Redux: Paul Simon and Derek Walcott, The Capeman (1998)


Mike Doherty, in an article for The National Post (Literary lyrics: Novelist Michael Chabon spun the words on Mark Ronson’s new funkadelic album ‘Uptown Special’) has this to say about the SImon and Walcott Broadway collaboration:

Paul Simon and Derek Walcott, The Capeman (1998) This Broadway musical had great promise: Simon’s latest albums, Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, had been cross-cultural triumphs, and he enlisted Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright Walcott to help tell the compelling true-life story of a Puerto Rican gang member who murdered two white teenagers in 1959 New York. But even though Walcott outgrew his dislike of the main character, Simon made enemies by dismissing the worth of everything else on Broadway, and the production went through four directors and two choreographers before opening to damning reviews. The New York Times called it “unparalleled in its wholesale squandering of illustrious talents,” and it closed after two months. The album Songs from the Capeman survives; despite its earnest tone and occasional wordiness — no surprise there, as both Simon and Walcott love long lines — it does have a winning, sinuous charm. For his next album, Simon retreated to singer/songwriter mode; one of the musical’s directors said, “I get a sense he hasn’t gotten a very good rap about collaborating.”

For the original report go to


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