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Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 24, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Records

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

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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  
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Pop - Released February 1, 1970 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released January 23, 2020 | Fantasy

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For pop artists of a certain generation, taking on the Great American Songbook has become somewhat of a rite of passage, occasionally bordering on cliché. Some, like Linda Ronstadt and Carly Simon, got to it early in their careers, while legacy boomers like Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney offered up their reinterpretations of jazz standards as late-career curiosities, or in the case of Rod Stewart -- five volumes and counting -- reinvented themselves with them. James Taylor is no stranger to cover songs; everything from early rock to Motown and cowboy songs have popped up in his catalog, not to mention a pair Christmas albums and an entire 2008 set called Covers. As one of the most revered American singer/songwriters of the mid- to late 20th century, it seems almost inevitable that he would eventually take his turn to honor the generation of pop tunesmiths that preceded him. On American Standard, Taylor applies his gentle magic to classics like "My Blue Heaven" and "The Nearness of You," refashioning their well-worn melodies into the friendly and inviting mode that is his signature. Wisely eschewing the orchestral big-band approach, he stays on familiar ground, recording on a smaller scale at his barn studio in Western Massachusetts and working with his regular stable of players. He also downplays the role of the piano, opting instead to base the material around the nimble intertwining of his own acoustic guitar and that of jazz guitar wiz John Pizzarelli. The result is a relaxed musical conversation that perfectly underscores Taylor's tender vocals, especially on his sweet rendition of "Moon River," a song so well-suited to him it seems like it should have already existed before now. This sense of pleasant familiarity more or less guides the entire album as he turns "Teach Me Tonight" and "It's Only a Paper Moon" into James Taylor songs written by other artists. Horns and lush backing vocals do appear here and there, as does a slightly misguided dip into a borderline cartoonish vocal baritone on the otherwise strong "Ol' Man River," but the best parts of American Standard occur in the intimate moments that constitute Taylor's wheelhouse and of which there are more than enough to satisfy. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 1, 1976 | Rhino - Warner Records

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

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Pop - Released May 20, 1997 | Columbia

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Pop - Released April 1, 1971 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Folk/Americana - Released June 30, 1993 | Columbia

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Folk/Americana - Released May 5, 2008 | Columbia

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

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Rock - Released November 13, 2007 | Hear Music

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Don't take the title of James Taylor's One Man Band literally -- this 2007 concert recording may be stripped-down but it's not just James and a guitar, he's supported by keyboardist Larry Goldings, whom Taylor dubs his "one-man band" in the liner notes, as that's all the backing band he has here. Fair enough. But this isn't just a question of clever semantics: as it turns out, Goldings has quite a presence on this intimate album, recorded at a three-night stint at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA, during July 2007. During this 19-song set, Taylor gives Goldings plenty of space to grace the songs with solos that show up his jazz chops. This freedom, coupled with Taylor's deceptively easy delivery -- he has a casual authority that comes from touring the same songs steadily for years -- gives this album a unique character among Taylor's catalog. This also makes for an album that relies heavily on standards. All the songs you'd expect are here, all the songs James always plays on tour, but there are also a couple of surprises, like "Chili Dog" from 1972's One Man Dog, which are quite engaging. Perhaps these tunes are a shade too familiar to sound fresh, but given such lovely readings they certainly sound as comforting as a reunion with an old friend for those listeners who haven't been keeping up with Taylor but might pick this up via its release on Starbucks' HearMusic label. So, this can rope in casual fans who will be quite pleased, but this is different enough from 1993's double-disc Live -- as polished and professional as live albums come -- to make this quite interesting for diehards, too. [One Man Band also contains a two-hour concert DVD.] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 20, 2020 | Fantasy

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

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Pop - Released June 22, 2015 | Concord Records

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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 /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 1, 1975 | Rhino - Warner Records

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JT

Folk/Americana - Released June 1, 1977 | Columbia

On his last couple of Warner Bros albums, Gorilla and In the Pocket, James Taylor seemed to be converting himself from the shrinking violet, too-sensitive-to-live "rainy day man" of his early records into a mainstream, easy listening crooner with a sunny outlook. JT, his debut album for Columbia, was something of a defense of this conversion. Returning to the autobiographical, Taylor declared his love for Carly Simon ("There We Are"), but expressed some surprise at his domestic bliss. "Isn't it amazing a man like me can feel this way?" he sang in the opening song, "Your Smiling Face" (a Top 40 hit). At the same time, domesticity could have its temporary depressions ("Another Grey Morning"). The key track was "Secret O' Life," which Taylor revealed as "enjoying the passage of time." Working with his long-time backup band of Danny Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, and Russell Kunkel, and with Peter Asher back in the producer's chair, Taylor also enjoyed mixing his patented acoustic guitar-based folk sound with elements of rock, blues, and country. He even made the country charts briefly with "Bartender's Blues," a genre exercise complete with steel guitar and references to "honky tonk angels" that he would later re-record with George Jones. The album's Top Ten hit was Taylor's winning remake of Jimmy Jones' "Handy Man," which replaced the grit of the original with his characteristic warmth. JT was James Taylor's best album since Mud Slide Slim & the Blue Horizon because it acknowledged the darkness of his earlier work while explaining the deliberate lightness of his current viewpoint, and because it was his most consistent collection in years. Fans responded: JT sold better than any Taylor album since Sweet Baby James. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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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 /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 2012 | UME Direct

For the most part, holiday-themed albums are about as memorable as what you had for lunch a month ago. As humans continue to evolve, there's a very good chance that we'll develop some sort of yuletide audio bypass valve that will allow us to filter the three-and-a-half million versions of every Christmas song ever made into one solid rendition that either pleases or displeases us, and can be dealt with accordingly. That said, James Taylor's brilliantly titled James Taylor at Christmas is about as inoffensive a collection of seasonal classics as one could hope for. The legendary singer/songwriter's warm voice is the perfect vessel for "Winter Wonderland," "Jingle Bells," and the "Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" because it makes absolutely no impression on the listener. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo