Laura Marling is an artist who handles songs with great care. Alongside her own delicately crafted gems are a slew of covers that she has tenderly made her own with a sense of honourable devotion to the original. Paul Simon’s tracks command respect, and Marling meets them like a white-gloved restoration.
Naturally, for many songwriters, Paul Simon represents a gold standard for his lyrics that do anything other than “tear and strain to rhyme” and the beautiful melodies that he seems to craft on a whim. When we recently spoke to Jack Savoretti, he even went as far as to call him the greatest in this regard.
“Well, for me, Elvis is the king of rock, Sam Cooke is the king of soul, James Brown is the king of funk, but when it comes to songwriting, I think Paul Simon is the king,” Savoretti told us. “Bookends is just a masterclass. The simplicity of it is like a conversation with an old friend.”
Adding: “There is such nostalgia to it. It’s very beautiful too, and beauty is not always put on records these days. It’s not as marketable as other things, but there’s a lot of beauty on it, it’s like looking through an old photo album, and for me, it has that same lovely effect as doing that.”
Marling is one of the artists who has sustained a level of beauty on her records. And it is a beauty that perfectly pairs with Simon’s 1975 hit from his fourth studio album of the same name, ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’. Yet another of Simon’s brooding ditties that stir with the reminiscence and sense of life that a photo album can bring forth.
The song reads like a conversation of sorts, and that is perhaps why Marling wears the song like a glass slipper. As she once said of her own style: “When I’m singing, I feel like I’m talking to someone. I’m in conversation when I perform – either with myself or with whomever is listening.”
The cover below came as part of her BBC Proms appearance back in 2020, where she appeared with 12 Ensemble for a recital of her back catalogue and a showcasing of tracks from her stunning album, Song for Our Daughter, released that same year.
The delicate performance is a perfect example of how power can be mustered from delicate sounds. The performance barely rises above a hush, but like a spider’s web, it has a filigreed beauty that could hold its own in the midst of a storm.