LEGENDARY singer/songwriter Paul Simon, one of the first American stars to embrace reggae, is the focus of a multi-reissue project by Legacy Recordings.
Over The Bridge of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective (1964-2011) and Paul Simon -- The Complete Albums Collection, are titles of the albums that will be released September 24 and October 15, respectively.
They contain reggae-flavoured classics such as Cecilia and Mother and Child Reunion which have strong Jamaican connections. There are also hits from Simon's groundbreaking 1986 album, Graceland, one of which (You Can Call Me Al) was covered by dancehall singer Ghost.
'Over The Bridge' covers Simon's years as a member of the folk duo, Simon and Garfunkel. They had a number of hit songs including the inspirational epic Bridge Over Troubled Water, Cecilia, and The Boxer.
Released in 1970 from the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, Cecilia hears for the first time, a major white American act taking on reggae which was fast taking root in the United Kingdom through Jamaican acts like Jimmy Cliff and Toots and The Maytals who were associated with producer Leslie Kong.
Cecilia was an international smash. In Jamaica it was covered with great success by singer Ken Lazarus.
By the time he went solo in 1972, Simon was immersed in Jamaican pop music. He was particularly impressed by Cliff whose hit songs at the time included Wonderful World, Beautiful People and Vietnam.
Simon actually travelled to Jamaica in 1971 and recorded Mother and Child Reunion with the same musicians who backed Cliff on the Kong sessions. They included bass player Jackie Jackson, drummer Winston Grennan and Neville Hinds on organ.
Mother and Child Reunion was one of the hit songs from Simon's self-titled 1972 debut album. It reached the top five of the Hot 100 chart in the United States.
Graceland is, arguably, Simon's greatest work. He recorded the set with African musicians including acclaimed South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Ghost's cover of You Can Call Me Al, a hit from Graceland, was well-received in Jamaica.
Legacy Recordings is the re-issue department of Sony Music Entertainment, owners of the vast Columbia Records catalogue. In 2011, the company re-released Peter Tosh's Legalize It and Equal Rights album.