If you be his bodyguard, he can be your long-lost pal. He can call you Betty, and Betty, when you call him, you can call him Al. But whatever it is you call call him, next year marks the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning 1986 album Graceland. In honor of the quarter-of-a-century mark, Simon just announced that Song Legacy will release a Graceland box set and… (djembe drum roll) …he will reunite Ladysmith Black Mambazo to tour behind it!
Heavily influenced by African mbaqanga music and recorded with local musicians in South Africa, the album is now a classic, and has influenced many young indie bands, most notably those rambunctious ivy league upstarts Vampire Weekend. The box set, which will be released in late spring (most likely May, but no promises!) will include a documentary by Joe Berlinger, director of Paradise Lost (about the West Memphis Three) and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (about a group of aging gorillas). Last July, Berlinger shot Simon’s concert in South Africa, where he performed with trumpeter Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo for an intimate crowd of 300 people.
Simon told Billboard, “The documentary took me back to the artistic aspects and the political aspects of making Graceland and the controversy that surrounded it and how it was resolved, plus what remains of it and what we learn from it.” And for all of you keeping track out there, those lessons are: a) Apartheid is bad; b) Paul Simon is awesome; and c) Chevy Chase has some sweet dance moves.