Saturday, 6 June 2015

"The Complete Albums Collection" by PAUL SIMON (2013 Sony/Legacy 14-Album/15-CD Mini Box Set – Vic Anesini Remasters)




“...Something So Right...”

In 2015 Paul Simon has had a fourth number one album in an incredible (and at times choppy) career – albeit with a compilation that combines both Simon and Garfunkel with his Solo material for the first time. Got in mind of this Box Set peach. Classy presentation, gorgeous remastered Audio and a wad of Previously Unreleased stuff for those who haven’t bought the previous reissues. It’s even turned up on sale of late with a price that will entice. Frankly what’s not to love? The man’s day job as intelligent generational spokesman seems in tact. Here are the rhymin' details...

UK released October 2013 – "The Complete Albums Collection" by PAUL SIMON on Sony/Legacy 88691912922 (Barcode 886919129229) is a 14-album/15CD Mini Box Set with 5” Repro Card Sleeves and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 – "The Paul Simon Song Book" (38:48 minutes):
1. I Am A Rock
2. Leaves That Are Green
3. A Church Is Burning
4. April Come She Will
5. The Sound Of Silence
6. A Most Peculiar Man
7. He Was My Brother [Side 2]
8. Kathy’s Song
9. The Side Of A Hill
10. A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara’d Into Submission)
11. Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall
12. Patterns
BONUS TRACKS:
13. I Am A Rock – Alternate Version
14. A Church Is Burning – Alternate Version
Tracks 1 to 12 are his debut album "The Paul Simon Song Book" – released May 1965 in the UK on CBS Records BPG 62979 (Mono) and CBS SBPG 62979 (Stereo). It was unissued (at Simon's request) in the USA until the "Collected Works" 5LP Box Set in 1981. First official CD appearance in the USA in 2004 - the CD uses the MONO mix. Tracks 13 and 14 are Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks that came with the 2004 CD reissue - Vic Anesini/Bob Irwin Remasters.

Disc 2 – "Paul Simon" (43:12 minutes):
1. Mother And Child Reunion
2. Duncan
3. Everything Put Together Falls Apart
4. Run That Body Down
5. Armistice Day
6. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard [Side 2]
7. Peace Like A River
8. Papa Hobo
9. Hobo's Blues
10. Paranoia Blues
11. Congratulations
BONUS TRACKS:
12. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard (Demo Recorded In San Francisco, February 1971)
13. Duncan (Demo Recorded In San Francisco, February 1971)
14. Paranoia Blues – Unreleased Version
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Paul Simon" – released January 1972 in the USA on Columbia KC 30750 and February 1972 in the UK on CBS Records S 69007

Disc 3 – "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" (50:08 minutes):
1. Kodachrome
2. Tenderness
3. Take Me To The Mardi Gras
4. Something So Right
5. One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor
6. American Tune [Side 2]
7. Was A Sunny Day
8. Learn How To Fall
9. St. Judy’s Comet
10. Loves Me Like A Rock
BONUS TRACKS:
11. Let Me Live In Your City – Work In Progress
12. Take Me To The Mardi Gras – Acoustic Demo
13. American Tune – Unfinished Demo
14. Loves Me Like A Rock – Acoustic Demo
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 3rd studio album "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" – released May 1973 in the USA on Columbia KC 32280 and in the UK on CBS Records S 69035. "Let Me Live In Your City" is a demo for "Something So Right". 2004 Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch remaster.

Disc 4 – "Paul Simon In Concert: Live Rhymin'" (59:25 minutes):
1. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
2. Homeward Bound
3. American Tune
4. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
5. Duncan
6. The Boxer
7. Mother And Child Reunion [Side 2]
8. The Sound Of Silence
9. Jesus Is The Answer
10. Bridge Over Troubled Water
11. Loves Me Like A Rock
12. America
BONUS TRACKS:
13. Kodachrome
14. Something So Right
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Paul Simon In Concert: Live Rhymin'" – released April 1974 in the USA on Columbia PC 32855 and in the UK on CBS Records 69059.

