Friday, July 6, 2012
By: Mshale Staff
In search of inspiration, Simon began listening to South African music, spurred on by a cassette called Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume II. After immersing himself in more African music, he traveled to Johannesburg in early 1985 to simply jam with the groups he had heard: Tao Ea Matsekha, General M.D. Shrinda, and the Gaza Sisters.
What happened in these sessions formed the basis of Graceland, the watershed 1986 work that not only revived SimonвЂ™s career, but exposed South African music to a worldwide audience. Twenty-five years later, Simon has released a deluxe edition of his masterpiece, offering listeners a new perspective on a still-relevant album.
The CD/DVD set includes the remastered original album, bonus tracks such as alternate takes and demos, and a DVD containing the original videos for вЂњYou Can Call Me Al,вЂќ вЂњThe Boy in the Bubble,вЂќ and вЂњDiamonds on the Soles of Her ShoesвЂќ; an incredible Saturday Night Live performance of the latter track from 1986; and a new documentary, Under African Skies, that explores the making of Graceland. The box set features more outtakes, live performances, a lavish book, and a replica of SimonвЂ™s lyrics notepad.
Both formats offer a unique opportunity to reassess just how important that one album was in the 80s, and how its impact continues today.