Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

CD$12.99

Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The heart of James Taylor's appeal is that you can take him two ways. On the one hand, his music, including that warm voice, is soothing; its minor key melodies and restrained playing draw in the listener. On the other hand, his world view, especially on such songs as "Fire and Rain," reflects the pessimism and desperation of the 1960s hangover that was the early '70s. That may not be intentional: "Fire and Rain" was about the suicide of a fellow inmate of Taylor's at a mental institution, not the national malaise. But Taylor's sense of wounded hopelessness -- "I'm all in pieces, you can have your own choice," he sings in "Country Road" -- struck a chord with music fans, especially because of its attractive mixture of folk, country, gospel, and blues elements, all of them carefully understated and distanced. Taylor didn't break your heart; he understood that it was already broken, as was his own, and he offered comfort. As a result, Sweet Baby James sold millions of copies, spawned a Top Ten hit in "Fire and Rain" and a Top 40 hit in "Country Road," and launched not only Taylor's career as a pop superstar but also the entire singer/songwriter movement of the early '70s that included Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, and others. A second legacy became clear two decades later, when country stars like Garth Brooks began to cite Taylor, with his use of steel guitar, references to Jesus, and rural and Western imagery on Sweet Baby James, as a major influence. ~ William Ruhlmann
HI-RES$16.49
CD$14.49

Pop - Released January 24, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
HI-RES$74.49
CD$64.49

Pop/Rock - Released July 19, 2019 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res
After leaving Apple Records in 1969, James Taylor signed a deal with Warner Bros. During those six years of partnership, his meteoritic rise made him one of the most adulated folk singers in the United States, for hits such as Fire and Rain and You’ve Got a Friend, that encapsulated his lyrical prowess, entrancing voice and overall capacity to rethink folk idioms in a more commercial-friendly format. Starting with Sweet Baby James in 1970, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971) One Man Dog (1972), Walking Man (1974), Gorilla (1975), and last but not least In the Pocket, from 1976, the major steppingstones in Taylor’s career are here. These 6 albums, entirely remastered by Peter Asher, are featured on The Warner Bros. Albums: 1970-1976. The collection is a wonderful way to rediscover his halcyon days and his most important body of work, which would influence countless musicians during the 70s and after thanks to his sensitive, introspective charm. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz  
CD$12.99

Rock - Released August 23, 1977 | Rhino - Warner Records

James Taylor had scored eight Top 40 hits by the fall of 1976 when Warner Brothers marked the end of his contract with this compilation. One of those hits, the Top Ten gold single "Mockingbird," a duet with his wife Carly Simon, was on Elektra Records, part of the Warner family of labels and presumably available, but it was left off. "Long Ago and Far Away," a lesser hit (though it made the Top Ten on the easy listening charts), wasn't used either. In addition to the six hits -- "Fire and Rain," "Country Road," "You've Got a Friend," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," and "Shower the People" -- that were included, the album featured a couple of less successful singles, "Mexico" and "Walking Man," the album track "Sweet Baby James," and three previously unreleased recordings -- a live version of "Steamroller" and newly recorded versions of "Something in the Way She Moves" and "Carolina in My Mind," songs featured on Taylor's 1968 debut album, recorded for Apple/Capitol. The result was a reasonable collection for an artist who wasn't particularly well-defined by his singles. One got little sense of Taylor's evolution from the dour, confessional songs of his first two albums to the more conventional pop songs of his sixth and seventh ones. But one did hear isolated examples of Taylor's undeniable warmth and facility for folk/country-tinged pop. By the next summer, Taylor was back in the Top Ten on Columbia, and Greatest Hits was out of date. But it remains a good sampler of Taylor's more popular early work. ~ William Ruhlmann
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Rock - Released August 25, 2014 | Hear Music

Hi-Res Booklet
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Pop - Released December 3, 2013 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res
James Taylor's commercial breakthrough in 1970 was predicated on the relationship between the private concerns expressed in his songs and the larger philosophical mood of his audience. He was going through depression, heartbreak, and addiction; they were recovering from the political and cultural storms of the '60s. On his follow-up to the landmark Sweet Baby James, Taylor brought his listeners up to date, wisely trying to step beyond the cultural, if not the personal, markers he had established. Despite affirming romance in songs like "Love Has Brought Me Around" and the moving "You Can Close Your Eyes" as well as companionship in "You've Got a Friend," the record still came as a defense against the world, not an embrace of it; Taylor was unable to forget the past or trust the present. The songs were full of references to the road and the highway, and he was uncomfortable with his new role as spokesman. The confessional songwriter was now, necessarily, writing about what it was like to be a confessional songwriter: Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon served the valuable function of beginning to move James Taylor away from the genre he had defined, which ultimately would give him a more long-lasting appeal. ~ William Ruhlmann
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Pop - Released June 21, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res
The heart of James Taylor's appeal is that you can take him two ways. On the one hand, his music, including that warm voice, is soothing; its minor key melodies and restrained playing draw in the listener. On the other hand, his world view, especially on such songs as "Fire and Rain," reflects the pessimism and desperation of the 1960s hangover that was the early '70s. That may not be intentional: "Fire and Rain" was about the suicide of a fellow inmate of Taylor's at a mental institution, not the national malaise. But Taylor's sense of wounded hopelessness -- "I'm all in pieces, you can have your own choice," he sings in "Country Road" -- struck a chord with music fans, especially because of its attractive mixture of folk, country, gospel, and blues elements, all of them carefully understated and distanced. Taylor didn't break your heart; he understood that it was already broken, as was his own, and he offered comfort. As a result, Sweet Baby James sold millions of copies, spawned a Top Ten hit in "Fire and Rain" and a Top 40 hit in "Country Road," and launched not only Taylor's career as a pop superstar but also the entire singer/songwriter movement of the early '70s that included Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, and others. A second legacy became clear two decades later, when country stars like Garth Brooks began to cite Taylor, with his use of steel guitar, references to Jesus, and rural and Western imagery on Sweet Baby James, as a major influence. ~ William Ruhlmann
CD$12.99

Pop - Released May 22, 1997 | Columbia

James Taylor stopped pushing himself into new musical and lyrical territories in the late '70s, so it doesn't come as a great surprise that Hourglass, his first studio album in six years, doesn't offer anything new -- it's a collection of pleasant, melodic, simple songs about love, family, and social activism. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since Taylor has a gift for such material, and on Hourglass, he sounds as good as ever. The music, in many ways, has greater depth than previous records, since it features cameos from such heavy hitters as Stevie Wonder, Yo-Yo Ma, Shawn Colvin, Michael Brecker, Mark O'Connor, and Branford Marsalis. There are a few songs that fall a little flat, failing to make much of an impression one way or the other, but on the whole, Hourglass is a nice addition to his catalog. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$19.49

Folk/Americana - Released June 30, 1993 | Columbia

"A live James Taylor album has been suggested, demanded and contemplated for many years," writes Taylor's manager/producer, Peter Asher, in this album's liner notes, and the reasons are not hard to find. For one thing, Taylor has been a successful concert attraction for more than 20 years. For another, an artist who has scored in excess of 30 chart records (on four different labels) over those years is represented by only one, 20-year-old hits compilation. The 30-track, two-hour Live, drawn from a tour staged specifically to record it, is an attempt to address those points. Fronting a typically top-notch band, Taylor ranges across his repertoire, back to 1968 for "Something in the Way She Moves" and "Carolina in My Mind," and up to 1991 for "Copperline," among other songs drawn from New Moon Shine. In between come most of his hits. (The most notable exception is "Her Town, Too," and there is a general paucity of later recordings like "That's Why I'm Here" and "Never Die Young.") Taylor treats the material in his relaxed, assured style, making occasional ironic or self-deprecatory remarks between songs and charming his audience even more. The effect of presenting the songs in a uniform manner is to imply an equality between them, as though the deeper material was less significant and the slighter songs more substantial. But that doesn't keep the set from being a consistently enjoyable listening experience. Taylor remains sorely in need of a retrospective that would bring his work into concise coherence, but this one at least presents most of his best-known material in effective performances. ~ William Ruhlmann
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Pop - Released June 16, 2015 | Concord Records, Inc.

