Song of the Day #626: ‘Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy’ – Paul Simon

Three years after There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Paul Simon released Still Crazy After All These Years. And if it weren’t for the amazing, groundbreaking work to come in the 80s, I’d be quick to call this his best album.

A quiet, intimate record, like all of his solo albums to that point, Still Crazy doesn’t have a weak song on it. That includes the title track, one of Simon’s most famous, as well as the classic ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.’

But the lesser known tracks are strong, too, including Simon and Garfunkel reunion song ‘My Little Town’ and ‘You’re Kind,’ a personal favorite of mine, in which Simon sings a woman’s praises and then drops her in the funny closing lines: “I’m gonna leave you now and here’s the reason why / I like to sleep with the window open and you keep the window closed / So goodbye.”

‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ always struck me as the ultimate adult song. I’m not sure what I even mean by that, but I remember being a pre-teen, I guess, hearing that song and thinking it just summed up what it was like to be a grown up. Meeting your old lover on the street one night, not being a fool for love songs that whisper in your ears, and especially that fabulous line toward the end of the song: “I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers… still crazy after all these years.”

I grew up wanting to be the kind of adult who got a lot out of a song like that. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I guess.

But I’m not picking the title track as today’s Song of the Day because there’s another song I like even more. ‘Some Folks Lives Roll Easy’ is a simple, sweet little blues song that has always felt just about perfect to me.

Some folks’ lives roll easy as a breeze
Drifting through a summer night
Heading for a sunny day
But most folks’ lives, they stumble,
Lord they fall
Through no fault of their own
Most folks never catch their stars

And here I am, Lord
I’m knocking at your place of business
I know I ain’t got no business here
But you said if I ever got so low
I was busted,
You could be trusted

Some folks’ lives roll easy
Some folks’ lives never roll at all
They just fall
They just fall
Some folks’ lives

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #626: ‘Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy’ – Paul Simon

  1. Amy says:

    I had a similar feeling about that song growing up. This was one of the albums in our parents’ collection that was somehow on the brink – and I’m not sure what I mean by that exactly either. There were the many Sinatra and Streisand albums that seemed to be holdovers from their parents, then there was this Paul Simon guy singing solo, and Billy Joel crooning about Brenda and Eddie. And those were the albums it seemed a treat to get to hear when you were still just a kid. Because they were a bit more edgy and adult..

    It’s funny because you always hear about parents rolling their eyes at the crazy music their kids listen to, but not nearly as much is written about the way kids think about the music their parents listen to… how it shapes their musical tastes and so on. That might be the more interesting area to explore.

    I, for one, grew up loving Sinatra and Streisand, Simon and Joel. There wasn’t a lot of diversity in our parents’ music collection, but everything they listened to was great. I wonder if they hid the Eminem (or whatever would have been the 70’s equivalent) albums because they weren’t appropriate for children to hear 🙂

    Today’s song I more fully came to appreciate when a certain blogger put it on a mix tape for me. I don’t think I ever fully listened to and appreciated it when it came through the reel to reel at home. I guess I was too eagerly waiting to eavesdrop on the 50 ways I would someday leave my lover.

  2. Dana says:

    I’m not sure I would categorize this as a “blues” song, but it is still a beautiful song by Simon nonetheless. “You’re Kind” is arguably bluesier.

    My personal favorite on this album remains the title track. I’ve always loved the structure of that song and the saxophone break by David Sanborn is exhilarating.

  3. Dana says:

    Correction–apparently Phil Woods is responsible for the sax solo on “Still Crazy After All These Years.”

  4. Dana says:

    Further correction–make that Michael Brecker on sax:)

  5. pegclifton says:

    Well this is truly an exciting day, I actually own and still listen to this CD on a somewhat regular basis! I’m so glad that you remember listening to the Joel and Simon songs along with the Sinatra etc. ones, Amy, and I don’t think we were hiding the rap music 🙂 (were they even around then?).

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