I love the song Moon River no matter who sings it. The other standards here are done in the usual Taylor fashion, nice and easy. The song You've got to be carefully taught from the 1958 musical South Pacific by Oscar Hammerstein is timeless and was a good choice to promote tolerance something Mr. Taylor has been an advocate for since the beginning.
I also love the way James pronounces some of the words in these songs, cuddle for one and Mississippi for another.
Always smooth from a survivor.
The Great American Songbook. A new genre, apparently. The Rolling Stones included “The Nearness Of You” in concert as a spotlight for Keith Richards with a horn arrangement. Keith had struck up an odd friendship with Hoagy Carmichael when both lived in Bermuda in the 80s. Such is life and an involvement with innovators ensures legitimacy. Perhaps putting Keith Richards in the same sphere, re The Songbook, as Tony Bennett is stretching it, yet heartfelt it remains. Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan’s entrees had commercial success, if less critical esteem in updating The Songbook, even using it for album titles. Successfully interpreting others songs is challenging and a long tradition. For James Taylor, an esteemed singer/songwriter, to fully enter this fray is odd. He has covered songs before, rather nicely, to quote Clare Pritchard (Modern Family,) “he sings like an angel.” He lovingly does “When You Wish Upon A Star” for Hal Winner’s lovely collection of Disney songs, Betty Carter’s enchanting “Someday My Prince Will Come” segues into a slamming “Cruella Deville” ala The Replacements. However, this collection of such is rather lame, sticks to form and offers little expansion of what Jazz greats do with these songs.
James Taylor has returned to produce a new album of some golden oldies. He puts his own mark on each of the 14 selections that, even though done many times by many artists, can seem as if you’re hearing them for the first time. These classics and his smooth voice are a perfect fit.
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