Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases, including Paul Simon, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings and the Why Do Fools Fall In Love? compilation.
In The Blue Light (Sony Music 190758414423)
Technically not catalogue but Paul Simon’s new interpretations of less familiar tracks from his solo oeuvre certainly deserves a mention. Sidestepping all of the more obvious solo hits as well as the entire Simon & Garfunkel back catalogue, the album’s release coincides with the final leg of Simon’s farewell tour and lends fresh perspective to tracks that he thought merited revisiting. Thoughtful new arrangements, with impeccable musicians like Steve Gadd, Wynton Marsalis, Edie Brickell (Mrs. Simon), Bill Frisell and Jack DeJohnette on board, ensure that the album is beautifully constructed with jazzy overtones. At the age of 76, Simon’s vocals hold up beautifully, and the whole affair has a wistful melancholia with highlights including How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – a previously minor One Trick Pony track given a delicate makeover, in which Simon’s angelic crooning, a gently meandering piano track and a muted horn make for a perfect combination. The wonderfully fanciful Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War portrays the Belgian surrealist and his wife as fans of the ‘deep forbidden music’, which turns out to be doo-wop. With references to The Penguins, The Moonglows, The Orioles and The Five Satins, it has a soothing, almost waltz-time string arrangement and some backing vocals redolent of the doo-wop genre. A bold and distinctive whole, Simon’s 14th solo studio album has more than a little charm and is a strong and valuable addition to his canon.
Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings:
Studio Time (Edsel EDSL 0019)
Edsel’s already substantial Bill Wyman archive just got bigger with the release of Studio Time, which brings together 15 outtakes from eight different sessions to fashion the former Rolling Stones’ bassist’s first new album for 14 years. Wyman put together the multitudinous Rhythm Kings after leaving The Rolling Stones in 1992, and in addition to Wyman himself and a core rhythm section, it features a ever-revolving and evolving cast. Two of the tracks here even pre-date The Rhythm Kings’ inception – a scorching version of Slim Harpo’s Got Love If You Want It and a bluesy adaptation of Jimmy Rogers’ You’re The One, both dating from 1987. There’s a surprising cover of Australian band Midnight Oil’s 1989 Top 10 hit Beds Are Burning, taken at a slower pace than the original with vocals from Beverley Skeete and Wyman himself, while Santa Baby – also with a vocal from Skeete – is a little unseasonal but pleasingly vampish, and Skiing Blues is a slow, simple and superb Georgie Fame original on which he also provides lead vocals and electric organ.
Why Do Fools Fall In Love? (Crimson CRIMCD 614)
Last week we reviewed the same label’s Sealed With A Kiss compilation and noted its tagline was ‘romantic classics of the 50s & 60s’. Why Do Fools Fall In Love? Is also labelled thus, and once again, it is hard to deny that it is accurate. Among the 60 selections spread across three CDs are perennial pleasers like Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by The Platters, Dinah Washington’s Mad About The Boy and Patsy Cline’s Crazy. Big in their time but practically ignored today by both compilers and radio are such delights as Butterfingers, an atypically restrained Tommy Steele track that reached No.8 in 1957; Gene Pitney’s melodramatic Love My Life Away; and Mike Berry’s debut 1961 single, a cover of Goffin/King’s Will You Love Me Tomorrow, that lost the battle for chart honours with the Shirelles.