Thursday, May 19, 2011

James Taylor. Covers. Artist.

I've enjoyed James Taylor's beautiful music for more than 40 years. His originals--from Sweet Baby James to Only a Dream in Rio (a personal favorite) and the entire Hourglass CD (brilliant)are classics, but his covers are pretty sensational too.

Of course you think of his version of Handyman and You've Got a Friend, and How Sweet it Is, but how about Wichita Lineman? A couple of nights ago I dug his Covers album out of the pile and played it. Wichita Lineman is a Jimmy Webb classic from 1968 sung by Glen Campbell. From that era and from Mr. Webb, it had plenty of strings behind it. James' version had all the plaintive beauty of the original, but with a clean production of just his folks around him.

I love that the whole album, from 2008, was recorded by 12 musicians together in a converted barn in January in Western Massachusetts over a ten-day span. I'd love to make an album like that. Just get up, play music with James Taylor all day, then, after a tasty meal and a few glasses of wine, off to bed and back to it the next day.

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