August 14, 2008

sweet baby james

james taylor kind of gets a bad rap...even in that one simpsons episode when homer goes into space & brings a bag of chips with him that end up clogging the instruments & sending the shuttle hurling back towards earth, & mission control brings in taylor to calm down the astronauts with his "unique brand of bittersweet folk rock", but buzz aldrin wants nothing to do with him...well, in the end it's taylor's idea to create a compressor to suck the chips out that ultimately saves the day, so...i guess i don't really have a point, except that that episode's hilarious...& james taylor's laid-back sensitive pop music is a lot better than you think...especially on his first lp, which came out on the beatles' apple label in 1969 (he was actually the first artist signed by apple, if you're looking for a little trivia)...anyway, producer peter asher incorporated strings & brass into taylor's acoustic arrangements & linked the tracks with classical interludes & reprises to create an incredibly fluid feel, which in turn makes for a super relaxing, & rewarding, listen...still, without the great songs, it wouldn't work...i mean, there's a reason your parents love the guy, right...make sure to keep an ear open for paul mccartney lending his bass to an early version of "carolina on my mind", as well...good stuff.

download: james taylor - knocking 'round the zoo

related: to be honest, i probably never would have discovered this album if not for hearing widespread panic's cover of "knocking 'round the zoo" way back...they definitely take it to another level...also, if you couldn't tell, the song is about taylor's teenage stay at mclean psychiatric hospital, outside boston.

1 comment:

dylan said...

agreed. taylors early material is some excellent stuff. on his album 'JT', his producer reprised alot of his earlier material in a pop vein and he became famous as a result. his early work is the essence of blue-eyed soul- funky in an unhurried, deeply soulful vein.