I love Paul Simon. There I said it..
Or rather his gift to us, his songs, I really cannot think of another artist that has reached me more where I live than Simon. I can tell you the first line that touched me as a young teenager
“the words of the prophet are written on the subway walls and tenement halls”
That was of course, from the “Sound of Silence” Simon’s first big hit with his pardner Art Garfunkel.
I was a low to middle class Black Youth who was was surrounded by the music of the greats of soul music, If Motown Records was the head of the Church, (The Temptations, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder) Atlantic records were the Apostles. (Areatha Franklin, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding) You could go thru anyone’s 45RPM collection and most of what you saw and was the blue, of the Motown label or the yellow of it’s sister Talma label or the red of the Atlantic Records label. You dare not let any music other than that urban scripture blare out of your transistor radio or record box. less you be called a heretic and be shunned. “White Boy” music was forbidden by my peers, that included Elvis! Some exceptions that come to mind were the” Rascals” and of course, Dusty Springfield. and both recorded for Atlantic Records by the way
That was before I was lured away by lines from the serpent’s mouth.
.I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
That was from “The Boxer” or these lines from “American Tune
Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken, and many times confused
And I’ve often felt forsaken, and certainly misused.
But it’s all right, it’s all right, I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be bright and Bon Vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home
I could spent the rest of my post just pasting Simon’s words. To my teenage ears this stuff beat “Papa’s got a brand New Bag” any day of the week!
Please, Judge me not, I love Soul Music, I have reveled in it, made love while it was playing in the background or in my head. but I devour Simon’s music. it has taught me both the high and the lows of life, it has shown me flashes of imortality and at the same time it weeps at my mortality