I was reading Robert Baird's review of Paul Somon's latest album and was struck where he seemed to infer that a case can be made that Paul Simon rips off other culture's music. I had never heard or thought this. Certainly he has embraced and utilized world music, I think to great effect, but how can you rip off music short of Ice Ice Baby? Pat Boone, who did the sanitized versions of early R&B stuff was beloved by the artists whose songs he covered because they got paid because of his sales! I do regret that American culture was so racist at that time that Little Richard needed a white beard, but I cannot blame Pat for hearing a great song and covering them.
Paul is borrowing less heavily than that. He employs great players who I am sure enjoy the work, pay, and exposure they get from working with him. The complaint that he is practicing cultural theft just seems weak and contrived to me. Am I alone in this, or can someone set me straight?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.