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The Best of James Taylor Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 246 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 8, 2003
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Product Description

First signed to The Beatles Apple label, gifted American troubadour James Taylor released his eponymous debut album in 1969. Back in the states in 1970, he delivered Sweet Baby James as his Warner Bros. label debut. Throughout the '70s he continued to build his reputation as one of pop's most beloved and influential recording artists, following up with multimillion-sellers like Mud Slide Slim and The Blue Horizon, One Man Dog, Walking Man, Gorilla, In The Pocket, and his first Greatest Hits album chronicling his Warner Bros. output, which has since sold more than 12 million copies. After switching to Columbia Records in 1977, Taylor's hit streak continues to this day. He has 4 Grammys under his belt, as well as inductions into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1998 he was honored with the Billboard Century Award. Now, as his career is once again on the upswing thanks to his latest platinum two-time Grammy-nominated October Road CD, the timing is perfect to renew the love affair America has had with his early work - with THE BEST OF JAMES TAYLOR.

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Any good singer can interpret a song, but it takes a stylist to make it his own. James Taylor is a stylist. This 20-track anthology obviously can't chronicle much more than the hits and high points of Taylor's career, but it nonetheless captures the artistic essence of a performer who's become a virtual synonym for "singer-songwriter" since his emergence in the late '60s. A lot of ink has been spilled ruminating about Taylor's role in soothing a '60s-burned generation, but given his own well-known demons (depression, addiction) his gentle voice often sounds like the physician wisely healing himself. His muse seems fully formed from the opening "Something in the Way She Moves," a track cut for the Beatles' Apple label in late ‘68 (and one that seems to share some symbiotic relationship with George Harrison's own classic "Something" from the period), its tone at once familiar and inviting--if ripe for a few decades of parody--as it wends its way from his seminal early '70s hits through a slate of later originals, R&B ("How Sweet It Is," "Handy Man") and pop ("Up On the Roof") covers. Tellingly, he delivers those chestnuts with an offhand confidence and illumination that makes them his own, a sense that informs even his jazz and Brazilian ("Only a Dream a Rio") flirtations. The set's newly recorded bonus cut, John Sheldon's "Bittersweet," is a pleasant pop confection that showcases Taylor's knack for being laconic and upbeat in the same breath. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Something In The Way She Moves - James Taylor
  2. Sweet Baby James (Remastered Version) - James Taylor
  3. Fire And Rain (Remastered Version) - James Taylor
  4. Country Road (Remastered Single Version)
  5. You've Got A Friend (Remastered Version)
  6. You Can Close Your Eyes (Remastered Version)
  7. Long Ago And Far Away
  8. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (Remastered Version)
  9. Walking Man (Remastered Version)
  10. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (Remastered Version)
  11. Mexico (Remastered Version)
  12. Shower The People (Remastered Version)
  13. Golden Moments (Remastered Version)
  14. Steamroller (Remastered Live Version)
  15. Carolina In My Mind (Remastered Version) - James Taylor
  16. Handyman - James Taylor
  17. Your Smiling Face - James Taylor
  18. Up On The Roof - James Taylor
  19. Only A Dream In Rio - James Taylor
  20. Bittersweet - James Taylor


