James Taylor Reviews

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The Essential James Taylor

Review Over the course of a 45-year career, James Taylor has cultivated a profound, intimate friendship, not just with the characters who populate his songs, but with his legions of fans. As immediately accessible as those songs are, there is always more going on in them than meets the ear on first listen. The Essential James Taylor is a collection of recordings that define a generation.
Before This World

Review Legendary singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy Award winning artist James Taylor presents his first collection of original recordings in over 13 years!
The album, Before This World, available on June 16th, will be released prior to US tour dates that includes a sold out performance at Fenway Park in Boston, MA on August 6th. Before This World follows his highly successful recording with Carole King, Live at the Troubadour, which was certified GOLD by the RIAA upon its 2010 release.
Carole King & James Taylor: Live At The Troubadour

Review A generation of girls grew up wanting to be with James Taylor. A generation of guys grew up wanting to be James Taylor. But this CD'll have to do. You've Got a Friend; Fire and Rain; How Sweet it Is; Mexico, and much more.
James Taylor : Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

Review Certified at 3 million units by the RIAA. (2/01)
The Best of Bonnie Raitt

Review The album that launched a thousand heavy-hearted singer-songwriters on their not-so-merry way, Sweet Baby James was arguably the first shot in what became the soft revolution of the early '70s. A refugee of the Beatles' Apple label, Taylor struck commercial gold with Sweet Baby James by augmenting his acoustic guitar and soothing vocals with laid-back accompaniment (which included equally influential singer-songwriter insurrectionist Carole King on piano) and penning a slew of songs that drew upon folk, soul, and rock influences. "Fire and Rain" stands as the quintessential early Taylor tune: musically mellow and lyrically restive, it put Taylor in the Top 10 and set the tone for a popular school of '70s sound. --Steven Stolder
The Essential Carole King

Review First signed to The Beatles Apple label, gifted American troubadour James Taylor released his eponymous debut album in 1969. Back in the states in 1970, he delivered Sweet Baby James as his Warner Bros. label debut. Throughout the '70s he continued to build his reputation as one of pop's most beloved and influential recording artists, following up with multimillion-sellers like Mud Slide Slim and The Blue Horizon, One Man Dog, Walking Man, Gorilla, In The Pocket, and his first Greatest Hits album chronicling his Warner Bros. output, which has since sold more than 12 million copies. After switching to Columbia Records in 1977, Taylor's hit streak continues to this day. He has 4 Grammys under his belt, as well as inductions into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1998 he was honored with the Billboard Century Award. Now, as his career is once again on the upswing thanks to his latest platinum two-time Grammy-nominated October Road CD, the timing is perfect to renew the love affair America has had with his early work - with THE BEST OF JAMES TAYLOR.
Reflections Carly Simon's Greatest Hits

Review Any good singer can interpret a song, but it takes a stylist to make it his own. James Taylor is a stylist. This 20-track anthology obviously can't chronicle much more than the hits and high points of Taylor's career, but it nonetheless captures the artistic essence of a performer who's become a virtual synonym for "singer-songwriter" since his emergence in the late '60s. A lot of ink has been spilled ruminating about Taylor's role in soothing a '60s-burned generation, but given his own well-known demons (depression, addiction) his gentle voice often sounds like the physician wisely healing himself. His muse seems fully formed from the opening "Something in the Way She Moves," a track cut for the Beatles' Apple label in late ‘68 (and one that seems to share some symbiotic relationship with George Harrison's own classic "Something" from the period), its tone at once familiar and inviting--if ripe for a few decades of parody--as it wends its way from his seminal early '70s hits through a slate of later originals, R&B ("How Sweet It Is," "Handy Man") and pop ("Up On the Roof") covers. Tellingly, he delivers those chestnuts with an offhand confidence and illumination that makes them his own, a sense that informs even his jazz and Brazilian ("Only a Dream a Rio") flirtations. The set's newly recorded bonus cut, John Sheldon's "Bittersweet," is a pleasant pop confection that showcases Taylor's knack for being laconic and upbeat in the same breath. --Jerry McCulley
Tapestry

