Paul Simon
Songs From The Capeman (Warner Bros.)

By Keith Brown

Paul Simon and I have been through a lot together.

I was one of those kids in the late sixties who used to sit in their bedrooms late at night with the lights off playing the soundtrack to The Graduate repeatedly, mulling over the significance every word.

After the break up of Simon & Garfunkel, I followed Simon through all his solo efforts -- from the masterful, single-driven There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973) to the 1986 mega-successful Graceland.

Seven years since his last album, Rhythm Of The Saints, Simon has released his long awaited follow-up, Songs from The Capeman, a selection of music from Simon's upcoming Broadway musical about young Puerto Rican tough Salvador Agron, who stabbed two innocent bystanders in 1959 New York. Simon reportedly remembered the sensational news story from his youth, and saw the opportunity to recreate the Latin & Doo Wop music of the time.

From the opening chorus of "Adios, Hermanos," the album sounds great, as we would expect from any album by Simon. Because the songs are meant to tell a story, they're somewhat less approachable than usual and are lyric-heavy, even for Simon. Simon the singer is called upon to perform the roles of different characters from the play, and at times this works, as on the ballad "Can I Forgive Him," but he's less successful as a street thug on "The Vampires."

Singers from the Broadway play also contribute on several cuts, and Latin musicians appear throughout, making the music high quality and undeniably pleasant, but Capeman, in the end, doesn't feel quite like a Paul Simon album.

Simon said recently in an interview, "I was hoping that people would be intrigued, that hearing the album would make them want to see the musical."

Here's hoping The Capeman eventually makes a stop in Louisville.