even if you are not aware of it occurring”. He recalls how he came back from South Africa with only a drum track, demonstrates how the song developed, occasionally picking up his acoustic guitar, and we hear lots of isolated elements from the master version including the vocal contribution from The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, and the pedal-steel guitar line.

Simon tells us how he was finding himself singing lines about Graceland which he always intended to get rid of, since, in his words “what has Graceland got to do with South Africa?”.

What could have been a dryish spoken word, one-time listen, is actually absolutely fascinating and can be enjoyed repeatedly. Expertly edited together and utterly absorbing, this is easily the highlight of the (admittedly slight) bonus material.

A full review of both the Collectors’ Box and the CD/DVD edition is coming soon.

Pre-order your favoured configuration of Graceland 25 here including an exclusive  SIGNED collectors’ bundle.

You might also like…

8 responses to First Listen: Paul Simon / Graceland 25th Anniversary Bonus tracks

  1. Nah. I was excited to hear about this box cos I thought they would include the 5.1 mix this time around, but without it… I don’t feel like splurging for two 2.5-minute demos and an interview. The 2004 version sounds great as it is.

  2. Hedley says:

    And “under African skies” is on A&E tomorrow night . I will pass

  3. Hedley says:

    Paul
    Yes looking forward to the documentary. We saw the Graceland tour when it came through Detroit in 87. My wife’s favorite concert of all time.

    There is not enough unique material in this reissue to make me jump. Generally the bonus tracks on the Paul Simon reissues have been way too thin

  4. JB says:

    Thanks for this review. I haven’t got the 2004 version, so can you (or anyone else) comment on the three tracks carried over from there? How complete/interesting/different are they?

    Thanks!

  5. Hey JB, you can listen to them on grooveshark. I don’t find them very exciting. They’re nice to have, but not anywhere near essential. They’re demos or alternate takes, and, well, as such, they sound like stripped-down, unfinished versions of the songs we know and love.

    For me, the main attraction of the 2004 version was the remastering.

    I’d much prefer the extended remix of “The Boy in the Bubble”, which, albeit not stellar, adds some nice content to the song. Not sure why they keep omitting that one on the re-releases.

  6. JB says:

    Thanks for that, Matt.

    I currently only own Graceland on a (very nice) vinyl I picked up at a charity sale last year, so this release seemed like a good way to get the album digitally, some bonus tracks and the documentary (which I’ve not seen but have heard is good). Sounds like the bonus tracks might not be super-necessary, but I’m still hoping the package will be worthwhile overall (especially if it sounds as good as people are saying).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>