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Paul Simon — The Obvious Child
Album: The Rhythm of the Saints
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1807









Released: 1990
Length: 4:00
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I'm accustomed to a smooth ride
Or maybe I'm a dog who's lost its bite
I don't expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don't expect to sleep through the night
Some people say a lie's a lie's a lie
But I say why
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?

And in remembering a road sign
I am remembering a girl when I was young
And we said, these songs are true
These days are ours
These tears are free
And hey
The cross is in the ballpark
The cross is in the ballpark

We had a lot of fun
We had a lot of money
We had a little son and we thought we'd call him Sonny
Sonny gets married and moves away
Sonny has a baby and bills to pay
Sonny gets sunnier
Day by day by day by day

I've been waking up at sunrise
I've been following the light across my room
I watch the night receive the room of my day
Some people say the sky is just the sky
But I say
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?

Sonny sits by his window and thinks to himself
How it's strange that some rooms are like cages
Sonny's yearbook from high school
Is down from the shelf
And he idly thumbs through the pages
Some have died
Some have fled from themselves
Or struggled from here to get there
Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls
Runs his hand through his thinning brown hair

Well I'm accustomed to a smoother ride
Maybe I'm a dog that's lost his bite
I don't expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don't expect to sleep all night
Some people say a lie is just a lie
But I say the cross is in the ballpark
Why deny the obvious child?
Comments (184)add comment
 maboleth wrote:
Someone give this man a pair of balls. His voice is absent of any masculine tone.
 
And Art did??
"I am remembering a girl when I was young"

I wish I could type the way he sings the word "young"
There is a Indian instrument called 'Taasha'. The sharp percussion sounds so very similar to it!
Someone give this man a pair of balls. His voice is absent of any masculine tone.
 dragon1952 wrote:
I'm 61 yrs old and grew up in the SF Bay Area during the 60's which IMO was the best time to be alive as far as the plethora of great bands and music. I have a very wide range of musical tastes, am an intellectual, college educated guy.... and I love Simon and Garfunkel......but I just have never understood the attraction to this guy's solo work. So it's the lyrics, eh? OK....but why place them in the same (or at least very similar) type of song, beat, etc most of the time. To me they all sound like the same song, basically him just talking behind the same monotonous and boring beat. If it's the lyrics then please just write them down on a piece of paper and maybe I'll read them when I get some time. I can honestly say that every time a Paul Simon song plays I will immediately either mute the sound or change the station.

 
So Dragon, you're 4 years older...... feeling any different? Me either,,,, right there with you.   
 michaelc wrote:
Never make the ultimate album - the next one can be amazing but it's just not as good.
Graceland and then this album, it was good but. . .
 
Actually I prefer this album to Graceland.
5 -> 7 - Quite Likeable
I just saw Paul's Homeward Bound Tour a couple of weeks ago.
It was amazing - GO IF YOU CAN. 
Never make the ultimate album - the next one can be amazing but it's just not as good.
Graceland and then this album, it was good but. . . 
Rhymin' Simon is a Musical Master imo  : )   Godlike 
 mememu wrote:
It happened again!! 
When the drumming starts in the intro, I'm always geared for "Matador" by "Los fabulosos Cadillacs". Although I like this Paul Simon song, "Matador" has this mixture of drumming and the strong flamenco-ish cry of Vicentico's voice really kicks me up from my chair to start dancing like a sambista in carnival.

 
Matador is a very fun song, although I'd pick PS if forced to choose. Then again, there's plenty of room for both!
I have many of his albums and a few of S&G. Back in 10th grade had a radical lit teacher  one Friday played Sounds of Silence and asking us are you a Rock can you be an Island?  Which a friend said was "think you numbskulls, THINK!"
Also the song where they sing a Christmas song and slowly Chet Huntley is giving the news and ends with the Vietnam dead. WOW! at that time it was radical. Today's standard she'd probably be fired, don't say anything controversial or make them think. 
It happened again!! 
When the drumming starts in the intro, I'm always geared for "Matador" by "Los fabulosos Cadillacs". Although I like this Paul Simon song, "Matador" has this mixture of drumming and the strong flamenco-ish cry of Vicentico's voice really kicks me up from my chair to start dancing like a sambista in carnival.
 dragon1952 wrote:
I'm 61 yrs old and grew up in the SF Bay Area during the 60's which IMO was the best time to be alive as far as the plethora of great bands and music. I have a very wide range of musical tastes, am an intellectual, college educated guy.... and I love Simon and Garfunkel......but I just have never understood the attraction to this guy's solo work. So it's the lyrics, eh? OK....but why place them in the same (or at least very similar) type of song, beat, etc most of the time. To me they all sound like the same song, basically him just talking behind the same monotonous and boring beat. If it's the lyrics then please just write them down on a piece of paper and maybe I'll read them when I get some time. I can honestly say that every time a Paul Simon song plays I will immediately either mute the sound or change the station.

 
I agree with most of this. I've hardly liked any of the songs he's put out since the S&G days (i.e., over the last 47 years). However, the S&G-era stuff is some of my favorite music of all time. Where have you gone, Paul Simon?
I like how he reels off such mind-blowingly stellar stanzas with such lyrical rhythm in this one, echoing his "Call Me Al" on Graceland... Indeed, to my ears, the level of musicianship on this album is right up there with that one, which means, to me, among Best Ever...
Brilliant, I'd forgotten how good this was🤗

 
saw him live the other day, he still got it.
{#Notworthy} 
Peter Gabriel - Boy in the Bubble —> Paul Simon - The Obvious Child

Jarring... but brilliant!
Wow, so nice to hear this today; in perfect synchronicity, all day long I've been thinking of World Music, especially like I enjoyed well in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Thailand, Burma, Mauritius... The Music talks to & through our bodies!  Dance!
one of my most favorite road trip albums.
Hi there colorado john and haydukes.  
No rational critique from me on this one, I love it!
This is what happens when you combine intelligence with talent and nuance....  
like the break with the quiet lyrics sliding into the rollicking re entry of drums full on...
Just fucking majestic, as we march lockstep into the 6th great extinction.
 

 
A sobering read... Here, we've had the wettest spring and the greenest, coolest summer like no one can remember...but: The Future?
Why deny THE OBVIOUS, child? To see "the Bath Ring" of Lake Mead, to see the salty trickles in Imperial Valley — it's Sci-Fi SCARY!  
———
hayduke2 wrote:

Yup, absolutely : )
hey coloradojohn, this article in this weeks New Yorker had me thinking of you, maybe check it out, Hokahey Dude!
 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/25/the-disappearing-riverA Reporter at Large MAY 25, 2015 ISSUEWhere the River Runs DryThe Colorado and America’s water crisis.

 coloradojohn wrote:
It's amazing, how I love the music of this song and am continually floored by the brilliance of the multi-dimensional, masterpiece lyrics!

 
Yup, absolutely : )
hey coloradojohn, this article in this weeks New Yorker had me thinking of you, maybe check it out, Hokahey Dude!
 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/25/the-disappearing-riverA Reporter at Large MAY 25, 2015 ISSUEWhere the River Runs DryThe Colorado and America’s water crisis.
 

It's amazing, how I love the music of this song and am continually floored by the brilliance of the multi-dimensional, masterpiece lyrics!
This song was used to great effect in the movie of the same name.
 blackaddermrbean wrote:
The Percussion reminds me a lot of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.
  
check out the similarity to Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - Matador
https://vimeo.com/36102596
  

   


The Percussion reminds me a lot of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.
 Papernapkin wrote:
You sound like a one-line robot. Do you not think?
 
Thank you...  everybody in my alien space craft loves this song...  we be dancing buck naked and cross-eyed like Willy Shakes...


Sonny gets sunnier day by day ...

Heck yeah he does!


Magnificent tune.

https://youtu.be/IUz6Hov7j_c





 


 mrselfdestruct wrote:

This is my baby son's favourite song!



 
My son's favorite song when he was a baby was Parliament's "Flashlight." A good backbeat gets babies groovin'.
This album is better than Graceland in some ways.  Together a great 1-2 punch.
 oldsaxon wrote:

You're not listening then, you've decided something and won't let the music through. There is very little to compare between Graceland and this...I appreciate your loss for a duo that was amazing, but let the music work it's way in, you'll find great things.

 
Yeah I would have agreed with the first post even just a few years ago. I guess as you said, it worked its way in through my years of RP listening. Now I'm always pleased when he comes on.
 dragon1952 wrote:
I'm 61 yrs old and grew up in the SF Bay Area during the 60's which IMO was the best time to be alive as far as the plethora of great bands and music. I have a very wide range of musical tastes, am an intellectual, college educated guy.... and I love Simon and Garfunkel......but I just have never understood the attraction to this guy's solo work. So it's the lyrics, eh? OK....but why place them in the same (or at least very similar) type of song, beat, etc most of the time. To me they all sound like the same song, basically him just talking behind the same monotonous and boring beat. If it's the lyrics then please just write them down on a piece of paper and maybe I'll read them when I get some time. I can honestly say that every time a Paul Simon song plays I will immediately either mute the sound or change the station.

 
You're not listening then, you've decided something and won't let the music through. There is very little to compare between Graceland and this...I appreciate your loss for a duo that was amazing, but let the music work it's way in, you'll find great things.
I'm 61 yrs old and grew up in the SF Bay Area during the 60's which IMO was the best time to be alive as far as the plethora of great bands and music. I have a very wide range of musical tastes, am an intellectual, college educated guy.... and I love Simon and Garfunkel......but I just have never understood the attraction to this guy's solo work. So it's the lyrics, eh? OK....but why place them in the same (or at least very similar) type of song, beat, etc most of the time. To me they all sound like the same song, basically him just talking behind the same monotonous and boring beat. If it's the lyrics then please just write them down on a piece of paper and maybe I'll read them when I get some time. I can honestly say that every time a Paul Simon song plays I will immediately either mute the sound or change the station.
 flyboy wrote:
2.  The only reason it isn't a 1 is to leave room for all of Peter Gabriel's songs.

 

Now that's just crazy talk.
 SuzG wrote:


4th. 

I'd rather hear just them.

 
Try listening to the lyrics as well. It might open your mind a bit. How dull would this song actually be if it were nothing but the drums? None of the heart of the song would be there just the beat, which is amazing, but only half the experience.

Walked down the same steps you see in the video and heard  drums from somewhere nearby. Found the group giving lessons in an upper floor of a day school.

Olodum, Salvador do Bahia, Brazil.


FABULOUS.


Sometimes I cannot resist the urge to hear all the songs on this epic recording, even if I just heard one or more the day before.  One of the best, ever...
 mrselfdestruct wrote:

This is my baby son's favourite song!

 
You should introduce him to Los Fabulosos Cadillacs' song "Matador" - he'll go absolutely wild.


Great album!
Great drumming, sadly spoilt by yer man's warbling. 8 for the drumming.

Everybody in my church be dancing...  love it...
 

This is my baby son's favourite song!


großartig !!
 mrcanard wrote:
Sounds too much like a marching drum band with lyrics.
 
There is a difference, you know, between a marching band and the ridiculously talented group that invented samba.
Sounds too much like a marching drum band with lyrics.
great album!
 MiracleDrug wrote:


one hell of a rebound on the long rolls for a brush...
 
Olodum really 'live' their music. Neither they, nor their audience, can stand still.
Obvious child? My mother always said I was the "oblivious child."
 Misterfixit wrote:

Tight stretched marching snare drum beaten with metal whisks; 32" bass drum with cloth mallets.

 

one hell of a rebound on the long rolls for a brush...

bump
 coloradojohn wrote:
This is one of those albums that you put on and feel the god of music leap into your soul...and thank God for good old Paul S and RP!
 


 scraig wrote:
you played Simon and Garfunkel less than an hour ago...just saying.
 
....uh oh, the fix is in.


 cc_rider wrote:
The best part of this song is the drum line. Paul's okay and all, but the drum line really works.
 




If you like listening to a marching band.
you played Simon and Garfunkel less than an hour ago...just saying.
 cc_rider wrote:
The best part of this song is the drum line. Paul's okay and all, but the drum line really works.
 
Tight stretched marching snare drum beaten with metal whisks; 32" bass drum with cloth mallets.

 Papernapkin wrote:

You sound like a one-line robot. Do you not think?
 
Thank you...  this song is good for the feet...  we be dancing...  love it...

 
I love Paul Simon and I like many of the songs on this album, but not this one.  Its a 3 for me.
 coloradojohn wrote:
This is one of those albums that you put on and feel the god of music leap into your soul...and thank God for good old Paul S and RP!

 

This song is especially poignant and beautiful.


This is one of those albums that you put on and feel the god of music leap into your soul...and thank God for good old Paul S and RP!
 shutter wrote:

I'll third that.  Wholeheartedly.

 

4th. 

I'd rather hear just them.
 Geecheeboy wrote:
cc, I second the motion on the drumline.  Best part of this song.
 
I'll third that.  Wholeheartedly.

 Geecheeboy wrote:
cc, I second the motion on the drumline.  Best part of this song.
 

It's Olodum who hail from Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, saw them doing a dance class there by pure chance.
Paul Simon is a gifted artist and a beautiful human being and I hope he retreads before he retires...especially 21 years ago...
Caught Paul Simon in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" last night.  Never realised he had such a thin, nasal, almost whiny speaking voice.  Not so his singing voice.

8.


cc, I second the motion on the drumline.  Best part of this song.
Paul Simon is one of those artists who needs to retire. His new stuff is just crap.
The best part of this song is the drum line. Paul's okay and all, but the drum line really works.
Haven't heard this in ages! Thanks, RP. 
1990? Twenty years ago? God, I'm old.
 flyboy wrote:
2.  The only reason it isn't a 1 is to leave room for all of Peter Gabriel's songs.
 
Thanks for chiming in, sunshine. How's the gang in Wasilla today, anyway?

I have long thought of PS as overrated, yet every now and then he hits one particular note, and it's all justified.  This is one of those songs.
Okay, who ordered the truck of percussionists? :P
I love this song! The rythm is amazing!!
Must...not....air....drum......Gah!  Can't help it!

 
2.  The only reason it isn't a 1 is to leave room for all of Peter Gabriel's songs.
well, i'm accustomed to a smooth ride..

ahh...
{#Clap}
{#Drummer}

It's always great to hear this one again.

Terrific album too..............{#Drummer}{#Bananasplit}
 AuralSects wrote:


Actually, the drum track was recorded on 8 track, live on a Brazillian street. It was a performance by a drum troupe called OLODUM. He wrote the song and fitted it to the drums later.

Paul explains the process here

https://www.thedreamerofmusic.com/how%20was/h1/h1.htm
 
Saw Olodum drumming for a dance class in a studio, then perform live in a procession in the streets of Salvador do Bahia, Brazil. That was an experience, made all the better by two mid-teen girls from an 'all-dressed in white' school dance troupe goofing about in the back row doing double steps and swivel hip moves long before Madonna even thought of them. Spectacular!


This makes me want to go watch Drumline again.
 bb_bubbab wrote:
Paul Simon has always had the gift of taking the unusual musical riff (drums here) and used it in a beautiful new way.

Turn it up!  Tap your toes!
 
That's 'cause his drummer is frequently this man:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Gadd
Listen to Simon's 'Late in the Evening' for an outstanding example of his work.


I remember that girl
Paul Simon has always had the gift of taking the unusual musical riff (drums here) and used it in a beautiful new way.

Turn it up!  Tap your toes!
I remember reading Simon describe his process of lyric writing - he bounces a ball against a wall and comes up with the lyrics that way. I think it says a lot that he's not a "writer" - it's an oral process. I think he comes up with interesting twists of phrase first and meaning later. 
Paul Simon is one of the most enjoyable artists ever.  I loved this era.  He is a true artist, poet, and musician. 
 romeotuma wrote:


Listening to this song is good for the ears...
 
You sound like a one-line robot. Do you not think?
Did Paul Simon die? This is the fourth Simon song I've heard here in the past hour.


love it...




Listening to this song is good for the ears...


 kaybee wrote:
This song made me finally understand why much of Paul Simon's solo work just doesn't grab me.  I love African music and Ladysmith Black Mombaso; I respect Simon's lyricism and loved his work with Art Garfunkel.  I think however, his voice, unlike that of Peter Gabriel, whose solo work is on a similar pattern, is not passionate enough or too subdued for "world beat" (or whatever you want to call it) music.
 
and I on the other hand am debating on whether to push this over to a nine.  This concert tour gave an incredible show. Big, big (big) band.  Plus LBM, who(m?) I'm kind of tired of soundwise, but they sparkled that night.  


This song made me finally understand why much of Paul Simon's solo work just doesn't grab me.  I love African music and Ladysmith Black Mombaso; I respect Simon's lyricism and loved his work with Art Garfunkel.  I think however, his voice, unlike that of Peter Gabriel, whose solo work is on a similar pattern, is not passionate enough or too subdued for "world beat" (or whatever you want to call it) music.

 TanteJensen wrote:

If I remember it correctly, it was quite the other way round - the tape was sent to South America and the percussion was added then and there. Oh, and it works for me! One of the few songs that I never mastered playing on guitar (of those I tried though).

As I grow as a musician, I realise more and more how excellent Mr. Simon ist, though I always digged his music.

