Sunday, 3 June 2018

Paul Simon - The Rhythm Of The Saints (1990)


Released October 1990

Simply a beautiful, atmospheric album. I never tire of listening to it, even now, twenty-eight years later.

Often overshadowed by 1986s top seller, “Graceland”, this one did not get the credit it deserved. Having explored the ethnic music of South Africa to great effect on “Graceland”, Paul Simon took himself off to South America to delve into the rhythms of Brazil and the Amazon Basin, while also including major influences from the culturally and ethnically linked music of West Africa, Cameroon in particular. Lyrics proliferate about Bougainvillea, families of travelling musicians, injured coasts, cool rivers, and Babalu-Aye backed by the lilting, gentle sounds of Brazilian percussion and guitars, congas, bongos and berimbaus. 

Multiple ethnic musicians and backing vocals. A whole troop of drummers on the upbeat opener, “The Obvious Child”. Thereafter, though, it relaxes into a warm groove, perfect for a hot summer’s evening as dusk descends and you imagine yourself under your mosquito net somewhere deep in the Amazon basin. “The Coast”, “Further To Fly” and “Spirit Voices” with its delightful Portuguese vocal part are particular personal favourites. It is all good, however.

The remastering is excellent, too, as you would expect.

Let it wash over you like the cool, cool river.


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