Videos by American Songwriter
With Fat Tuedsay upon us, it only makes sense to look at one of pop music’s finest evocations of that celebration in New Orleans. Paul Simon’s “Take Me To The Mardi Gras,” found on his outstanding 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, sounds like typical Simon for much of the song, all gentle acoustic guitars and swaying rhythms. In the coda, the Bourbon Street flavor comes to life with an appearance from the Onward Brass Band, whose horns blow the song from reflection to celebration.
Simon’s lyrics speak of all of the wonders of Mardi Gras, from the “music in the street” to the ability to “legalize your lows.” His narrator sounds like a guy who needs the rejuvenating aspects of the event, as the bridge makes clear: “And I will lay my burden down/Rest my head upon that shore/And when I wear that starry crown/I won’t be wanting anymore.” Once those horns kick in, don’t be surprised if you’re chanting “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” right along with Rhymin’ Simon.