Mother and Child Reunion
Label: Legacy Recordings
It's not officially his first solo album -- 1965's The Paul Simon Songbook wins that distinction -- but Simon's eponymous '72 release is his first after separating from Jewfro-ed foil Art Garfunkel. The calypso-inflected "Mother and Child Reunion" is Simon's earliest foray into the world music sphere he'd explore a decade later, and "Me and Julio" contains one of the most memorable whistle breaks in pop music. But mostly this album finds Simon unaccompanied by much more than his guitar and hand percussion, and songs like "Papa Hobo" and "Peace Like a River" shine in their soulful, simple Simon ease.