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Rip-off by Simon?

October 28, 1990

About Robert Hilburn's "Beyond Graceland," the Oct. 14 article on Paul Simon:

Hilburn is now attempting to manufacture for Simon's latest cultural exploitation ("The Rhythm of the Saints") the kind of hype that surrounded the bogus "Graceland" album.

"Graceland" was Simon's boldest rip-off ever: "Borrow" some South African musicians (despite the United Nations-backed cultural boycott of South Africa), add a few mealy-mouthed lyrics, use a rip-off album title and, presto --he is hailed as a genius!

The huge popularity of that album is only a reflection of the gullibility and lack of musical discretion of the buying public.

Now here comes Simon again: Gee, they swallowed that, now I'll go rip off another culture.

How's this for Simon's "creativity," and I quote: "I had no idea where it was leading, but then I thought I'd put some West African guitar on top of the Brazilian drumming." Gee, Paul, how about a little Austrian polka to really expand it?

SCOT TEMPESTA

Carlsbad

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