Hi-Res Booklet
James Taylor never sets his guitar down -- he spends a good portion of every year satisfying faithful audiences -- but he did rest his pen, opting to sit out the 13 years following the release of 2002's October Road. He kept busy with covers albums and Christmas records, but Before This World finds Taylor returning to writing, a habit he abandoned about a decade prior. Often, Before This World contains echoes of the first decade of the new millennium -- there is a passing reference to 9/11 in a song about Afghanistan and a love letter to the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series win -- but Taylor wrote these all in a batch, then recorded them at home with his touring band. Such quick progress gives the record a cozy, unified feeling but, unlike some latter-day JT records, it's not too comfortable. Taylor is randy enough to sing about some "first-class poontang" on the nicely grooving "Stretch of the Highway," a song more notable for a mellow vamp worthy of Steely Dan, the first suggestion there's a bit more variety here than on a typical Taylor platter. He'll ease into his trademark laid-back pop, opening the proceedings with "Today Today Today" and brightening up the midsection with the happy "Watchin' Over Me," but as the record comes toward its conclusion, he takes detours into traditional English folk on "Before This World/Jolly Springtime" and "Wild Mountain Thyme," while etching out a cinematic protest song in "Far Afghanistan." When a record runs only ten tracks and 41 minutes, these departures amount to nearly half the record and turn Before This World into something unexpected: a record as relaxed as the average James Taylor album but one that's also riskier and richer, the right album for him to make at this date. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$12.99

Rock - Released May 2, 1976 | Warner Records

James Taylor's seventh album and last new recording for Warner Bros. is notable for producing his biggest self-written hit in four years, "Shower the People" (number 22 pop, number one easy listening). Bobby Womack's "Woman's Gotta Have It" was the album's only cover, and elsewhere Taylor took on a surprisingly rough set of issues in his typically gentle style, including "A Junkie's Lament" and "Money Machine." There were also reflections on being a "Family Man" even if, due to his peripatetic touring life, "Daddy's All Gone." Guest stars included Art Garfunkel, who harmonized on "Captain Jim's Drunken Dream," and Stevie Wonder, who co-wrote and played harmonica on "Don't Be Sad 'Cause Your Sun Is Down." On the whole, a respectable effort for an artist who was evolving into more of a craftsman than a virtuoso. ~ William Ruhlmann
CD$12.99

Folk/Americana - Released May 5, 2008 | Columbia

CD$12.99

Pop - Released October 6, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

Gorilla served notice to anyone expecting James Taylor to continue on in the personal, confessional vein of his first few albums that he did not intend to do so. Recording in Burbank with Warners staff producers Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman, Taylor used a stellar backup band augmented by such guests as Graham Nash and David Crosby (who harmonized on the chart single "Mexico"), his wife Carly Simon, mandolinist David Grisman, saxophone player David Sanborn, Randy Newman on "hornorgan," and Little Feat slide guitarist Lowell George. This team worked on a set of light, pleasant songs that bordered on the generic -- one was called "Music," another "Love Songs" -- but were performed and sung with taste and care. Taylor was relentlessly upbeat; even "Angry Blues," which confessed, "I can't help it if I don't feel so good," didn't sound like things were that bad. But then, these songs didn't seem to be about Taylor, or if they were, as in the extended metaphor of the title track, the connection was so oblique that it was hard to say what the point was. Still, one could glide on Taylor's easy vocals and the band's competence, and Gorilla was an enjoyable listening experience. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," the first of a series of bleached R&B covers, became a Top Ten hit, and the album restored Taylor's commercial fortunes, setting him on the steady path he would follow for decades after. But who would have thought only a few years before that the king of the confessional song poets would turn into such a lightweight? ~ William Ruhlmann
CD$12.99
JT

