Music review: Covers – James Taylor

By , January 30, 2009

jtcoversCovers
by James Taylor, 2008

James Taylor’s most recent release, Covers, is a collection of songs originally performed by other artists. Among those artists are people like Glen Campbell, Eddie Cochran, John Anderson, and Elvis Presley. That he took this diverse approach is not all that surprising, considering that some of his biggest hits have been cover songs, like “How Sweet It Is” and “Handy Man.”

A feature that has helped him achieve success with such material was his unique treatment of it; he has had his own take of each song, sort of “James Taylorizing” it, making it song almost like he wrote it himself. (He has always had a particular fondness for 60’s Motown music). One would logically expect him to repeat that approach here, and he does. The problem is sometimes it works better on certain songs than on others:good on “It’s Growing,” and “Hound Dog,” ( he has the sense not to try to imitate Elvis), but no so great on “Wichita Lineman” and “Seminole Wind,” in which neither song is given that much different a treatment than the original version.

Purist JT fans will notice right away the absence of Peter Asher at the production helm. There seems to be a hard to define something missing in that sense, but if you’re an avid JT fan, he could “sing the phone book,” as one review stated, and you wouldn’t mind.

-Ric

Popmatic Podcast February 2009

By , January 30, 2009

Bryan and Crystal feature music by Roscoe Mitchell and Santogold. Julie and Amanda tell us about books by Nathan McCall and L.A. Banks. Last but not least, Bill and Clint turn us on to two socially conscious but very different films, Diary of the Dead and Killer of Sheep.

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