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Topic: OT - Paul Simon on the Colbert Report t.v. show

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  1. #1

    OT - Paul Simon on the Colbert Report t.v. show

    I just finished watching one of my favorite television shows, the Colbert Report with pop-culture comedian Stephen Colbert. The featured guest on the 11/18/08 show was singer/song-writer, Paul Simon. Now, before I go into the main point of why I started this thread, I wish to comment on what I just saw on this show. I saw two of my favorite entertainers. What struck me was roughly two important decades of years that separated them from each other in terms of age. Stephen Colbert is probably at the top of his fame and popularity while in his mid-40's, during a time when the world is found to be in a kind-of financial and political "limbo". At the very least, as you are all aware, these are unsettling times. Paul Simon was quite famous, 40+ years ago, also during unsettling times. I'm sitting here, typing all of this out, and I'm feeling this weird "awe" as I appreciate (and have witnessed) both periods of time which the U.S. (at least) was struggling with significant issues. 40 years ago, there was the Vietnam war, Civil Rights movement, and this longing to "find one's self" through many interesting and creative means. Although the efforts of the Civil Rights movement has helped elect our first African-American/Caucasian mixed president (which really seems to represent the mix of cultures that exist in the U.S.), we still are faced with wars and the unease that exists with them. On one hand, it is cause for celebration to see the effort of the 1960's Civil Rights movement come alive as President-elect Obama prepares to become the United States' 44th President. On the other hand, there remains two wars on two fronts, and this rather "nebulous" war on terrorism. Paul Simon was part of an era that produced great music to help the 1960's society cope with the anxieties of that day. Stephen Colbert uses a brilliant brand of humor (in my opinion) to help us with our currant anxieties. Both Paul Simon and Stephen Colbert are two of my favorite entertainers. Both entertain, both produce intelligent thought and both seem like very creative folk who seem to enjoy (and are good at) what they do. I really, really appreciate this.

    Now on to the point of why I started this thread. . . .

    Paul Simon. I love his music and he is a fantastic lyricist. Paul Simon sung one of this early songs on the Colbert Report. It was a pleasure to hear his song and lyrics again. (Of course I forgot the name of the song. LOL! ) I have always enjoyed Paul Simon's style of music and his style has changed throughout the years. One of my favorite songs by him was "You Can Call Me Al" (and there are many songs by him that are my favorite) on the album Graceland. It's a FUN song. It's a fun song, but the lyrics provoke thought, to say the least. Not all of the lyrics to the song is flattering:

    A man walks down the street
    He says why am I soft in the middle now
    Why am I soft in the middle
    The rest of my life is so hard
    I need a photo-opportunity
    I want a shot at redemption
    Don't want to end up a cartoon
    In a cartoon graveyard
    Bonedigger Bonedigger
    Dogs in the moonlight
    Far away my well-lit door
    Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly
    Get these mutts away from me
    You know I don't find this stuff amusing anymore
    If you'll be my bodyguard
    I can be your long lost pal
    I can call you Betty
    And Betty when you call me
    You can call me Al

    A man walks down the street
    He says why am I short of attention
    Got a short little span of attention
    And wo my nights are so long
    Where's my wife and family
    What if I die here
    Who'll be my role-model
    Now that my role-model is
    Gone Gone
    He ducked back down the alley
    With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
    All along along
    There were incidents and accidents
    There were hints and allegations

    If you'll be my bodyguard
    I can be your long lost pal
    I can call you Betty
    And Betty when you call me
    You can call me Al
    Call me Al

    A man walks down the street
    It's a street in a strange world
    Maybe it's the Third World
    Maybe it's his first time around
    He doesn't speak the language
    He holds no currency
    He is a foreign man
    He is surrounded by the sound
    The sound
    Cattle in the marketplace
    Scatterlings and orphanages
    He looks around, around
    He sees angels in the architecture
    Spinning in infinity
    He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

    If you'll be my bodyguard
    I can be your long lost pal
    I can call you Betty
    And Betty when you call me
    You can call me Al
    Call me Al

    But the lyrics tell an interesting and thought-provoking story. And I LOVE being BOTH entertained and challenged to think. To me, Paul Simon is brilliant at doing this. To me, he is a masterful lyricist.

