Paul Simon receives the royal treatment from the Library of Congress on the Paul Simon and Friends. Gathered together in Washington, D.C. in May 2007 to present Simon with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, a group of distinguished friends and collaborators helped Mr. Simon celebrate a multi-decade spanning career of musical exploration and rarified compositional grace.
Chopped up into parts with tribute performances by Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and Lyle Lovett mixed with vault video anthology, Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is an entertaining two hours that touches upon the high points of Simon’s career, interweaving of folk, prose and native World music roots. One highlight comes from Stephen Marley as he offers a reggae tinged interpretation of "Mother and Child Reunion." Clips from Yankee Stadium in 1999 and with George Harrison on Saturday Night Live in 1976 bear out Simon’s New York origins. But the highlight of the disc belongs to the Dixie Hummingbirds and their connective prowess with powerhouse superstars’ James Taylor on "Slip Sliding Away," and Simon with Stevie Wonder on "Loves Me Like a Rock."
Whether it’s Simon’s African textures with Ladysmith Black Mambazo or the classic duo magic of his timeless work with childhood friend Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon reaches out to every earth child with his magical muse on Paul Simon and Friends. It’s a keeper that’s guaranteed to put a smile on one’s face while it keeps the toes tapping to its instinctive rhythms.
Paul Simon and Friends is out now on Shout! Factory.