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4.8 out of 5 stars179
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 January 2007
When this album was originally released it very quickly became a classic. The fusion of African tribal and Western soft rock music works, and works well.

Unfortunately - and these comments apply solely to this remaster - the sound quality has suffered as a result of the current arms race between record labels to make their CDs as loud as possible. Whereas on the original CD release the opening track "The Boy In The Bubble" began with a soft accordian solo followed by a series of drum hits that sounded like firecrackers (and scared the life out of anyone that wasn't expecting it), here all the dynamics of this are lost in a muddy compressed version of what was once a great album.

Many other classic albums have been destroyed like this by record labels. Do yourself a favour and track down the original 1986 CD of this album on Marketplace.

For the record the original 1986 version of this is unquestionably a 5-star album.
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on 4 March 2008
I totally agree with Glen Richards. I have the original vinyl and CD so I bought this version as a re-mastered paper sleeve Japanese Mini LP(vinyl replica) thinking it would be an upgrade. The hiss level is overpowering on a good hi-fi system. You might as well play it as an MP3 recording. Very disappointing. Do yourself a favour, however, and try the "MINI LP/Vinyl Replica" remastered versions of "One Trick Pony", "Rhymin Simon", "Paul Simon", or "Still Crazy After All These Years". This is how it should be done.
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on 11 July 2012
The package is great - beautifully presented, great DVD with docs and music videos - all of that is great.

So why remaster the album?... Again. Its not an improvement on the previous CD release. In fact it doesn't sound as good - just louder and harsher. As a recording artist myself, I am aware of the benefits of "cleaning" up older recordings and making use of newer technology to achieve a more transparent sound. This isn't the case here, though. My CD of Graceland from a few years back sounds much better - there is more depth to the production - more detail. The new version sounds very "tense" and too lou, - I guess to satisfy audiences listening on equipment with no bass and top end where older recordings can sound a bit dull and under energized. Its a shame.

However, the package is worth the money for the DVD and the unreleased tracks. I'll just stick with my previous CD for listening to the album.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a landmark album and, for me, the high spot of Paul Simon's solo career. He was increasingly interested in introducing different rhythms to his work, and the collaboration here with the musicians of South Africa makes for complex but brilliant recordings.

The outcome was a unique record that is being bought and re-bought 25 years later (I have just acquired this version). Stand out tracks? It's difficult to say that any are weak but 'The Boy In The Bubble', 'Graceland', 'Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes' and 'You Can Call Me Al' are especially strong.

When I listen to this record it makes me think how far Paul Simon had travelled since the ending of his partnership with Art Garfunkel. Personality differences aside, he was moving in new directions, and more Simon and Garfunkel records would not have taken him there.

This is a unique record - a fusion of styles not put together with such success before, if at all. Recommended. Five stars.
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As I listened to this re-mastered version of Paul Simon's classic `Graceland' CD I wondered how much better it would be than the original. It wasn't. Indeed it wasn't as good. Haunting softness and melodious depth had been usurped by what seemed crisper and louder - but the original was heard via the heart as well as the ear. The re-mastered version is still a great CD but it somehow lacks soul. Hence the drop from 5 to 4-star rating.
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on 5 June 2012
This is an amazing and exclusive two disc set featuring the remastered original album with five bonus tracks and audio documentary.

Also contains "Under African Skies" film with bonus features.

Three original music videos and "Saturday Night Live" performance of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes."

Its a must for for music lovers considering the original Graceland Album sold 14 million copies worlwide and won a Grammy in 1987

In the film, Simon provides a fresh and revelatory perspective on the album while gathering the record's original musicians for a transcendental Graceland concert reunion.

