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The Essential James Taylor
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To be fair, the set does nail almost all of the important highlights: "Something in the Way She Moves," "Sweet Baby James," the immortal "Fire and Rain," "You've Got a Friend," "Steamroller" and other well known tracks are present and accounted for. There are no complaints in that regard. Some extremely worthy albums such as "Millworker" and "Copperline" also made the cut.
Despite hitting these marks, the collection misses tremendously in other categories. First, some of the obscure choices just don't particularly strike me as particularly essential and could have been substituted with more worthy material; for example, why "Caroline, I See You" for "October Road" over the title cut, "September Grass," or "Raised Up Family," to name a few? Similarly, while Taylor's cover of "The Water is Wide" is a strong performance overall, it certainly is not more integral to his catalog than his own "Shed a Little Light" and "The Frozen Man," both superior cuts from "New Moon Shine." The same can be said for "Another Day" from "Hourglass,"; it's a nice song, but very brief and certainly not as powerful as "Line `Em Up" or "Enough to be On Your Way," the best songs from his best record.
The inclusions of live cuts are also a bit jarring. I can overlook the version of "Steamroller" because that's the one fans are most familiar and it really does improve upon the album cut, as does "My Traveling Star" from "One Man Band.Read more ›
This is a very fair, well chosen selection, I think, although I am mystified by the omission of that towering masterpiece Terra Nova. But then, everyone will have their own favourites and any selection like this is bound to leave out one or two of your favourites if you're a fan. If you're looking for an overview or an introduction to the career of a very fine singer songwriter, this will do you very well. It's very good value and I recommend it warmly.
There are a total of 30 tracks on the 2 CD's. The sound is fine with the exception of some of the live tracks, of which there are 5 that at some points the audience interaction can be a bit intrusive. Steamroller is one that you normally think of as hearing live, but this version with clapping during the song does nothing for listening when by yourself.
Still this is a very nice collection with favorites, old James Taylor standards and some different tracks than what would normally be on a greatest hits collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a two disc set and the first disc is scratched so you can't listen to the songs 10 through 14. Disappointing.Published 28 days ago by Mae Greenwald
What can I say! He is wonderful and I grew up on his music and had the expierence to see him in concert a few years back! Yippee!!Published 4 months ago by ~*Ebay Princess*~
This is the best. We sang along with him all the way down to Florida.Published 4 months ago by Mary Ann Pirone