Saturday, April 25, 2009

Album of the Day #146: JAMES TAYLOR

Artist: James Taylor
Title: James Taylor
Label: Apple
Year: 1968
Songs: Don't Talk Now*/Somthing's Wrong/Knocking 'Round The Zoo/Sunshine Sunshine/Taking It In/Something In The Way She Moves/Carolina In My Mind/Brighten Your Night With My Day/Night Owl/Rainy Day Man*/Cirle Around The Sun**/Blues Is Just A Bad Dream
Written by: James Taylor, except *James Taylor & Zachary Weisner and **Traditional
Produced by: Peter Asher
Thoughts: Taylor was the first American act to sign with Apple Records and if only they were able to keep him beyond this incredible album, Apple would have been a lot more successful. This debut record is probably one of the more ambitious out there, but when you have the Beatles' blessings and an incredible producer, you have the ability to take a few more liberties. Beyond "Something In The Way She Moves" and "Carolina In My Mind", both re-recorded for his Greatest Hits record, the album is host to plenty of amazing tunes that foreshadow the amazing growth on Sweet Baby James. "Brighten Your Night With Me Day" and "Something's Wrong" grow into songs like "Sweet Baby James" and "Fire And Rain", while heavier tracks like "Knocking 'Round The Zoo" and "Blues Is Just A Bad Dream" mirror "Lo And Behold" and "Suite For Twenty G".
I actually think that this album is significantly better than Sweet Baby James as it is much longer and more satisfying, with no filler like "Oh Baby, Don't You Lose Your Lip On Me" or "Oh, Susannah".
The album should have been a monster hit. Taylor couldn't have asked for a better single in "Carolina In My Mind" (featuring McCartney on bass and Harrison on vocals) but he was doomed from the start. At just 19 (my age!), he was addicted to drugs and was rushed back to New York to a rehabilitation center, killing any chance to tour and promote the album. If you are a JT fan and think that this is not an important record to get, I say you are gravely mistaken. This is a fantastic record with great writing.

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