    I share all of this to you for a couple of reasons. The first is the obvious one: I like Paul Simon's music (and Stephen Colbert's brand of humor). Both provide purposeful thought-provoking entertainment. The second reason why I share this to you is because there is a lot of creative folk found on this web site. To be honest, it is not a habit of mine to come here. If it became a habit, which it can easily become, I would not have time to write music, mow the lawn, pet the dogs, cuddle with the wife and live life outside the internet. But WHEN I DO visit here, I am always amazed to the quality of craftsmanship found here in terms of music composition and orchestration. There are people here that are on par with Paul Simon and Stephen Colbert in terms of providing thought-provoking AND entertaining music. It takes real skill and craftsmanship to do this.

    I commented to some friends the other day that I visit this particular web site to listen to original music. I shared that the quality of music found here is GREAT! And I added and shared, to my friend, my sadness with the realization that much of what is found here will probably never be heard outside this bulletin board; that much of what is heard here can only be found here. Although, in my mind, this realization makes this web site special (and there are a few other web sites similar to this one, too), this realization is also sad because such well written music should be available for more of the world to hear! Although a few lucky few, here, will have their compositions played by orchestras and small ensembles for a live audience, most won't.

    But at least there exists this web site (and a few others) to showcase great, original music. Meanwhile, Paul Simon and Stephen Colbert will continue to showcase their brilliant (to me, at least) forms of thought-provoking entertainment for an audience of thousands and millions. And they will continue to inspire "simple-folk" like me to continue to practice their craft, and to maybe share, someday, some crafty music or joke or painting or sketch or cartoon or animation or video for someone else to see and/or hear.


    . . . . A man walks down the street
    It's a street in a strange world
    Maybe it's the Third World
    Maybe it's his first time around
    He doesn't speak the language
    He holds no currency
    He is a foreign man
    He is surrounded by the sound
    The sound
    Cattle in the marketplace
    Scatterlings and orphanages
    He looks around, around
    He sees angels in the architecture
    Spinning in infinity
    He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

    Brilliant. . . entertaining, thought-provoking. . . and inspiring.

    Ted
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  2. #2

    Re: OT - Paul Simon on the Colbert Report t.v. show

    Well, Ern, I'm glad I'm not alone in being a Paul Simon fan! LOL!

    I'm not familiar with the lyrics that you posted. For some reason, the song escapes my memory. But after reading the lyrics, I agree with you. Well crafted; well written.

    Many, many, many moons ago, I took a 2 semester song writing course taught by Pat Patterson (of Berklee in Boston). A number of lyrics by Paul Simon were used as examples during that course.

    Another brilliant lyricist. . . . Joni Mitchell! I LOVE her stuff! (But I guess that's another topic for another thread for another time. )

    Take care, Ern!
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  3. #3
    Senior Member squoze's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Re: OT - Paul Simon on the Colbert Report t.v. show

    USA Today had a great piece last week.

    Hello darkness, my old friend
    I've come to talk to you again
    Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
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    Shelton, Washington State
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    Re: OT - Paul Simon on the Colbert Report t.v. show

    I always liked "America" from the Bookends album because it worked without one intentional rhyme.


    let us be lovers well marry our fortunes together
    I've got some real estate here in my bag
    So we bought a pack of cigarettes and mrs. wagner pies
    And we walked off to look for america
    kathy, I said as we boarded a greyhound in pittsburgh
    michigan seems like a dream to me now
    It took me four days to hitchhike from saginaw
    I've gone to look for america

    Laughing on the bus
    Playing games with the faces
    She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
    I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera

    toss me a cigarette, I think theres one in my raincoat
    we smoked the last one an hour ago
    So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
    And the moon rose over an open field

    kathy, Im lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
    Im empty and aching and I dont know why
    Counting the cars on the new jersey turnpike
    Theyve all gone to look for america
    All gone to look for america
    All gone to look for america



    Phil

  5. #5

    Re: OT - Paul Simon on the Colbert Report t.v. show

    Many years ago, when I was a young Marine serving in Viet Nam, my sister sent me a casette with some music selections that had been released since I left "the world". A couple of the songs were from the Simon and Garfunkle "Bookends" album - I particularly remember "America" and how it calmed me down and made me feel very peaceful.

    As Michael Herr said in his quintensential book "Dispatches" (he was a journalist during the 68 TET offensive, and inspired such movies as Acopolypse Now; Full Metal Jacket; and even Platoon) Viet Nam was America's first rock-n-roll war.

    Tom

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