(2010) The Essential Paul Simon

Paul Simon

... read moreReleased five years after Warner's last Paul Simon comp, the single-disc The Paul Simon Collection: On My Way, Don't Know Where I'm Goin', the double-disc The Essential Paul Simon is a full 17 tracks heftier than its predecessor and contains all but one of its 19 songs (MIA is the latter-day "Love,...

02:29′:55″ 36 Songs

Disk 1

1
Mother And Child Reunion
Paul Simon
3:10
2
Loves Me Like A Rock
Paul Simon
3:40
3
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Paul Simon
2:45
4
Duncan
Paul Simon
4:29
5
Kodachrome
Paul Simon
3:35
6
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Paul Simon
3:37
7
Slip Slidin' Away
Paul Simon
4:43
8
Gone At Last
Paul Simon
3:41
9
Something So Right
Paul Simon
4:37
10
Late In The Evening
Paul Simon
4:03
11
Hearts And Bones
Paul Simon
5:39
12
Take Me To The Mardi Gras
Paul Simon
3:31
13
That Was Your Mother
Paul Simon
2:53
14
American Tune
Paul Simon
3:47
15
Peace Like A River
Paul Simon
3:23
16
Stranded In A Limosine
Paul Simon
3:11
17
Train In The Distance
Paul Simon
4:22
18
The Late Great Johnny Ace
Paul Simon
4:53
19
Still Crazy After All These Years
Paul Simon
3:27

Disk 2

1
Graceland
Paul Simon
4:51
2
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Paul Simon
5:34
3
The Boy In The Bubble
Paul Simon
4:00
4
You Can Call Me Al
Paul Simon
4:41
5
Under African Skies
Paul Simon
3:37
6
The Obvious Child
Paul Simon
4:10
7
Born At The Right Time
Paul Simon
3:48
8
The Cool, Cool River
Paul Simon
4:33
9
Spirit Voices
Paul Simon
3:56
10
Adios Hermanos
Paul Simon
4:42
11
Born In Puerto Rico
Paul Simon
5:03
12
Quality
Paul Simon
4:19
13
Darling Lorraine
Paul Simon
6:39
14
Hurricane Eye
Paul Simon
4:12
15
Father And Daughter
Paul Simon
4:11
16
Outrageous
Paul Simon
3:24
17
Wartime Prayers
Paul Simon
4:49
Released 12 July 2010, ℗ 2010 Sony Music Entertainment

Review

Released five years after Warner's last Paul Simon comp, the single-disc The Paul Simon Collection: On My Way, Don't Know Where I'm Goin', the double-disc The Essential Paul Simon is a full 17 tracks heftier than its predecessor and contains all but one of its 19 songs (MIA is the latter-day "Love," which only hardcore fans will recognize as from You're the One, and they're not quite the market for this set anyway). It's also slimmer than the 1993 box Paul Simon 1964/1993, which spanned three discs but also encompassed his '60s recordings with Art Garfunkel, plus a single the duo recorded as Tom & Jerry, along with selections from his solo debut, The Paul Simon Songbook -- it was ambitious, where this compilation is efficient, picking up after the parting of ways with Garfunkel and running straight through until 2006's Surprise. The sequencing isn't strictly chronological -- some songs are shuffled around for effect, with "Still Crazy After All These Years" closing the first, while "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" is cleverly followed by the zydeco stomp "That Was Your Mother" -- but it roughly divides into having the first disc devoted to the '70s and early '80s, the second devoted to Graceland and beyond. Some might argue that there's too heavy of a Graceland presence here -- a whopping six tracks, over half the album -- but it is his biggest album and functions as a nice transition between his better-known '70s hits and the more esoteric but frequently compelling work that he's done since. And, unlike The Paul Simon Collection, The Essential Paul Simon is designed to introduce fellow travelers to the interesting work he's done since Graceland, as the second disc emphasizes that quite greatly, and it does a good job of it, while also providing a good summary of his best-known (and much of his best) solo work. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine