The Best of James Taylor (2003)

July 10, 2008

“Sweet Baby James” has another name in my mind and that would be “The Cover King” ! Now I don’t mean to take anything from his extraordinary talents as a singer/songwriter, because he has written plenty of classics cuts on his own (e.g. Fire & Rain, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, Your Smiling Face, etc.) that have been covered by the best.  It’s just that while I was listening to this purchase I came to realize just how many tunes he had covered over the years. But I must say he selected the most beautiful songs to record and did them in his own sweet style.

I am going to share some of the originals with James’ covers from this collection and then tell you to go out and make this purchase if you haven’t already. I am always looking for commute music and riding along while listening to the mellow singing of Taylor suits me just fine: It really makes a  rush hour trek less stressful.

Released on the Warner Brothers Label in 2003 —

“The album debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart on April 26, 2003 at number 11, with sales of approximately 73,500 copies. It remained on the chart for 42 weeks. It was awarded a certified gold record on December 17, 2003, and a platinum record on April 15, 2005, by the RIAA.” (SOURCE)

Track listing

1. “Something In the Way She Moves” (Composed by James Taylor)

2. “Sweet Baby James” (Composed by James Taylor)

3. “Fire and Rain” (Composed by James Taylor)

4. “Country Road” (Single Version) (Composed by James Taylor)

5. “You’ve Got a Friend”- Composed by the fantastic singer/songwriter Carole King  here is a live performance video of her performing the song followed by an audio clip of Taylor’s cover.

6. “You Can Close Your Eyes” (Composed by James Taylor)

7. “Long Ago and Far Away” (Composed by James Taylor)

8. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” (Composed by James Taylor) BTW if you have never heard  The Isley Brothers’ cover of this classic you are missing something awesome. Track it down if you can.

9. “Walking Man” (Composed by James Taylor)5

10. “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” – Composed by Motown’s stellar songwriting team of Holland/Dozier/Holland this is one of Marvin Gaye’s early breakout hits. Here is a vintage TV performance of him doing his original version followed by an audio clip of Taylor’s cover. You may also read more about the song on my companion blog here.

11. “Mexico”  (Composed by James Taylor)

12. “Shower the People” (Composed by James Taylor) This is one of my favorite Taylor songs. Beautiful sentiment and melody.

13. “Golden Moments” (Composed by James Taylor)

14. “Steamroller” (Live Version) (Composed by James Taylor)

15. “Carolina In My Mind” (1976 Version) (Composed by James Taylor)

16. “Handy Man” – Composed by Otis Blackwell & Jimmy “Handyman” Jones.  Jones not only co-wrote the tune, but was the first to record the song which earned a gold record in 1960. This is the original Jones’ release followed by the audio of Taylor’s cover version.

17. “Your Smiling Face”  (Composed by James Taylor)

18. “Up on the Roof” (Composed by Gerry Goffin & Carole King) – This classic was first recorded   by the Drifters went to #5 pop and #4 R&B in 1962. Love it!

19. “Only A Dream In Rio” (Composed by James Taylor)

20. “Bittersweet” (Previously Unreleased)  (Composed by  John Sheldon)

Hope you enjoyed the music.

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