Delaney & Bonnie And Friends
15 fine tracks from 21ST Century Troubadours, including Josh Ritter, Justin Townes Earle, Simone Felice, Villagers, Josh T Pearson, Hiss Golden Messenger and more
I was in Washington DC a few weeks ago to interview Paul Simon ahead of the release of his new album, So Beautiful Or So What. We ended up having quite a marathon conversation, Simon happy enough to cover all aspects of his career, in most instances at generous length. He had a lot to say, about everything. The new album is a reminder of his incredible contribution to the American songbook, decades of great work by now behind him, of which So Beautiful Or So What is another example. Simon & Garfunkel inclined, you'd have to say, towards a preppy wholesomeness and Simon therefore was never deemed especially hip in the manner of Dylan and others, but who could contest the genius of his songwriting, especially on albums like Bookends.
The new album comes at an interesting time for Simon, with a new generation of American bands rediscovering his music. Grizzly Bear, of course, appeared with Simon at his Brooklyn Academy Of Music shows in 2009, drummer Chris Bear contributes electric drum parts to So Beautiful Or So What and the band have memorably covered Graceland. Vampire Weekend's 2008 debut drew heavily on 1986's Graceland album, the group's Ezra Koenig has recently covered Papa Hobo from Simon's eponymous 1972 solo effort for the soundtrack to a new Uma Thurman film, Ceremony, and Spoon have covered Peace Like A River. The title track of Fleet Foxes' imminent second album, Helplessness Blues, meanwhile, recalls S&G in the same way Mykonos earlier recalled CSNY.
There's plenty of great stuff elsewhere in the issue, including Robbie Robertson on Dylan and The Band, Pete Townshend on the 1960s' heyday of the underground press, Jonny Greenwood interviewed by Rob Young, the amazing story of Delaney & Bonnie and their famous Friends, Brian May, The Flamin' Groovies, and the very strange Deerhunter. We also say farewell to The White Stripes, who in early February announced they'd split up.
Finally, you may remember that last year we teamed up with Sonic Editions and curated a collection of classic rock images from their portfolio available to Uncut readers as limited edition framed prints. We've now put together a spanking new collection, featuring iconic images of, among others, favourites like The Beatles, Dylan, the Stones, Bowie, The Clash, Gram Parsons, Iggy Pop, and Neil Young. You can view the new Uncut Collection at soniceditions.com/uncut.