Review TAYLOR AND HIS BAND ARE FILMED IN CONCERT AT BOSTON'S BEACON THEATRE, PERFORMING CLASSICS AND SONGS FROM THE HOURGLASS ALBUM.
The Very Best of Jackson Browne

Review Sensitive singer-songwriter, soft-rock poster boy, boomer troubadour: James Taylor has outlived the stereotypes offered by fans and critics alike by simply staying his musical course and continuing to refine his familiar, deceptively mellifluous style. This 1998 concert displays Taylor's craftsmanship and easy rapport with both his band and his audience to satisfying effect, offering a repertoire that draws from his entire career while providing a generous selection of songs from his Grammy-winning 1997 set, Hourglass. Fans will love it, of course, but even jaded listeners can find fresh feeling and formidable expertise here.

By now, Taylor's skill at low-key love songs is a given, making him an archetypal "sensitive New Age guy" on the strength of his canny mix of emotional vulnerability, romantic imagery, and understated delivery. Less obviously, Taylor has gradually transformed the shadows of disillusionment audible in his earliest songs into a nuanced acknowledgment of his own age. "Line 'Em Up," from Hourglass, typifies his skill at limning disarmingly lucid, frankly philosophical vignettes, here woven around a recollection of Richard Nixon's last hurrah, while "Jump Up Behind Me" affords a testament to self-determination ultimately as serious in theme as it is buoyant in its musical framework. Throughout, Taylor's stage band proves a thoroughbred, its accompaniment rock solid and delicately detailed, and perfectly matched to a crack backing chorus.

Among the first video concerts produced with DVD in mind, Live at the Beacon Theatre has been in heavy rotation in home demonstration suites ever since its release, an achievement understandable after hearing the crystalline 5.1 mix engineered by Frank Filipetti, who shared a Grammy as coproducer on Hourglass and snagged a second award for his engineering of that album. --Sam Sutherland


James Taylor Greatest Hits

Review Over the course of a 45-year career, James Taylor has cultivated a profound, intimate friendship, not just with the characters who populate his songs, but with his legions of fans. As immediately accessible as those songs are, there is always more going on in them than meets the ear on first listen. The Essential James Taylor is a collection of recordings that define a generation.
Sweet Baby James

Review Legendary singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy Award winning artist James Taylor presents his first collection of original recordings in over 13 years!
The album, Before This World, available on June 16th, will be released prior to US tour dates that includes a sold out performance at Fenway Park in Boston, MA on August 6th. Before This World follows his highly successful recording with Carole King, Live at the Troubadour, which was certified GOLD by the RIAA upon its 2010 release.
Before This World

Review A generation of girls grew up wanting to be with James Taylor. A generation of guys grew up wanting to be James Taylor. But this CD'll have to do. You've Got a Friend; Fire and Rain; How Sweet it Is; Mexico, and much more.
The Essential James Taylor

Review Certified at 3 million units by the RIAA. (2/01)
Carole King & James Taylor: Live At The Troubadour

Review The album that launched a thousand heavy-hearted singer-songwriters on their not-so-merry way, Sweet Baby James was arguably the first shot in what became the soft revolution of the early '70s. A refugee of the Beatles' Apple label, Taylor struck commercial gold with Sweet Baby James by augmenting his acoustic guitar and soothing vocals with laid-back accompaniment (which included equally influential singer-songwriter insurrectionist Carole King on piano) and penning a slew of songs that drew upon folk, soul, and rock influences. "Fire and Rain" stands as the quintessential early Taylor tune: musically mellow and lyrically restive, it put Taylor in the Top 10 and set the tone for a popular school of '70s sound. --Steven Stolder
October Road

Review First signed to The Beatles Apple label, gifted American troubadour James Taylor released his eponymous debut album in 1969. Back in the states in 1970, he delivered Sweet Baby James as his Warner Bros. label debut. Throughout the '70s he continued to build his reputation as one of pop's most beloved and influential recording artists, following up with multimillion-sellers like Mud Slide Slim and The Blue Horizon, One Man Dog, Walking Man, Gorilla, In The Pocket, and his first Greatest Hits album chronicling his Warner Bros. output, which has since sold more than 12 million copies. After switching to Columbia Records in 1977, Taylor's hit streak continues to this day. He has 4 Grammys under his belt, as well as inductions into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1998 he was honored with the Billboard Century Award. Now, as his career is once again on the upswing thanks to his latest platinum two-time Grammy-nominated October Road CD, the timing is perfect to renew the love affair America has had with his early work - with THE BEST OF JAMES TAYLOR.
James Taylor : Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

Review Any good singer can interpret a song, but it takes a stylist to make it his own. James Taylor is a stylist. This 20-track anthology obviously can't chronicle much more than the hits and high points of Taylor's career, but it nonetheless captures the artistic essence of a performer who's become a virtual synonym for "singer-songwriter" since his emergence in the late '60s. A lot of ink has been spilled ruminating about Taylor's role in soothing a '60s-burned generation, but given his own well-known demons (depression, addiction) his gentle voice often sounds like the physician wisely healing himself. His muse seems fully formed from the opening "Something in the Way She Moves," a track cut for the Beatles' Apple label in late ‘68 (and one that seems to share some symbiotic relationship with George Harrison's own classic "Something" from the period), its tone at once familiar and inviting--if ripe for a few decades of parody--as it wends its way from his seminal early '70s hits through a slate of later originals, R&B ("How Sweet It Is," "Handy Man") and pop ("Up On the Roof") covers. Tellingly, he delivers those chestnuts with an offhand confidence and illumination that makes them his own, a sense that informs even his jazz and Brazilian ("Only a Dream a Rio") flirtations. The set's newly recorded bonus cut, John Sheldon's "Bittersweet," is a pleasant pop confection that showcases Taylor's knack for being laconic and upbeat in the same breath. --Jerry McCulley
James Taylor At Christmas

Review TAYLOR AND HIS BAND ARE FILMED IN CONCERT AT BOSTON'S BEACON THEATRE, PERFORMING CLASSICS AND SONGS FROM THE HOURGLASS ALBUM.
New Moon Shine

Review Sensitive singer-songwriter, soft-rock poster boy, boomer troubadour: James Taylor has outlived the stereotypes offered by fans and critics alike by simply staying his musical course and continuing to refine his familiar, deceptively mellifluous style. This 1998 concert displays Taylor's craftsmanship and easy rapport with both his band and his audience to satisfying effect, offering a repertoire that draws from his entire career while providing a generous selection of songs from his Grammy-winning 1997 set, Hourglass. Fans will love it, of course, but even jaded listeners can find fresh feeling and formidable expertise here.

By now, Taylor's skill at low-key love songs is a given, making him an archetypal "sensitive New Age guy" on the strength of his canny mix of emotional vulnerability, romantic imagery, and understated delivery. Less obviously, Taylor has gradually transformed the shadows of disillusionment audible in his earliest songs into a nuanced acknowledgment of his own age. "Line 'Em Up," from Hourglass, typifies his skill at limning disarmingly lucid, frankly philosophical vignettes, here woven around a recollection of Richard Nixon's last hurrah, while "Jump Up Behind Me" affords a testament to self-determination ultimately as serious in theme as it is buoyant in its musical framework. Throughout, Taylor's stage band proves a thoroughbred, its accompaniment rock solid and delicately detailed, and perfectly matched to a crack backing chorus.

Among the first video concerts produced with DVD in mind, Live at the Beacon Theatre has been in heavy rotation in home demonstration suites ever since its release, an achievement understandable after hearing the crystalline 5.1 mix engineered by Frank Filipetti, who shared a Grammy as coproducer on Hourglass and snagged a second award for his engineering of that album. --Sam Sutherland



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