American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon.

Label: Ace Records.

Ace Record’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful Songwriter Series is one of their  longest-running compilation series. It’s featured songs by such luminaries as Burt Bacharach, Harry Nilsson, Dan Penn, Serge Gainsbourg and Tony Hatch. There’s also been compilations featuring the music of some of the greatest songwriting teams in popular music. This includes Goffin and King, Leiber and Stoller, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry plus Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. They’re about to be joined by Paul Simon, who is the latest inductee into Ace Record’s Songwriter Series. 

American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon iwas recently released by Ace Records, and features twenty-three tracks released between 1966 and 2016. There’s everything from classic soul and country to pop, psychedelia, rock and even reggae. It’s a truly eclectic compilation that features some of the biggest names in music who are joined by a mixture of familiar faces and new names.

Opening American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon is The Hollies’ cover of I Am A Rock. It was released on their 1966 Parlophone album Would You Believe. This was just a year after Paul Simon recorded the original. The two tracks are very different, with The Hollies transforming it into something that Paul Simon never envisaged.

Homeward Bound was written by Paul Simon whilst living in the UK and feeling homesick. He wrote the song on the platform of  Widnes railway station in the North West of England.  It was later recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, and covered by Cher in 1966. This is one of over 100 covers of Homeward Bound, and is delivered with emotion and will resonate with anyone whose ever experienced a bout of homesickness.

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) was covered by Harpers Bizarre in 1967. They were a talented sunshine pop band who never reached the heights that they should’ve. One of their finest and most memorable moments was their cover The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy). It’s an anthemic track that reached thirteen on the US Billboard 100 and thirty-four in the UK, and is a welcome addition  to the compilation. 

The lead single from Simon and Garfunkel’s classic album Bridge Over Troubled Water was The Boxer.  By 1980, when The Boxer was covered by Emmylou Harris and released as a single on Warner Bros, it was regarded as a classic track.  Emmylou Harris’ beautiful reading which is full of intensity and emotion reached seven on the US Billboard 100 and six in the UK. It’s one of the highlights of American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon and shows another side to a classic song.

Aretha Franklin released a cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water as a single on Atlantic in 1971. It’s one of the finest of the 450 covers of Bridge Over Troubled Water and features Aretha Franklin at the peak of her powers.

Peaches and Herb reinvented The Sound Of Silence, which was released as a single on Columbia in 1971. Sadly, this hidden gem failed to find an audience and  not long after this, Peaches and Herb split-up. Later in the seventies they made a comeback and enjoyed several hit singles including Reunited. 

In 1973, Mother and Child Reunion was covered by The Intruders on their Save The Children album.  It was released on the Gamble label. Taking charge of production were Gamble and Huff, and features the legendary studio band MFSB. They  provide the perfect backdrop for The Intruders as this Paul Simon classic which is given a Philly Soul makeover.

Cecilia was released as the sophomore single from the album Bridge Over Troubled Water. It was covered  by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles on their 1971 Motown album One Dozen Roses. They stay true to the original but give add a soulful twist. This shows another side to a familiar song.

When Annie Lennox recorded her album Medusa, which was released in 1995, it included Something So Right which featured Paul Simon.  He stays true to the original, and sings tenderly when joining Annie Lennox for the chorus. Together they deliver a quite beautiful  and poignant cover of Something So Right

Take Me To The Mardi Gras was recorded by soul legend Johnnie and Floyd Taylor his son, and released in 2003. They were accompanied by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section when the song was recorded in the late-nineties. It’s another hidden gem and a welcome addition to the compilation. 

Originally, Rumer recorded  Long, Long Day for her album Boys Don’t Cry, but it didn’t make iy onto the album.When the album. When Rumer released her B-Sides and Rarities album in 2011, Long, Long Day made its belated debut. It makes a welcome return on American Tunes Songs By Paul Simon and is a reminder of one Britain’s most talented female vocalists.

Closing American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon is American Tune by Shawn Colvin. Her understated and wistful cover showcases a talented singer who breathes life and meaning into American Tune. It featured on her 2015 album Uncovered, and is the perfect way to close this lovingly curated compilation.

Paul Simon is one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, and a worthy inductee into Ace Records’ Songwriter Series.  The recently released compilation American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon, features twenty-three he wrote and either recorded with Art Garfunkel or during his solo career. Among these songs are a  number of classics which have been covered by a mixture of musical legends, familiar faces and what may be new names to some people. There’s everything from classic soul and country to Philly Soul, pop and psychedelia to rock and even reggae on American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon who is one of the greatest songwriters in the history of popular music and this computation is a reminder why.

American Tunes-Songs By Paul Simon.

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