30 Songs, 1 Hour 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though James Taylor defined the early-'70s singer/songwriter movement, he continued to write and record songs of great lyrical and melodic import for decades. His exquisite acoustic guitar skills turned songs such as “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James,” and Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” into standards for both radio and acoustic guitarists. (In fact, Taylor offers detailed lessons on how to play his songs at his website.) A number of greatest-hits collections aim to summarize his career; The Essential James Taylor, with 30 tracks, is among the best, as more is always better in Taylor’s case. The ‘70s hits are covered here, but so are his later efforts. “Copperline” has become another classic. “Her Town Too” pairs him with unofficial Eagles member J.D. Souther, and the set ends with live tracks of “My Traveling Star” and ”You Can Close Your Eyes,” which further illustrate how Taylor can hold an audience captive without dance routines or dry ice. Musical talent and well-crafted, understated songs sometimes get the job done, too.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though James Taylor defined the early-'70s singer/songwriter movement, he continued to write and record songs of great lyrical and melodic import for decades. His exquisite acoustic guitar skills turned songs such as “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James,” and Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” into standards for both radio and acoustic guitarists. (In fact, Taylor offers detailed lessons on how to play his songs at his website.) A number of greatest-hits collections aim to summarize his career; The Essential James Taylor, with 30 tracks, is among the best, as more is always better in Taylor’s case. The ‘70s hits are covered here, but so are his later efforts. “Copperline” has become another classic. “Her Town Too” pairs him with unofficial Eagles member J.D. Souther, and the set ends with live tracks of “My Traveling Star” and ”You Can Close Your Eyes,” which further illustrate how Taylor can hold an audience captive without dance routines or dry ice. Musical talent and well-crafted, understated songs sometimes get the job done, too.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Bowie chick ,

Jackpot!!!!

James never goes out of style. What a great addition to my music selection. My old cd skips too bad for iPod

a song 4u ,

A Missed Opportunity

James Taylor deserves to have a definitive, authoritative anthology of his work and finally a cross licensed collection is released. This collection released on Sony collects James’s work from Warner Brother, Sony, and Hear Music. It’s assembled chronologically and is heavier on his Warner work than his Sony affiliation and Hear Music is represented by two tracks, nothing from his Covers lp is here at all, making this could’ve been perfect anthology a bit incomplete and obsolete. The mastering overall is comparable to his The Best Of James Taylor released on Warner Brothers and Rhino back in 2003, Greatest Hits 2 released on Columbia is a bit cleaner than this, Hear Music’s recordings are quieter than their original source. Disc one is only 52 minutes long and disc two is a touch over an hour. CD technology and sonic space allows 79 minutes of material and the old rule of a cd longer than 75 minutes making cd players malfunction is now obsolete. This collection could have been the definitive collection we’ve yearned for and again, denied. Maybe in a year’s time this set like The Essential series featuring other artists will receive a 3.0 expansion featuring a third cd of material and will consist of glaring omissions like “Hey Mister, That’s Me On The Jukebox” and “Traffic Jam".

Kellyvball ,

Amazing

James Taylor's album is a must-have!!!

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