Disc 5 – "Still Crazy After All These Years" (45:32 minutes):
1. Still Crazy After All These Years
2. My Little Town [with Art Garfunkel]
3. I Do It For Your Love
4. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
5. Night Game
6. Gone At Last [with Phoebe Snow and the Jessy Dixon Singers] [Side 2]
7. Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy
8. Have A Good Time
9. You’re Kind
10. Silent Eyes
BONUS TRACKS:
11. Slip Slidin' Away – Demo
12. Gone At Last – Original Demo with the Jessy Dixon Singers
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 4th studio album "Still Crazy After All These Years" – released October 1975 on Columbia PC 33540 and in the UK on CBS Records S 86001.

Disc 6 "One-Trick Pony" (50:33 minutes):
1. Late In The Evening
2. That’s Why God Made The Movies
3. One-Trick Pony
4. How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns
5. Oh Marion
6. Ace In The Hole [Side 2]
7. Nobody
8. Jonah
9. God Bless The Absentee
10. Long, Long Day
BONUS TRACKS:
11. Soft Parachutes – Unreleased Soundtrack Recording
12. All Because Of You – Outtake
13. Spiral Highway – Unreleased Soundtrack Recording
14. Stranded In A Limousine – One of two new Exclusive Studio Tracks on the November 1977 LP "Greatest Hits, etc." – the other was "Slip Slidin' Away" which is not in this box set (only a Demo Version is).
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "One-Trick Pony" (Soundtrack to a movie) – released August 1980 in the USA on Warner Brothers HS 3472 and in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56846.

Disc 7 – "Hearts And Bones" (54:28 minutes):
1. Allergies
2. Hearts And Bones
3. When Numbers Get Serious
4. Think Too Much (b)
5. Song About The Moon
6. Think Too Much (a) [Side 2]
7. Train In The Distance
8. Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War
9. Cars Are Cars
10. The Late Great Johnny Ace
BONUS TRACKS:
11. Shelter Of Your Arms – Work In Progress
12. Train In The Distance – Original Acoustic Demo
13. Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War – Original Acoustic Demo
14. The Late Great Johnny Ace – Original Acoustic Demo
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Hearts And Bones" – released October 1983 in the USA on Warner Brothers 9 23942-1 and in the UK/Europe on Warner Brothers 92-23942-1.

Disc 8 – "Graceland" (68:01 minutes):
1. The Boy In The Bubble
2. Graceland
3. I Know What I Know
4. Gumboots
5. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
6. You Can Call Me Al [Side 2]
7. Under African Skies
8. Homeless
9. Crazy Love, Vol. II
10. That Was Your Mother
11. All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints
BONUS TRACKS:
12. Homeless – Demo
13. Diamonds On The Soles On Her Shoes – Alternate Version
14. All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints – Early Version
15. You Can Call Me Al – Demo
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Graceland" – released August 1986 on Warner Brothers 9 25447-1 in the USA and in the UK on Warner Brothers WX 52

Disc 9 – "The Rhythms Of The Saints" (61:57 minutes):
1. The Obvious Child
2. Can’t Run But
3. The Coast
4. Proof
5. Further To Fly
6. She Moves On
7. Born On The Right Time
8. The Cool, Cool River
9. Spirit Voices
10.The Rhythm Of The Saints
BONUS TRACKS:
11. Born At The Right Time – Original Acoustic Demo
12. Thelma – Outtake (First issued 1993 on "Paul Simon 1964-1993")
13. The Coast – Work In Progress
14. Spirit Voices – Work In Progress

Disc 10 – "Paul Simon's Concert In The Park" (Disc 1 – 55:54 minutes):
1. The Obvious Child
2. The Boy In The Bubble
3. She Moves On
4. Kodachrome
5. Born At The Right Time
6. Train In The Distance
7. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
8. I Know What I Know
9. The Cool, Cool River
10. Bridge Over Troubled Water
11. Proof
Disc 11 – "Paul Simon's Concert In The Park" (Disc 2 – 61:53 minutes):
1. The Coast
2. Graceland
3. You Can Call Me Al
4. Still Crazy After All These Years
5. Loves Me Like A Rock
6. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
7. Hearts And Bones
8. Late In The Evening
9. America
10. The Boxer
11. Cecilia
12. The Sound Of Silence
Originally released November 1991 in the USA on Warner Brothers 26737-2 as a 2CD set.

