Paul Simon

Township Jive [bootleg]

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This three-LP set chronicles a show by Paul Simon in Rotterdam on February 1, 1987, a stop on the Graceland Tour. For the tour, Simon recruited South African performers Ladysmith Black Mambazo (who had appeared on the Graceland album), Miriam Makeba, and Hugh Masekela. They were each given mini-sets of their own within the show, as Simon came and went, acting as host and performing nine of the 11 songs from Graceland. Those songs were in some cases altered for the show, with, for instance, "Gumboots" being performed in a medley with a cover of the 1957 Dell-Vikings hit "Whispering Bells," which made the connection between South African vocal music and American doo-wop explicit, and "Under African Skies," originally a duet between Simon and Linda Ronstadt, now featuring Makeba in a new arrangement with revised lyrics. The only non-Graceland song Simon performed was "Mother and Child Reunion," done in more of a South African than a Jamaican style. While all this makes for an interesting tour souvenir for the Simon fan, the album remains a bootleg, based on an audience tape with the usual drawbacks--the audience is louder than the band on occasion, and the overall sound quality is nowhere near what you would expect from a legitimate release.