Incorporating The Music Fix
28th June 2012 10:50:00
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Paul Simon - Graceland - 25th Anniversary Edition

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With his career in a critical and commercial lull, Paul Simon made a shift into world music that yielded dividends with the release of 1986's Graceland, one of the best albums of that - or any decade. Take your pick of highlights from the audaciously dark, accordion-led opener, 'The Boy In The Bubble', the shimmering pop perfection of 'You Can Call Me Al', the irresistibly elegant tones of Ladysmith Black Mambazo on 'Homeless', or even the infectious closer 'All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints'. Quite simply, Graceland has no weak points and is an album that holds up as well today as it did on release.

That should be all there is to say but even today, a quarter of century on, the whiff of controversy still lingers around Simonís boycott-breaking decision to record in a South Africa still living under apartheid. The issues are skilfully addressed in the accompanying DVD of Joel Berlinger's Under African Skies, that takes a candid and refreshingly unbiased look at the whole affair. Kudos to Simon for agreeing to its inclusion in this package which also includes a number of demos, alternate versions and videos that add to an already impressive set. Ultimately though, all you need to know is that Graceland was - and still is - a stone cold classic that played a significant part in introducing the music of an entire continent to the wider world.
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About Greg Belton
Despite being a seasoned gig goer for more years than I care to remember, Iím a fairly recent convert to writing about music. My tastes have undergone seismic shifts over the years and now take in punk, indie, goth, metal, Americana and anything else with a nice tune. A not too secret penchant for the work of Nick Cave will probably be reflected in the amount of his music I own. All plaudits greatly welcome - all criticism can be filed directly in the bin.