Disc 12 – "Songs From The Capeman" (66:20 minutes)
1. Adios Hermanos
2. Born In Puerto Rico
3. Satin Summer Nights
4. Bernadette
5. The Vampires
6. Quality
7. Can I Forgive Him
8. Sunday Afternoon
9. Killer Wants To Go To College
10. Time Is An Ocean
11. Virgil
12. Killer Wants To Go To College II
13. Trailways Bus
BONUS TRACKS:
14. Shoplifting Clothes
15. Born In Puerto Rico – Demo with Jose Feliciano
15. Can I Forgive Him – Original Demo
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "Songs For The Capeman" – released November 1997 on Warner Brothers 46814

Disc 13 – "You're The One" (56:40 minutes):
1. That's Where I Belong
2. Darling Lorraine
3. Old
4. You’re The One
5. The Teacher
6. Look At That
7. Senorita With A Necklace Of Tears
8. Love
9. Pigs, Sheep And Wolves
10. Hurricane Eyes
11. Quiet
BONUS TRACKS:
12. That's Where I Belong – Live
13. Old – Live
14. Hurricane Eyes – Live
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "You're The One" – released October 2000 on Warner Brothers 47844. Tracks 12 to 14 are from "You're The One: In Concert", Warner Home Video 38529, released February 2001

Disc 14 – "Surprise" (45:19 minutes):
1. How Can You Live In The Northeast?
2. Everything About It Is A Love Song
3. Outrageous
4. Sure Don't Feel Like Love
5. Wartime Prayers
6. Beautiful
7. I Don't Believe
8. Another Galaxy
9. Once Upon A Time There Was An Ocean
10. That's Me
11. Father And Daughter
Tracks 1 to 11 are the CD album "Surprise" – released May 2006 on Warner Brothers 49982

Disc 15 – "So Beautiful Or So What" (38:13 minutes):
1. Getting Ready For Christmas Day
2. The Afterlife
3. Dazzling Blue
4. Rewrite
5. Love And Hard Times
6. Love Is Eternal Scared Light
7. Amulet
8. Questions For The Angels
9. Love & Blessings
10. So Beautiful Or So What
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "So Beautiful Or So What" – released April 2011 on Warner Brothers 32814

The 62-page colour booklet is beautifully laid out – full track-by-track annotation (musicians, producers, studios etc) for every album. Inbetween the pages of info are period black and white photos – guitar on his back for “The Paul Simon Song Book” LP, the straw hat face shot for the “Paul Simon” LP and a live photo of Simon on stage with Ladysmith Black Mambazo before the credits for “Graceland”. As fans will already know many of the early albums were remastered in the 2000s by Ted Jensen and Vic Anesini – two names high on the list of those looking for quality audiophile. Produced by STEVE BERKOWITZ and BILL INGLOT, the whole box is listed as being mastering by VIC ANESINI at Sony Music Studios. There are also a couple of pages at the beginning by journalist ASHLEY KAHN on Simon’s long and prestigious career. Only one of the card sleeves is a gatefold (“There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”) and all have white rims around the front and rear artwork. A nice touch is that each CD is a picture disc (usually using the front cover artwork) and 37 Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks accompany the albums.

The rarely heard “Song Book” debut is a straight up Folk Acoustic record and with early versions of S&G tracks – it’s all the more beautiful for it. The remaster is tasteful – the ever so slight echo on his vocals for “A Church Is Burning” like he’s inside a chapel while the impossibly pretty “April Comes She Will” sounds like some Traditional Folk song that’s come from decades prior (already a classic). His wit is fabulous for “A Simple Desultory Philippic” and the “man ain’t got no culture!” lyrics always make me smile. His debut proper in 1972 produced two massive hits “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” and “Mother And Child Reunion” – but there are prettier gems in “Everything Put Together Falls Apart” and my fave-rave “Peace Like A River” – for me the best track on a great starting point (gorgeous vocal break).

