Paul Simon Issues 2nd Track from New Album

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Paul Simon Stranger CoverVeteran classic rock singer-songwriter Paul Simon continues to whet appetites for his 13th solo album, Stranger to Stranger, with intriguing song releases. The announcement of the June 3rd release on Concord Records was accompanied by a lyric video for the song “Wristband” (see our item and the clip here). Now he’s released a very different number from the album, “Cool Papa Bell.”

Fans of Graceland will enjoy how the track is rooted in an African music style. Its title refers to James “Cool Papa” Bell, a baseball center-fielder in the Negro leagues considered by some to be, as Simon sings, “the fastest man on earth.” The song is not about Bell but (it seems) a rumination by Simon on his place in the world at the age of 74 in language and terms that range from the playful to frank and pointed.

The album reunites Simon with longtime collaborator and producer/engineer Roy Halee, who came out of retirement to work on the project. He says that the thrust of the 11-song collection is the sound of the music even more so than the songs themselves.

Simon began his 2016 tour this weekend with an appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Friday night (4/29) which by all reports was triumphant (look for the Best Classic Bands review of Jazz Fest’s second weekend on our site this week). The tour wraps up on June 30 and July 1 at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in the Queens, NY neighborhood where Simon grew up.

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It’s also where Simon & Garfunkel played the final concert of their original career in 1970. Fans hoping the two might reunite again should set aside such desires. Simon recently told Rolling Stone that any further shows with his former musical partner were “out of the question. We don’t even talk.” However, some tracks have been recorded for a duet album with his wife Edie Brickell. And with work done on his latest release and once the tour supporting it is over, that long-awaited collaboration could get finished.

Best Classic Bands Staff
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