“A growing body of research suggest that music, like art, pets and other creative forms of therapy, can stir emotions and memories, enhance enjoyment and self-esteem, and enrich the lives of people with dementia,” according to the University of Miami School of Medicine.  More, “while people with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to speak or recognize loved ones as the disease takes its inexorable downward decline, many retain the ability to remember songs from long-ago childhoods.”

This considered, a super-fab play list is in order!  It must include Paul Simon’s, 1986/87 Call Me Al. I love this song! My childhood memories are dotted with repeat performances of this song. Using the living room as their stage my Dad and my sister did a dance to this music that looks similiar to the one in the video.  Yes. Yes. YES. The playlist MUST include this song! The pennywhistle solo is so recognizable, so this song, so whimsical and so fun. 

Dad and his co-spiriter stepped from side to side while throwing their arm out upon reaching the end of each line. It was a family favorite. She totally got it, every naunce. They either twirled their arms in a circular motion or pretended to play instruments like in the Chevy Chase featured video.

Speaking of that video. It’s hilarious as it mocks lip syncihing and the big band performance videos of the eighties. Chevy lip syncs while Paul pretends to play instruments. I think the whole video was done in one shot.

Paul Simon is one of the great lyricists of this century as this funny tune is no exception. The words create a powerful and joyful tension that offers a shattering contrast between the mundane and the sublime.  I think the first few verses are stream of consioucness while the final verse reflects his wonderment of Africa. I could be wrong as there is a school of thought that swears it’s wrapped around Alcoholism (Al) and Betty Ford (Betty).

While another group of people insist the lyrics are based on an incident at a party with his wife Peggy.  Who knows?  But, I think I am more on the right track.

In the case you are wondering, here are the lyrics to Call Me Al by Paul Simon:

A man walks down the street.
He says why am I soft in the middle now.
Why am I soft in the middle the rest of my life is so hard.
I need a photo oppertunity.
I want a shot at redemption.
Don’t wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
Bonedigger, bonedigger.
Dogs in the moonlight.
Far away in my well lit door.
Mr. beerbelly, beerbelly get these mutts away.
You know, I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.

Chorus:
If you’ll be my bodyguard, I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me
You can call me Al

A man walks down the street he says
Why am I short of attention?
Got a short little span of attention
And whoa my nights are so long.
Where’s my wife and family?
What if I die here?
Who’ll be my role model now that my role model is gone, gone.
He ducked back down the alley with some roly poly little bat faced girl.
All alone, all alone there were incidents and accidents.
There were hints and allegations.

(Chorus)

Call me Al

A man walks down the street.
It’s a street in a strange world.
Maybe it’s the the Third World.
Maybe it’s his first time around.
Doesn’t speak the language.
He holds no currency.
He is a foreign man.
He is surrounded by the sound, the sound.
Cattle in the marketplace.
Scatterings in the orphanages.
He looks around and around.
He sees angels in the architecture.
Spinning in infinity.
He says hey, hallelujah.

(Chorus)

Call me

If you’ll be my bodyguard
I can call you Betty

Okay, so I can’t wrap it up there. Just to demonstrate how classic, progressive, far-sighted and open minded this artist is I am including some recent work.  Here’s something more recent. Here is Fast Car – by Wyclef Jean featuring Paul Simon. Enjoy!