Things started to really cook with 1973’s “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” and 1975’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” – with “Still” being an extraordinarily classy affair – winner after winner. Nuggets on “Rhymin’” are many – the vocal group slouch of “Tenderness” and the beauty of “Something So Right” – but I’ve always gotten the shivers for Side 2’s “St. Judy’s Comet” – it’s a typically brill Paul Simon song about famous daddy trying to get his daughter to sleep. The “Live Rhymin’” set has always seemed like a contractual stopgap to me – but relistening to it in remastered form is a bit of a Folky revelation. The crowd goes into rapture at the opening acoustic notes to “Homeward Bound” followed quietly by the pretty “American Tune”. Peruvian Folk Group Urubamba join Simon for a gorgeous rendition of “El Condor Pasa...” and the Jessy Dixon Singers tear into “Jesus Is The Answer” with a fervent passion that reminds me of Aretha’s mighty “Amazing Grace” double from 1972. In fact I suspect for many this unassuming live Seventies album/CD may be the thin discovery in this fat box set.

“Greatest Hits, etc.” gave us a stopgap LP in 1977 with two new studio songs - “Slip Slidin’ Away” and the brill “Stranded In A Limousine”. It won’t take many fans any time to work out that “Slip Slidin’ Away” is unfortunately conspicuous by its absence here (only a demo of it turns up as one of the bonus cuts) and it’s frankly a huge boo-boo on the blotter of this otherwise exemplary box set. I also think that fans should revisit the underappreciated “One-Trick Pony” LP – especially the lovely “Nobody” and “How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns”. You only ever seem to get the excellent bopper “Late In The Evening” on compilations these days. Another undiscovered masterpiece is 1983’s “Hearts And Bones” – and although it sports the most garish album artwork ever – gems include “Train In A Distance”, “Rene And Georgette Magritte With The Dog After The War” (for which I believe he won a Grammy) and the Johnny Ace/John Lennon tribute finisher “The Late Great Johnny Ace”. Inbetween is the witty “Cars Are Cars” and Al Di Meola’s astonishing guitar work on “Allergies”.

“Graceland” and “The Rhythm Of The Saints” need no introduction and there can’t be many households that don’t own these African and Brazilian rhythm giants (saw the Graceland Tour in the Royal Albert Hall with Lady Smith Black Mambazo – wow city). Although there are pretty vocal passages on the Puerto Rican album “Songs From The Capeman” on stuff like “Adios Hermanos” and “Bernadette” – I’ve tried again and again to give it the time of day but it resolutely refuses to fly. Those spoken passages inbetween tracks don’t illuminate either - if anything the whole project feels misjudged and ever so slightly patronising towards whitey. Musically it’s a no-go area for me. Things improve immeasurably with “You’re The One” – the Buddy Holly strum of “Old” and its lyrics about aging are funny while “Look At That” has that African rhythm again. “Love” sees Simon play gorgeous passages on Acoustic, Electric and Sitar Guitars while the album finisher “Quiet” has gorgeous atmospheric pipe instruments swirling around lyrics about a “time of quiet” – it feels almost Afro Celt Sound System or Peter Gabriel. The “Surprise” album took six years to arrive but was worth the wait with our Paul sounding world-weary (“How Can You Live In The Northeast”), contemplative (“Another Galaxy”) and naughty (“Outrageous”) all at the same time. Brian Eno helped out with the soundscapes but the album’s favourite son is the wicked “Father And Daughter” – a track that graced the recent “Ultimate Collection” compilation.

Although I’d admit that some of his later albums actually leave me cold (like the muse has abandoned him) – there’s so much spine-tingling goodness and cultural fabosity on offer here – that it’s nuts not to own it.

“...The deep forbidden music they’d been longing for...” Paul Simon sings on the beautifully crafted “Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War”.

Well pine no more – dig in and get some wood I say (in an entirely non-phallic metaphor kind of a way)...


No comments:

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc