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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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TOP 1000 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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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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on 10 June 2012
Paul Simon's groundbreaking album gets a 25th anniversary deluxe treatment. This album, now a milestone in music history, should be in everybody's record collection. But do you need to buy this box set?

Hmm ... I would say no! This edition has two cd's and two DVD's. It's a strange decision to separate the bonus tracks from the original album for this box set. They didn't do that on the other 25th anniversary editions. So you don't get more audio tracks (... I'm still waiting for the 12" versions). You will have one DVD more than the cd/DVD edition. But any big Paul Simon fan will already have the "Graceland: The African Concert" DVD.

On the other hand, the 80 - page book is fine. It has beautiful pictures, a Graceland history, interviews with Paul Simon and all the musicians, the lyrics of every song and the original liner notes. You also get a replica of the original Graceland poster and his handwritten lyrics pad (printed on yellow pages).

The remastering is done by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York 2011. And it sounds fantastic! Excellent job!

If you are not a very big fan I recommend the cd/DVD edition.
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on 10 June 2012
I could start this review by comparing this album to a fine wine that gets better with age or by recounting my own personal story of how the release of this album changed my life but Graceland was released 7 years before I was born so that would be slightly misleading.

The other reviewer (and at the time of writing there is only one other) is entirely correct in saying that this is not for the casual Paul Simon fan, though with that price tag I think this is fairly obvious. He's also correct in saying that many fans will already own one or more of the elements included but I am reviewing this boxset for what it is.

And it is amazing! This is not something that's been cheaply thrown together as a quick cash-in on the 25th anniversary. Time, money, effort and love have gone into crafting this item and it really does show in the quality.

The album has been re-mastered and sounds better than ever. Crystal clear. It's always been a joy to listen to and now it's only getting better. Most of the bonus tracks have previously been available but this set includes The Story of "Graceland" which is around nine minutes long and comprises of Paul Simon speaking about the creation of the landmark album in his own words.

I can't really review the two DVDs otherwise I'll be here all day but suffice to say that the performances on "The African Concert" are superb and at times very moving and powerful. It remains one of my favourite concert DVDs and opened my eyes (or maybe I should say ears) to the music of some truly brilliant musicians in the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba.

The "Under African Skies" documentary is a gem for fans and delves into the controversy and, more importantly, the reasons and people behind the controversy as well as looking at the music and musicians. I will get round to writing proper reviews for these DVDs but not here.

Within the box is a replica pad of Paul Simons handwritten album notes and lyrics. It's a truly beautiful item printed on good quality paper. It's fascinating to read through each page and see how the lyrics for some songs like The Boy In The Bubble evolved over time.

The other book contains lots of great pictures of various things including the musicians playing in the studio, Paul Simon filming the video for one of the songs and much more. It also features an "oral history" of the album told by Paul Simon himself, musicians involved in the creation of the album and other musical legends like Peter Gabriel among other. It's a joy to read and finishes with all the details and lyrics for each track. Also included is a replica Graceland poster printed on high quality paper which would look great in a frame.

The box itself is very attractive and well made. The inner sleeve, poster and book all slide neatly in with plenty of space but without rattling around. The design is based on the original albums cover with the picture in the middle protruding slightly from the box. It's a slightly minimalistic design but the overall effect is stunning. I'm very tempted to dedicate an entire shelf to this package so I can just look at it all day.

Incidentally, if you do already own one or more of the things included in this set and are reluctant to buy it again, most of them are available separately or as part of a smaller set. They can be difficult to navigate and distinguish so I've included links to them here:

The re-mastered album can be found here
Or, for the vinyl lovers among you, here
The re-mastered album with the Under African Skies documentary included can be found here
The Under African Skies blu-ray can be found here
The African Concert DVD can be found (second hand and for an obscene price) here
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on 9 January 2006
First time I’ve been moved to make a review. Having listened to Graceland for the first time in years I thought I’d be impressed but I am stunned. Don’t wait any longer, this is an inspirational album – buy it.
The blend of African rhythm, superb vocals from Paul and amazing harmonies make Graceland a reference work. But there’s more… as I get older I find myself getting frustrated with poor engineering but Paul and Ray let the album breathe. The a cappella on homeless show just how wonderful and under appreciated the human voice can be as a musical instrument.
I have a lot to learn. If only all albums could do this to me… I’d be a pauper – but a happy one.
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on 1 July 2012
This double issue is very satisfying : it seems the original tracks are slighlty remastered , and the DVD is a treasure to understand and appreciate Simon's approach to building up new Music Works, always with a new sound, a new musician, a new spirit!!
I don't think there's an equally talented, straightforward and honest composer/interpreter around these days ...
Bravo mille fois, Simon !
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