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • Run Time: 61 minutes
  • ASIN: B00007IT8S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,146 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. C Lane on April 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Couple of notes: the version of "Something In The Way She Moves" is the Apple Records version from 1969, but "Carolina In My Mind" is the 1976 re-recording. Also "Steamroller Blues" is the live 1975 cut. Among the odd surprises on this Collection are "You Can Close Your Eyes" a great album track from Mud Slide Slim, and "Golden Moments" a forgotten track from 1976's In The Pocket. This CD swallows the whole of the first Gr. Hits album, save for "Something" which is remade on the first (but not this) Hits CD. Because this is a WB Records release, 15 of the 20 songs are from JT's WB days. The Columbia years are sorely lacking. Where's "Her Town Too" or "Copperline" or "Secret O'Life" to name three. So, if you're a beginner to JT's catalog and you like what you hear on this CD then seek out his Greatest Hits Vol. 2 on Columbia Records. The one new song, "Bittersweet" is a good uptempo song that wasn't written by Taylor. There are no liner notes, except for a quick paragraph from JT. If you're a JT newbie this is for you. The rest can do with the other 2 Greatest Hits albums.
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Format: Audio CD
This is by far the best compilation of JT's work that's out there. Not only are the 20 tracks here truly representative of the best that JT's ever done, the sound quality is brilliant as the tracks have also been very well remastered. For those of you who are sticklers for detail and order, the tracks are arranged in chronological order as well and yet the album does not sound as disjointed as you might expect. The liner notes albeit short have been written by JT himself too. JT is that special individual who has managed to carve out his own unique sound and his works are able to evoke great emotion out of his listeners with the ability to transport them to other worlds. Great remastered sound, great value for money and great songwriting make this a must have in any music-lover's collection. Very highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Let's face it, "best of" compilations don't necessarily mean hit singles. This "best of" misses a few of Taylor's great hits to leave room for new or less familiar songs (the disappointing "Bittersweet" comes to mind). Missing gems include "Everyday" and "Her Town Too" - how could they leave these off?

The CD begins with Taylor's original 1968 recording of "Something in the way she moves". This is a rare version, as most people will be more familiar with his 1976 re-recording of it. One listen of the original will show you why he re-recorded it (the original is just plain awful). Why did they put it on here?

Most of the main hits are included from "Fire and Rain" to "Up on the Roof". Also included is the original 1976 'single version' of "Country Road" which I had not heard before. After a few listens I have to say this is a much better version that the album version so many of us know. In my opinion, this is reason enough to buy the compilation. It's that good.

The other good thing about this compilation is the digital remastering which makes all the songs sound even better. Even if you own his previous compilations "Greatest Hits 1 & 2", "Classic Songs" or "Taylor Made", this CD is worth getting for its superior sound and once again, the 'single version' of "Country Road".

Go for it.
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Format: Audio CD
Ok, so if you're like me, you've been waiting for a newly packaged remastered edition of JT's earlier work. All in all, this cd sounds great.. much better than the classic "James Taylor's Greatest Hits" (white cover) that's been on the shelves for such a long time. My only glitch though is that "Something In The Way She Moves" is the original version from his '68 debut, and not the recut (and better) version on the old greatest hits. The version for "Country Road" is also different, and not nearly as good. However, they did manage to include the old greatest hits version for "Carolina In My Mind" (thank God). Songs like "Up On The Roof" and "Only A Dream In Rio" are good, but not needed since they're already covered on the James Taylor Greatest Hits 2 (Columbia) release. It would have been nice to have other older tunes. The cd is great though.
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Format: Audio CD
Nobody would dispute that James Taylor is one of the most pre-eminent singer-songwriters of our day. You only need to see him perform live to realize the depth of this man's talent. Forget all the pre-fab, manufactured pop "icons" mass marketed by record companies today - James Taylor is nothing of the sort. When James gained his fame back in the late 60's and 70's, it was based on nothing less than exceptional musical talent.
James Taylor writes moving songs, and he can pick a guitar with the best of them. His tenor voice is unmistakable, one of the smoothest crooners in popular music. It takes an extraordinary musician to remain in the limelight over the course of four decades, as James has done - he deserves all the accolades and recognition he's received over the years.
This greatest hits album is a wonderful collection of some of James Taylor's best tunes. It's marvelous to be able to hear songs like "Sweet Baby James," "You've Got a Friend," or "Carolina In My Mind" played under the technological gift of digitally remastered recording - these tunes have NEVER sounded better!
I don't blame you for holding onto your old James Taylor recordings - whether they're 8-track, vinyl, or cassette. You've probably got lots of memories tied up in those recordings! But I urge you to take advantage of the digital sound offered in this new release. This quality digital recording finally does justice to twenty timeless tunes from one of the best singer-songwriters ever.
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