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on September 26, 2002
James Taylor's career had various commercial peaks: one was early, with the success of Sweet Baby James; another came the year after In The Pocket with the release of JT on Columbia. In my opinion, however, his creative and musical peaks are not in alignment with his commercial ones. In The Pocket is a case in point.
This album is a treasure trove. "Shower the People," In The Pocket's representative on Taylor's Greatest Hits (appearing on In The Pocket in its unedited form), is, as other reviewers have noted, a lot less cornball than one might imagine from a tune with such sappy lyrics. If your only knowledge of JT comes from his greatest hits, though, the rest of the album is a delightful surprise.
With "Junkie's Lament," James layers beautiful autobiographical lyrics with a very interesting II-V cycle exercise (and a final 60 seconds that gives me goosebumps every time), which results in one of the true unrecognized acheivements of his career. "Money Machine" is a witty funk tune with disco-style string arrangements--and, surprise surprise, it is actually tastefully done! "Slow Burning Love" manages to accomplish a relatively rare feat: The feel of the music conjures up precisely the mood of the lyrics ("It was a hot and a sultry day, somewhen in early September..."). It's languid and sticky enough to make you really understand where JT's coming from.
The only low point of this album is the next track, "Everybody Has The Blues". Perhaps I'm biased, because I love Lee Sklar's bass playing so much (and this tune replaces him with a tuba!), but it seems like a throwaway that gets in the way of the rest of the album. If anything, I suppose, it is a brief reprieve from the solidness exhibited to that point, and a nice breath of fresh air before the genius gets rolling again.
I won't parse the rest of the album track by track, but suffice it to say that on In The Pocket, JT manages to continue a trend that began with One Man Dog and exists today on October Road--mainly, the second half of this album is far better than the first. By the time you get around to the final three transcendental tracks, you'll be wishing this album would never end.
While In The Pocket never recaptures the raw emotion caputured on One Man Dog, Pocket shows a glimse of what will become JT's trademark--master craftsmanship. This is his best album, and represents a feat of musicianship that he doesn't really even come close to reproducing until 2002's October Road.
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on December 21, 1999
As is typical of James Taylor's albums, there is a consistency from beginning to end. To really appreciate JT's work, however, stray off the beaten path, and discover the less played songs from special albums like this one. Captain Jim's Drunken Dream and Junkie's Lament are excellent examples of James Taylor's introspective brilliance and poignance. If you really want to know JT - and why wouldn't you, this is a must-have.
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on July 23, 2011
i purchased this cd thinking it was remastered because of the 2008 release date, but it's not! it's exactly the same as the original warner brothers release, which was also not remastered. the sound on the cd is very good though for those of you who haven't purchased either release.
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on October 28, 1999
If I had to describe to someone what classic James Taylor music sounded like, all I would have to do is play this album. This was the perfect follow up to Gorrilla, another classic. The production is flawless and at times just beautiful. I originally bought a cassette of this album in the 70's, I wore it out. Thank goodness for c.d.'s. While some references in some of the lyrics seem dated, the messages are still relevant today. All in all as good as music gets.
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on September 30, 2002
In The Pocket contains "Shower The People" (of course), but there are many other treasures on here including my personal favorite "Daddy's All Gone".
As with most of JT's album, "In The Pocket"'s production is unpeckable, with very few lowlights, except for perhaps "Money Machine".
It is a nice album to complement with the previous "Gorilla", which is also very noteworthy.
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on January 21, 2006
This is my favorite James Taylor album.... whether it's his best.... I don't know..... what I can say is that I agree with a review here that says that Junkie's Lament gives me the chills...... this is one heck of a beautiful song...... listen to the harmonizations once Carly Simon comes in along with Garfunkel and JT..... the three part harmonizations are so beautiful...... when she comes in on the la la la la las before the song switches to it's final lament, it's stunning.... it's a wonderful sound.......... it's a great album and it's my favorite James Taylor album..... I think it's my favorite because it's his jazziest!!!!
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on September 22, 1999
Very likely, many of you have never heard of this album. Take my word for it, it's terrific. "Shower the People" is the one well-known classic song from this piece, but don't be fooled, there are many other gems within. Soft and melodic, touching and sweet, this late 70s effort from James Taylor is one you'll be pleased to add to your growing JT collection.
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on May 25, 2016
In the Pocket is a great name for this album of songs representing decisions of the past. It is an album of regrets. It includes songs of misunderstanding,missed opportunities, decisions made and regretted, and of life wasted folowing social pressures rather than your own preferences. All presented with the clear voice and style of James Taylor. A good album to listen to when you are in the mood to look back over the mistakes you've made and paths not chosen. It may be a bit of a downer, but does express human feelings when looking back over our life and wondering what if I had chosen differently. We all have regrets and this album does a good job of representing them in an entertaining way.
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on November 2, 1999
The art of the singer-songwriter at its apex. Start with the succinct and surprisingly unsentimental "Shower The People" and go from there, because this record is deep and wide in its cogent explorations. No wonder Bob Dylan recently expressed admiration for Taylor's body of work. It has a craft and an integrity virtually unmatched in his generation.
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on April 24, 2011
A very good CD. Taylor's voice is still melodic, and his talent for songwriting seems as natural and effortless as breathing. His voice is as smooth as glass. I suppose I also appreciate his music because he came from humble roots and a large family. His songs show his fondness for North Carolina and the love he has for his family.

I am still amazed that he actually wrote a song for his nephew called "Sweet Baby James." Imagine if a relative of yours wrote a song to celebrate your birth and then named the child after you. What an honor!

Jeannine Horn
Houston, Texas
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