on May 29, 2008
I'd probably take issue with the other reviewer at Amazon.co.uk in that Nigel Price's superb guitar-work on this album is evident from track one onwards. One of Nigel's strengths, however, and admittedly, is to show proper musical restraint - very much serving the song rather than vanity. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in Nigel's appearance on Julie McKee's superb debut release (about to come out - see amazon.co.uk) entitled, What A Woman Shouldn't Do, a must for anyone interested not only in Nigel Price but in genre-redefining new projects generally.
Anyway, back to Don't Mess with Mr. T! There's no doubt about it, James Taylor is a master of his craft. Nobody could call this an album of covers since it so thoroughly reinterprets the tracks in question. Money (that's what I want) is a superb upbeat number with solos from James himself, from Nigel Price, and from Jamie Anderson on sax. This really is a tight performance - sound production is excellent too. Next up it's Got to Give it Up, a more laid-back number with a truly magical groove. just try not getting up to dance to this one! James' Hammond organ is the most prominant on this track - except for the rhythm section that is. The next track is Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours). Another brilliant performance with an amazing pace-increase towards the end. Next it's Function at the Junction - impossible not to dance to this. Here, Nigel Price really shines in an extended solo - style prefiguring that of his later appearance on Julie McKee's album. The next track is a complete change - slowing things down considerably. More of a smoocher this - aptly entitled After the Dance, and featuring Omar. Jimmy Mack ups the pace once again - this and the previous track are more 'vocals' orientated. Next, Nigel opens for us again on Machine Gun. Absolutely superb this - brilliant rhythm section. You could remake the entire series of Shaft with guest appearances from Huggie Bear to this. Come See About Me, featuring Donna Gardier, is a great punchy vocals-focussed number. Nigel Price again opens for us on Cleo's Mood - though it is the sax that really shines here and throughout the track. You Beat me to the Punch, featuring Hil St Soul slows things down again. A lovely sing-a-long track this. Vocals centred. You're All I Need to Get By, only slightly up's the pace. Superb Summer-drive laid-back number - again featuring Nigel Price's superb blues-jazz licks against the background of James' Hammond. Another smoocher, Don't Mess With Mr. T, the title-track, is a remarkably laid-back, mildly melancholic Marvin Gaye number. Great mid-track solo from James Taylor but - if anything it's Nigel Price who shines yet again - hence my mild disagreement with the other reviewer.
Overall, a superb effort - almost as good as Julie McKee...! In fact, the two albums Don't Mess with Mr. T and What a Woman Shouldn't Do well accompany one-another - the one excelling within a genre (JTQ), the other redefining a genre (McKee). Just imagine a gig with these two bands head-lining together - and with the added benefit of getting Nigel Price twice!!