Just Wonderful
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on 8 June 2012
I remember hearing "Diamonds on the soles of her shoes", and instantly been won over by Simon's lyrics-although been largely unaware of the career of Simon (and only marginally aware) of the political mess he had created for himself with 'Graceland', and at the time I was only aware of Apartheid (mainly through the News).
The music of Graceland is (still) unsurpased by Paul Simon, and the "Under African Skies" goes some-way to address the ANC and reactions to a rich, white man coming to Africa durig the lengthy period of Apartheid, although only quarter of a century ago-seems like another world:

1. The Boy In The Bubble
2. Graceland
3. I Know What I Know
4. Gumboots
5. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
6. You Can Call Me Al
7. Under African Skies
8. Homeless
9. Crazy Love, Vol II
10. That Was Your Mother
11. All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints
12. Homeless (Demo)
13. Diamond on the Soles of Her Shoes (Alternate version)
14. All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints (Early version)
15. You Can Call Me Al (Demo)
16. Crazy Love (Demo)
17. The Story of "Graceland" - as told by Paul Simon

The Album speaks for itself. As for 'Under African Skies'--Paul Simon returning to Africa is both moving & insightful--Simon still appears genuinely irritated by politicians (whom are quick to make mileage out of him, but also use him at Political functions).
There is also a clear love and respect between Simon and the other Musicians-whom Simon credits fully (not for the first time either)with the collaboration that resulted in Graceland.

Both the Album and cd are really good value at present £10.49, I'd like the £80 set next...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 June 2012
Graceland was the first ever album I bought (on tape actually), my first ever single is far more embarrassing. As a teenager I had never heard this type of music before and it led me on to many other things and gave me an awareness of Apartheid and its ugly forms. I have never bought this on CD until now and this package is an absolute must for me and anyone who has an interest in this album.

The package consists of the original CD (remastered and to these ears to good effect). On this CD are the bonus tracks including demo's, which are at times quite different to the final versions. The producers certainly did a lot to put this album together. There is a booklet that has a brief overview from the man himself and another essay on the album. The album itself is as good as it was. Lyrically evocative it contains so many great moments. Its a landmark album for so many reasons (of which more later) but the music itself is central to that and listening to it now it truly is a five star album.

The final part of this package is a DVD with the recently released Under African Skies documentary. This covers the whole creation and legacy of the album and the 25th anniversary reunion. It also contains the music video's various documentaries and also a few interviews (Ray Phiri's is the highlight here as his story is brief but moving). But the documentary is the the main event on the DVD. It shows the whole story and the aftermath and it throws light on the struggles and how this album caused as much trouble as it raised awareness. At times moving this really is a brilliant insight and worth the money alone. It shows Apartheid and the cultural boycott and the issues in making and touring this album.

This is a great package of an album which was huge at the time in so many ways. The DVD and CD really do it justice and its a powerful memorial of landmark album.
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This Grammy Award-winning album from 1986 is usually considered to be Paul Simon's crowning achievement in a stellar career with many high-points. His peerless songwriting and poignant lyrics are fused with intelligent use of folk and brass instruments: Zulu Mbaqanga rhythms, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir showcasing their a capella style, plus the Zydeco creole music of Louisiana; the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos also feature in cameo performances. It's absolutely gorgeous and hasn't aged a day in 25 years.

The album works best when listened to as a whole experience, rather than sampled track by downloaded track - like having a full meal rather than just eating the beans one day, and the sauce on another occasion. Only when the whole is savoured and digested can the extraordinary blend of complimentary musical styles be appreciated, and the grand creation be enjoyed and fully understood.

The 1986 CD release is in every way superb, with depth and richness of sound allowing for the subtleties of the unusual instrumentation and vocal combinations to shine. The 2011 `re-master' is best avoided: like so many modern `re-masters' the result is not an improvement; it's harsher, less subtle than the earlier mix and lacks depth - though it's fine to play loud in a moving car.

Regardless, `Graceland' is a truly classic album which should be in any serious music collection.
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on 15 June 2010
Can't agree with criticisms of the sound on this remaster. It IS louder BUT the dynamics of the original recording are absolutely intact. There is more background detail, and more space around the instruments - listen to the sax breaks and backsingers in "Gumboots", or the accompanying singer on "Under African Skies" or the detail in the acapella "Homeless". Most importantly to me, the "feel" of the album is still there.

I have the vinyl, the 1986 cd issue and this remaster, and, to me, the remaster sounds fine. It is the one I choose if not playing the vinyl.

I completely agree with the comments about remastering these days, the indiscriminate loudness and compression which sounds good on an Ipod or in the car -the last one I will buy was "The Colourfield" at which I could have cried - but "Graceland" can be bought with absolute confidence.
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