Folk/Americana - Released January 1, 1983 | Columbia

CD$12.99

Rock - Released January 1, 1970 | Rhino

CD$14.99

Folk/Americana - Released October 31, 2000 | Columbia

CD$14.99

Pop - Released June 16, 2015 | Concord Records

James Taylor never sets his guitar down -- he spends a good portion of every year satisfying faithful audiences -- but he did rest his pen, opting to sit out the 13 years following the release of 2002's October Road. He kept busy with covers albums and Christmas records, but Before This World finds Taylor returning to writing, a habit he abandoned about a decade prior. Often, Before This World contains echoes of the first decade of the new millennium -- there is a passing reference to 9/11 in a song about Afghanistan and a love letter to the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series win -- but Taylor wrote these all in a batch, then recorded them at home with his touring band. Such quick progress gives the record a cozy, unified feeling but, unlike some latter-day JT records, it's not too comfortable. Taylor is randy enough to sing about some "first-class poontang" on the nicely grooving "Stretch of the Highway," a song more notable for a mellow vamp worthy of Steely Dan, the first suggestion there's a bit more variety here than on a typical Taylor platter. He'll ease into his trademark laid-back pop, opening the proceedings with "Today Today Today" and brightening up the midsection with the happy "Watchin' Over Me," but as the record comes toward its conclusion, he takes detours into traditional English folk on "Before This World/Jolly Springtime" and "Wild Mountain Thyme," while etching out a cinematic protest song in "Far Afghanistan." When a record runs only ten tracks and 41 minutes, these departures amount to nearly half the record and turn Before This World into something unexpected: a record as relaxed as the average James Taylor album but one that's also riskier and richer, the right album for him to make at this date. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$12.99

Folk/Americana - Released March 24, 1993 | Columbia

James Taylor took four and a half years off from record-making in the early '80s, returning with That's Why I'm Here, which suggested he had found his long-term niche with baby boomer fans now permanently tuned to soft rock radio -- this was Taylor's first record to spawn three Top Ten adult contemporary hits, with the title track, "Only One," and a cover of Buddy Holly's "Everyday." Taylor's sound had invaded country music by this time, too, and both "Everyday" and "Only One" made the country singles chart. But those boomers just don't go to the record store as often as their children, and Taylor managed only one pop chart entry with "Everyday" (number 61), while the album failed to go gold and was his lowest charting effort since his breakthrough with Sweet Baby James in 1970. If, in the title song, he had reconciled himself to the notion that the reason he was here was to sing "Fire and Rain" at summer concerts, that also meant he was settling for a complacent position. (Notwithstanding its initial commercial reception, That's Why I'm Here eventually went platinum.) ~ William Ruhlmann
CD$12.99

Folk/Americana - Released August 31, 1991 | Columbia

James Taylor produced a typical collection of familiar-sounding songs on New Moon Shine, his concerns ranging from romance to the life of the working man to political issues like war and civil rights on which he took the expected liberal positions. The album was written, played, and sung with typical craft and care, and was a worthy addition to Taylor's catalog. Taylor's reliability means that his records do not disappoint his faithful audience, but neither do they provide any revelations. New Moon Shine provided four Adult Contemporary chart entries in "Copperline," "(I've Got To) Stop Thinkin' 'Bout That," a cover of Sam Cooke's "Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha," and "Like Everyone She Knows," and the album went gold, staying in the charts more than nine months, a good showing for a record that essentially repeated previous efforts. (New Moon Shine was eventually certified platinum.) ~ William Ruhlmann
CD$12.99

Folk/Americana - Released March 4, 1994 | Columbia

James Taylor bounced back from the spotty Flag with this all-original album led by his collaboration with J.D. Souther on "Her Town Too," his biggest pop hit since "Handy Man," and his biggest non-cover hit since his first, "Fire and Rain," in 1970. Also included were "Hard Times" and "Summer's Here," not to mention the unusually impassioned "Stand and Fight." After simmering this long, there wasn't much hope Taylor would ever come to a boil, but that track indicated he could at least heat up now and then. ~ William Ruhlmann