"Getting Ready for Christmas Day"

"Got a nephew in Iraq/It's his third time back," sings Paul Simon, pondering the fate of a relative spending Christmas abroad. "Jingle Bells" this ain't. The first taste of his forthcoming LP is built around a 1941 sample of the Rev. J.M. Gates (from the gospel comp Goodbye, Babylon), and the end result recalls Simon's golden era, all warm tunefulness cut with mischief. "I may be layin' in some lonesome grave," laments the Reverend. Then Simon's sunny chorus chases the blues away, at least for the moment.

From The Archives Issue 1119: December 9, 2010