Saturday, June 6, 2009

Only a Motion Away

Graceland seemed like something totally new for Paul Simon when it came out in 1986, but if you listen to that opening itchy guitar figure on 1972's "Mother and Child Reunion," it sounds an awful lot like it could be on that later album. It's not totally dissimilar to the guitar part for "Gumboots."

"Mother and Child Reunion" was recorded in Jamaica with a bunch of reggae musicians, and the guitarist was a guy named Hucks Brown, who had been in Toots and the Maytals. It's probably not much of a stretch from Jamaican reggae to South African mbaqanga.

Hey, that's not really enough information to sustain a full item, is it? How about this: Do you know where the titled "Mother and Child Reunion" came from? It was an entry on a menu at a Chinese restaurant that Simon was eating at in lower Manhattan - specifically, Say Eng Look in Chinatown. "Mother and child reunion" refers to a dish with chicken and eggs - which is kind of sad and gross, if you ask me.

3 comments:

Innocent Bystander said...

Hence the impetus for the Biblical admonition "You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk".

Kinky Paprika said...

Another song on Simon's first solo album (which had "Mother and Child Reunion" on it) also makes reference to eating Chinese food.
(I think it's "Paranoia Blues" -- Simon mentions someone stealing his chow foon while he's looking the other way.)

That's what they call continuity, I guess.

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