There Goes Rhymin' Simon

Paul Simon

Columbia Records, 1973

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


In a matter of days, Paul Simon is going to put his career on the line when his first Broadway musical, The Capeman, opens. And while we could jump on the bandwagon and review Songs From The Capeman, instead I'd prefer to dig a little deeper in the Pierce Archives and take a look at There Goes Rhymin' Simon, his 1973 release which probably made his solo career an early success.

Despite the success of the ska-influenced "Mother And Child Reunion," Simon's first solo album was hardly a smash hit like anything he had done with Simon & Garfunkel. He needed to reach deep within himself and utilize all of his pop music writing skills and create a work that would establish himself in the industry as a bonafide solo artist.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On There Goes Rhymin' Simon, he makes it sound so effortless. The leadoff track, "Kodachrome," takes a nostalgic look back at life through the metaphor of color film. 'Course, Kodak, who manufactures the film of the same name, got pissed and demanded that Simon put a trademark notice on the song. Seems kind of silly, really - while the song does often mention the product, it could have been a commercial for it.

But SImon wasn't done yet. On "Take Me To The Mardi Gras," he dabbles a little bit in Dixieland, though he saves the fireworks for the instrumental ending performed by the Onward Brass Band. "Loves Me Like A Rock" has a strong doo-wop beat provided by the Dixie Hummingbirds, and is a fun song to listen to. Another hit, "Something So Right," is a more serious number that returns to Simon's usual introspective style that was so overbearing on his first solo effort.

Even the songs that might not have made it onto the radio are strong numbers. "Learn How To Fall" easily could have been a hit had it been chosen, and is one of Simon's underrated classics. "St. Judy's Comet" is also a decent number, if not quite as strong.

The only "disappointment" of sorts is "American Tune" - and it's not that it's a bad song. But it's just that I'm so used to the poignant live version that I grew up hearing on Greatest Hits, Etc. that is more moving than the original studio version. Still, that's a small criticism.

Simon established himself in a major way with There Goes Rhymin' Simon, re-positioning himself as one of this era's greatest songwriters. And though his biggest successes still lay ahead of him, he made a strong step in the right direction with this one.

Rating: A-

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