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The Best of James Taylor Best of

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Best of
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • ASIN: B00007IT8S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,942 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Something In The Way She Moves
2. Sweet Baby James
3. Fire And Rain
4. Country Road
5. You've Got A Friend
6. You Can Close Your Eyes
7. Long Ago And Far Away
8. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
9. Walking Man
10. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
11. Mexico
12. Shower The People
13. Golden Moments
14. Steamroller (Live)
15. Carolina In My Mind
16. Handyman
17. Your Smiling Face
18. Up On The Roof
19. Only A Dream In Rio
20. Bittersweet

Product Description

Product Description

JT's work for Apple, Warner Bros. and Columbia/Sony in one place! Includes Fire and Rain; You've Got a Friend; How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You); Handy Man; Shower the People; Your Smiling Face; Carolina in My Mind; Sweet Baby James; Long Ago and Far Away; Country Road; Something in the Way She Moves; Mexico; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; Steamroller; Rainy Day Man; You Can Close Your Eyes; Walking Man; Golden Moments; Up on the Roof , and Only a Dream in Rio .


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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was lucky enough to first see James Taylor live in a small outdoor venue called Avaloch in rural Lenox, Massachusetts in the summer of 1970, after this first album recorded by the Beatles in London had been released and just before the release of the fabulously successful "Sweet Baby James" album by Warner Brothers. He appeared alone on-stage with a full head of long, long hair in a simple denim shirt and cut-up jeans with his four or five acoustic guitars, and for two and a half hours proceeded to absolutely enchant the sprawling lawn-full of hundreds of audience members with a spellbinding performance of all of the work from both of those albums. Although virtually unknown at the time, word of mouth had spread so quickly in the Berkshires area (who still considers him one of their own) that many of us went out to get this album to play before he appeared. The rest, as they say, is history.
This is a fantastic collection of his greatest hits garnered from both of his greatest hits collections, and so represents some twenty gems on an incredible collection of wonderful selections, and is therefore a terrific summary of that work. Many of my favorites are here, including "Something In The Way She Moves", "Carolina In My Mind", and "You Can Close Your Eyes". Of course, so is "Fire And Rain", "You've Got A Friend", "Steamroller Blues", and "Country Road", all now Taylor standards. My all time favorite song from this album is "Sweet Baby James", which is sung about the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts where I grew up, so I have always considered this a special song, with its evocation of a snow-driven drive along the turnpike just as winter's first snow hits the Berkshires.
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Format: Audio CD
I am a true James Taylor fan and own all or parts of all the work he has done since 1970, but this album disappointed me. I did not care for the opening version of Something in the Way She Moves, despite its historical value. I much prefer the version on his Greatest Hits album. It just sounded too raw, too green and I certainly wouldn't have opened the album with it. The predictable hits, and certainly ones I like, are represented, but I also didn't care for the truly weird version of Country Roads. Overproduced--too many strings, a choir even--just was too much. I was pleased to see one of my favorites, You Can Close Your Eyes, on the album, but Long Ago and Far Away, Bittersweet, could have been left off. And so many great ones were not included: Copperline, Traffic Jam, Lonesome Road, Never Die Young, Millworker, were these not great? But the ultimate disappointment was what was the cheesy editing job on Steamroller Blues. I guess someone was offended or thought someone else would be offended by the great utterance of M---F--king at the great climax (pun unintentional but probably Freudian) of the song. I guess these same people would put a fig leaf on the statue of David. Gee, if it was so offensive, why was it not clumsily blotted out on the Greatest Hits album, released long ago? Were the producers offended, or did they just fear a "Parental Advisory" on the label? So what if it had it? Anyone who knows JT knows what is on the end of that song. Gee, why not take the Fish Cheer out out of the Woodstock Soundtrack too? Where does the censorship stop? All in all, a deceptive title if there was one. The collection seemed like it was put together by some resentful Gen Xer who didn't know his music at all. Buy it if your expectations are low.
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Format: Audio CD
There is very little on this album that couldn't have been released on a James Taylor "best-of" in 1978. Up On The Roof appears to be the most recent track, if you can call 1979 recent.
Unfortunately, this was about the time that Ol' JT switched record labels (Columbia to WEA) and so it was not possible to get a Greatest Hits package that actually contained all his greatest hits.
It still isn't. Not quite. Missing in action are his duets with his ex, Carly Simon (Mockingbird & Devoted To You), his duet with JD Souther (Her Town Too), What A Wonderful World (recorded with Art Garfunkel & Paul Simon) and the lovely remake of Buddy Holly's "Everyday". Or anything he's recorded during, say, Britney Spears' lifetime.
But what is here more than makes up for what's missing. Classic gentle songs, that warm you like brandy on a winter's night. And like brandy, age does not harm the contents.
At this year's Grammies, James was part of a singer-songwriter performance. Alongside "young whipper-snappers" like John Mayer and Vanessa Carleton, JT performed the 30-year old "Sweet Baby James", a track than never even sniffed at the charts.
One has to question whether Mayer or Carleton will be able to strike similar memory chords in 2038.
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By A Customer on July 30 2003
Format: Audio CD
The re-mastering on this CD was a good idea. Re-mixing from the multi-tracks would be even better(matching the original mixes of course). The bad idea was to EDIT the wounderful live version of "Steamroller Blues", and a bad edit at that. Wonder what James thinks about this? Stuff like this is really irritating! Who are these people & on what streets do they live!
Also, "Something In The Way She Moves" is the early version from JT's first Apple CD. The re-recorded version from the first "Greatest Hits" CD is the one I think should have been included here. The Apple CD already has this version. "Carolina In My Mind" is the newer version here, as was the first "Greatest Hits" CD. A sticker with this info on the CD cover would have been nice.
I purchased this CD at a local chain store & they would only let me trade for JT's first "Greatest Hits" CD (w/ the un-edited version of "Steamroller Blues"). This new CD was defective as far as I was conderned. (Lost a few bucks there, thank you very much!) Since I already had JT's first "Greatest Hits" CD, I gave this one to a friend.
Not counting the labels bad edit & lack of info on the outside of this CD, I do admit they did a great job with the re-mastering. Also, this new version does include a bonus track that is exclusive to this new "Best of JT" CD.
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