Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Mother’s Day: Better Late than Never
In belated honor of Mother’s Day, a couple of maternal ditties from the early solo career of Paul Simon.
In one of his Point/Counterpoint rants against Jane Curtin on Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd noted Jane's prediliction for hopping from one stranger’s bed to another “with a frequency of a cheap ham radio.” Since the late days of Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon has been the same way with musical genres.
His first post-S&G song “Mother and Child Reunion,” from 1972’s Paul Simon, is distinctly reggae, which was at the time was very exotic.
More remarkable than the groove, however, is the origin of the song’s title. In a Rolling Stone interview to coincide with his solo debut, Simon revealed he had gotten the name of the song from a menu at a Chinese restaurant; “Mother and Child Reunion” was the name of a chicken-and-egg dish. Whereas most of us might chuckle and order some spring rolls, the nebbishy songwriting genius spun it into AM/FM gold.
By contrast, “Loves Me Like a Rock” from his second solo LP There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, deftly mixes gospel and the doo-wop sound of his Queens street-corner youth. It shows how his momma got down on her knees to hug him, loved him like the rock of ages, yet managed to keep him grounded all the way from boyhood to the White House. It’s a classic tale, impeccably performed and produced and a fitting tribute to matriarchs everywhere.
More fun than a teddy bear bouquet from 1-800-FLOWERS: The two aforementioned Paul Simon classics for your listening pleasure, plus a mother of a YouTube clip from the Dick Cavett Show.
mp3: Paul Simon, “Mother and Child Reunion” Paul Simon
mp3: Paul Simon, “Loves Me Like a Rock” There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
Paul Simon w/the Jesse Dixon Singers, “Loves Me Like a Rock” The Dick Cavett Show, 1972