Album Challenge Day 3: Graceland by Paul Simon

Graceland was kind of a comeback album for Paul Simon. Though, such an iconic songwriter maybe didn’t need a comeback. His previous album, Hearts and Bones, had not done well. Graceland was released the fall of 1986. It won the 1987 Grammy for album of the year. The South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo provided much of the backing vocals. Working with South African musicians in the mid-1980s meant he was breaking a UN cultural boycot agains South Africa for its policy of Apartheid. I think in the end, working with many African musicians was ultimately beneficial in lifting up the voices of African musicians oppressed by Apartheid. The title track is one of my all-time favorite songs. Of course, there is absolutely no chance of a solo guitar and voice replicating the complex bass part and harmonies that are a crucial component to the groove of Simon’s version. So, instead, I slow it down, simplify it, and break out the slide guitar for my version.

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