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Folk/Americana - Released January 1, 1996 | Whistling Dog

For Bicycle, Livingston Taylor assembled a diverse backing group (which features his brother James) and dug into a set of songs that were rootiser and more eclectic than much of his previous work. Taylor tries his hand at the blues and country, jazz and folk on Bicylce. The results are mixed -- Taylor is at his best when he keeps his ambitions modest, since that reflects the size of his gift -- but they are enjoyable, particularly when the melodies are sweet. On the whole, it's an album that his fanbase will appreciate, but it doesn't break any new ground, even though it tries to. ~ Rodney Batdorf
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Folk/Americana - Released February 3, 2014 | Whistling Dog

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Folk/Americana - Released January 29, 2014 | Whistling Dog

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Folk/Americana - Released April 1, 2014 | Whistling Dog

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Folk/Americana - Released February 7, 2014 | Whistling Dog

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Folk/Americana - Released February 2, 2014 | Whistling Dog

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Liv

Rock - Released January 1, 1971 | Island Def Jam

"Get Out of Bed" leads off Liv, the 1971 album from Livingston Taylor, and it is a brilliant and exciting slice of pop music which should have been a huge international smash. It is one of those songs that you want to play 50 or 60 times in a row, perfectly written and recorded. Produced by Bruce Springsteen mentor Jon Landau and managed by Don Law, the son of the legendary country record producer Don Law, Sr., this Warner Bros. album had all the elements, and is more endearing than the two Top 40 hits this member of the famous Taylor family eventually garnered in 1978 and 1980. Liv's original songs are uplifting and give brother James Taylor a good run for his money. "May I Stay Around" has a vibrant vocal working itself over the elegant acoustic guitar, the bright green colors of the album cover and the laid-back young Livingston sitting in a chair looking aloof just calls back to a time when this sort of music was exploding -- Jim Croce, brother James, Harry Chapin, and Carole King, who he is closest to both vocally and sentimentally. The singer picks up the piano on "Open Up Your Eyes," "Get Out of Bed," "Be That Way," and "Gentleman," as well as the cover of "On Broadway," and with the understated production of Jon Landau, Livingston's beautiful heartfelt vocals make this an extraordinary work of art. Most of the tunes are around the three-minute mark, except for "Easy Prey," which gets over four-and-a-half; "Gentleman shows where the artist's contemporary (one year younger than this Taylor) Dan Fogelberg found part of his sound, though the performance is not as pronounced as "Easy Prey," the band kicking in early on that tune, Bill Stewart on drums, Paul Hornsby on electric piano, Tommy Talton on lead guitar, performing breathy, moving stuff. A low-key Quicksilver Messenger Service from the East Coast is what this album is, a musical journey full of delight and surprise. Dave Woodford's flute on "Open Up Your Eyes" is perfect and essential, and this serious music is the antithesis of Hugo Montenegro's Dawn of Dylan tribute album. Liv is the real thing by a troubadour who never really got the acclaim he deserved. Perhaps he was overshadowed by older brother James Taylor, or maybe Jonathan Edwards' "Sunshine" going Top Five nationally the year this album was released edged out other music from Boston instead of putting a focus on the region. Politcal reasons for this not making him a huge star aside, what remains is a very strong album which cries out to get played again and again. Exquisite. ~ Joe Viglione
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Pop - Released January 1, 1970 | Island Def Jam

It would be difficult not to compare Livingston Taylor's self-titled 1970 debut to his brother's second solo release, Sweet Baby James, as the latter certainly brought attention to the former, but the Jon Landau-produced disc crafted in Macon, GA, is a world unto itself. Ten originals by Taylor along with one cover, the Earl Greene and Carl Montgomery country standard "Six Days on the Road," make for a pleasant listen. "Sit on Back" is a bright enough opening, with "Doctor Man" bringing in a bit of the darkness. "My time's at hand" is the same line James Taylor used in the hit "Fire and Rain" and both brothers spent their time in the psych ward: "People with smiles/They talk of a hand that they got from a man called the doctor man." You would love to hear Lou Reed take this on, and somehow the pretty guitar and arrangement are real paradoxes for what should be a dirge, the lyrics profoundly in need of a few spins to sink in. Because much of this album feels like the producer and the artists were getting their bearings, "Six Days on the Road" becomes one of the more accessible tracks. Versions by Hank Snow, Bloodwyn Pig, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Taj Mahal, and others proliferated, and this is not as ethereal as the artist's cover of "On Broadway" from the Liv album, but in its simplicity the point still gets across. The LP cover photo is pretty out there, with Taylor looking down from a metal structure of some sort, his hair all frazzled, while the back cover has a darkened room which looks like a recording studio. "Packet of Good Times" is very up-tempo, while "Hush a Bye" brings things right back down and, like most of the project, is understated. It's on Liv, the second album, that things really come together. Sure, these songs are well constructed, but they still seem somewhat raw and no doubt influenced the way things would be tackled the second time around. Sister Kate and James are referenced in "Carolina Day," a song with more parallels. "Can't Get Back Home" follows suit -- impressive ditties with "In My Reply" up and "Lost in the Love of You" down again. The obvious yin yang would change on the next album, which should have been a huge breakthrough for this sensitive and special artist. The seeds of future work are here, and Livingston Taylor is a nice start to the singer's interesting career. ~ Joe Viglione
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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Island Def Jam

Taylor's third recording for Capricorn was remastered and reissued in 1999. Though he began his career before brother James, and curtailed it early due to a psychiatric disorder, Livingston was obviously never as successful as his brother. It's hard to figure; his clear tenor is almost indistinguishable from his brother's, and even song structures which shift from the sprite ("Pretty Woman") to sweet melancholy ("I Can Dream of You,") could be from his brother's pen. Yet, like his other brother, Alex, his strongest suit may have been in his vocal interpretations of others' songs. Before Willie Nelson made "Somewhere over the Rainbow" his own, Taylor turned in an inspired vocal version (though the cheesy organ accompaniment isn't all it could be). And he does a completely unique take on George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone," essential for anyone into Beatles covers. ~ Denise Sullivan