 

Actually, the drum track was recorded on 8 track, live on a Brazillian street. It was a performance by a drum troupe called OLODUM. He wrote the song and fitted it to the drums later.

Paul explains the process here

https://www.thedreamerofmusic.com/how%20was/h1/h1.htm


 Limpopoking wrote:


It's like saying Peter Gabriel was better off with Phil.... Nah, I knew you'd come around {#Lol}
 
Now, that's funny! {#Roflol}
 mfassett wrote:
Unlike Graceland, this sounds like a paul simon song pasted over a different rhythm... doesn't work, where Graceland excels.
 
If I remember it correctly, it was quite the other way round - the tape was sent to South America and the percussion was added then and there. Oh, and it works for me! One of the few songs that I never mastered playing on guitar (of those I tried though).

As I grow as a musician, I realise more and more how excellent Mr. Simon ist, though I always digged his music.

 mandolin wrote:
 but i really like what i've heard of surprise... 

Couldn't agree more!
 flyboy wrote:
Shoulda never broke up with Art.
 

It's like saying Peter Gabriel was better off with Phil.... Nah, I knew you'd come around {#Lol}
"Sonny's yearbook from high school
Is down from the shelf
And he idly thumbs through the pages
Some have died
Some have fled from themselves
Or struggled from here to get there
Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls
Runs his hand through his thinning brown hair"
.
I have always found that compelling. Simon's an artist of words and music.

 steeler wrote:
Very cool. As the years go on, my respect for Paul Simon just continues to grow.
 
I agree. Paul Simon is an incredible all round musician.

...graceland and rhythm of the saints have both intrigued me for quite some time, but i really like what i've heard of surprise...that latest development is pretty surprising in itself, as i can't stand paul simon's earlier work...

...of course, i'm always taken by brian eno productions, even when i'm not aware of his involvement...

For all those wondering what this beautiful song means:  the only thing that really matters is what it means to you{#Smile}
If you want to dig deeper (or learn what it means to others) just follow the Song Info (Song Meanings) link above and you'll find a fascinating discussion, including this quote (allegedly from the man who wrote the song):  "...When asked of its meaning, Simon answered, "The cross, the burden that we carry, is in the ballpark, it's doable."...".


Here comes rhymin' Simon.................
flyboy wrote:
Shoulda never broke up with Art.
I think I disagree with this one. I can think of a few who probably shouldn't have been so quick to pull the plug on their bands: Fogerty, Sting, Edie Brickell and to a lesser extent Natalie Marchant and Knopfler come to mind. That said, what I miss most about Garfunkel is the way his voice blended so beautifully with Simon's and the way he interpreted Simon's songs. A treasure.
highwindows wrote:
This & Graceland are clearly both landmark albums. For me Paul Simon, besides being a great musician & tunesmith, always brings such warmth & TENDERNESS to his songs. In this regard, for me, he stands alone. :hug:
Well said!
Shoulda never broke up with Art.
There's an exuberance in this song that makes me happy to b alive, tho' i'm with the folks who say they don't know what the song means, i don't either and i don't care :jump: thank you thank you paul 4 your music
Gorgeous drummers from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
windhorse wrote:
.... stand down Dylan, you''ve been out-poeted (?a word?)
:lol: it is now!
I love this. I used to wish I knew what the heck he was talkin' about in these songs, now I just go with the flow. Its Paul Simon, and its just good.
yuk :taped-shut:
:crown: :drummer: :crown:
Such a genius! I seem to always go slack-jawed at his lyrics.... stand down Dylan, you''ve been out-poeted (?a word?) :dance: :dance: :dance:
Peter Gabriel ... Paul Simon ... this must be the playlist the stars fell upon. :music:
So many Awesome Paul Simon tunes over the years. And, I do mean AWESOME, but this is my personal favorite!! :dancingbanana: :bananasplit: :good-vibes:
kewl
Kickin' it - you go Paul! Sorry about Sonny...
skdenfeld wrote:
I so love this album.
yup This one typefies "Rhythm of the Saints". Not the album but the Saints themselves. If they were partying. No disrespect intended
skdenfeld wrote:
I so love this album.
Yepper. Haven't pulled it out in a while, but I think I will after hearing this.
I so love this album.
If Bill wants to play 2 songs from "The Rhythm of the Saints" in 8 hours who can blame him? Bill... it is always alright by me! Tomorrow maybe we should make it 3.
nice tune