An American Tune - 3 looks at a masterpiece

Just a perfect song

Paul Simon: Back In 'Graceland' With 'So Beautiful' : NPR

Three different takes, all performed live.  “Still you don’t expect to be bright and bon vivant so far away from home.”

None of these are the studio version. To me, no long truly lives until it is performed live.  Often, after hundreds of times.  Look at the Dead’s take on Stagger Lee.  Studio cut from 1980 is a sleeper, to put it lightly.  It took a while, but by very late 80s, that song became a barn burner.

I think one of the things I love about this Paul Simon tune is its intimacy.  All versions feel like they are being whispered in my ear.  Who did it best?  Tough to say, but I am not sure it’s Paul Simon.  Note, this song was originally just a Paul Simon tune (not Simon and Garfunkel).  Simon and Garfunkel were broken up before any of us were even born.  Like the Beatles, they were broken up in 1970.  Know who else broke up in 1970?  Crosby, Still, and Nash.

Odds are Rolling Stones began breaking up around then, too.

the song below is from 1973, but these are far more recent.  the Simon and Garfunkel clip is from Fall 1980.  the Concert in Central Park.

Dave Matthew's version is from the Colbert Show last year (2019).  If you are reading this in the future, perhaps you are wondering why he is singing from a toilet.  Yes, he is.  The reason is this is still the Covid era, so people couldn't leave their houses.

and the Glen Phillips one?  Not sure, I think about 5 years ago.  If he looks or sounds familiar, he should.  He is 'Toad the Wet Sprocket'.

and... bathrooms have AMAZING acoustics because of all the ceramics.  Jimmy Page recorded a lot of Bonham's sound in bathrooms.  And, the bathroom gave us this series... the Bathroom Sessions.




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