SONG TITLE: LATE IN THE EVENING
PERFORMER: PAUL SIMON
SONGWRITER: PAUL SIMON
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1980
The actual song is your usual perfectly constructed catchy blues inflected Paul Simon pop masterwork. Since early in his career, Simon has frequently went out of his way to work more ethnic musical influences into his somewhat white bread background. Note, however, how this is becoming increasingly integrated into the songs. In this case, the horn charts play a dominant enough role to really be properly considered as part of the composition.
The lyrics are memories of indelible youthful emotional imprints. Note how every one of them is keyed to music, from Mommy laughing with the music on the radio, to the acapella blues on the street, to the hazy stoned thrill of being an underaged musician blowing away a bar full of people.
One of the little traits I particularly like about Simon's lyrics is how he looks for opportunities to push the boundaries of acceptability on mainstream commercial pop radio, from the secular references to Jesus in "Mrs. Robinson" on. In this case, Paul makes an unequivocally positive description of smoking marijuana - specifically as an underaged youngster.
Anyway, the moral of this story is: if you're gonna get all sentimental, it is best done with lots of punchy horns to a kick-ass latin dancebeat.
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