Music review: 'Graceland' 25th Anniversary Edition

Music review: ‘Graceland' 25th Anniversary Edition
BY GENE TRIPLETT etriplett@opubco.com Published: June 29, 2012
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ROCK/WORLD MUSIC

Paul Simon ‘Graceland' 25th Anniversary Edition

Rhymin' Simon went exploring in 1986 and found a little-known treasure in South Africa called mbaqanga music.

Combining this hidden, rural Zulu style with his tartest songwriting chops, Paul Simon birthed a musical hybrid that made his sixth solo album, “Graceland,” one of the most acclaimed pop records of the '80s. It won Grammys for album of the year and song of the year for its title cut, brought Simon's career out of a slump, and became a major and lasting influence in modern music. It also yielded such durable gems as the poetically beautiful “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” the satirically barbed “I Know What I Know” and the rhythmically and lyrically playful “You Can Call Me Al,” the latter having been made into a hugely popular video co-starring Simon and an antic Chevy Chase.

The Legacy imprint is celebrating this milestone's birthday in ways large and small. “Graceland” 25th Anniversary Edition two-CD/two-DVD box set includes the remastered original album, the Joe Berlinger-directed documentary “Under African Skies” on the making of the album, the 1987 “African Concert” from Zimbabwe, three original music videos and the historic “Saturday Night Live” performance of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Simon and the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There is also Simon's audio narrative “The Story of Graceland,” replicas of Simon's lyrics pad and an original “Graceland” poster, an 80-page book featuring archival photos and interviews with Simon, and a short audio documentary of Simon talking about the making of the record.