- Personnel includes: Paul Simon (vocals, nylon-string acoustic guitar, acoustic & electric guitars, six-string electric bass); Michael Riesman (conductor); Eric Gale (nylon string & electric guitars); Pete Carr (acoustic & electrical guitars); Peter Drake (pedal steel guitar, dobro); Chikapa "Ray" Phiri (guitar); Onward Brass Band (horns); Larry Knechtel (piano, organ, bass); Richard Tee (piano, keyboards, bass); Ken Asher (organ); Greg Phillinganes (synthesizers, bass); Bob James (keyboards); Joe Osborn (bass); Hal Blaine, Steve Gadd, Victor Montanez (drums); Ralph McDonald, UAKTA (percussion).
- Additional guest artists: The Reverend Claude Jeter, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Phoebe Snow, The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Oak Ridge Boys, Milton Nascimento, C.J. Chenier, Rockin' Dopsie & The Twisters (vocals); Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin (arrangers); J.J. Cale, Ringo Starr (guitar); Charlie McCoy (harmonica); Michael Brecker (saxophone, trumpet, synthesizer); John Faddis, Randy Brecker (trumpet); Hugh Masekela (flugelhorn); Rick Marotta (drums); Nana Vasconcelos (percussion); The Waters, Cissy Houston, The Jesse Dixon Singers, Valerie Simpson, The Harptones, The Waters Sisters (background vocals).
- Producers include: Paul Simon, Reginald Warburton, Stanley West, Art Garfunkel, Phil Ramone.
- Engineers: Roy Halee Jerry Masters, Phil Ramone.
- Compilation producer: Paul Simon.
- Includes liner notes by Kevin Howlett, Paul Zollo and Philip Glass.
- This 3-CD box set contains a 40-page booklet with extensive liner notes, track by track annotations, complete personnel and recording information a discography, rare photographs and is divided into three sections "The Early Years," "The Solo Years" and "Graceland And Beyond."
- Audio Remasterers: Daniel Hersch; Bill Inglot.
- Recording information: C.B.E. Studios, Paris, France; Columbia Studios, New York; Dynamic Sounds Studios, Kingston, Jamaica; San Francisco; Western Studios, Los Angeles.
- Photographer: P.A. Harper.
- Upon the realization that 50 percent meant "half," Paul Simon terminated his wildly successful partnership with Art Garfunkel. Anyone who was paying attention to the quality of the writing on those Simon & Garfunkel albums shouldn't have been surprised by Simon's rapid emergence as a solo artist of the first order. His self-titled solo debut is a vibrant, eclectic affair that expands on the artistic developments of his former work while exploring new musical horizons.
- The elliptical "Mother and Child Reunion" is surely one of the first American pop flirtations with Jamaican music. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" is similarly groundbreaking for its time in its use of Latin rhythms (a move Simon would eventually repeat on "Late in the Evening"). These cultural excursions foreshadow the road Simon would take decades later on GRACELAND. There are also some good old neurotic singer-songwriter tunes, like the sardonic "Run That Body Down," which stands up with the best work of Randy Newman, whose approach it recalls.
Rolling Stone (3/2/72, p.56) - "...PAUL SIMON leaves its composer's psyche finally exposed, as the various veneers he has used in the past to protect himself have receded into the background..."
Entertainment Weekly (12/3/93, p.70) - "...[Simon] has maintained a level of quality and innovation unequaled by his '60s peers.... - Rating: B +
Mojo (Publisher) (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[H]e was already adept at dressing songs in exotic garb....This is a reminder of just how fruitful Simon's genre-hopping could be."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]is hunger to explore different musical styles is evident on his eponymous 1972 release..."