Top critical review
on March 25, 2004
Before I recently bought a copy of Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, I had owned James Taylor's original greatest hits collection for nearly ten years and liked it very much, but only recently did I think to acquire another album [probably because Greatest Hits satisfied me so well]. I was rather disappointed with Mud Slide Slim.
You know, the problem with the greatest hits collection is that it distills and sanitizes Taylor's oeuvre too well, leaving one with a less-than-accurate portrait of what to expect from one of the regular albums like Mud Slide Slim. The songs are self-centered and occasionally cynical: an example is the first track--"Love Has Brought Me Around." You would expect in this an acknowledgement of, perhaps, how being loved taught him to return love; instead the message is 'don't tell me your troubles; I don't want to hear them,' and 'I don't need you anymore, so I'll be on my way.' The brooder "Long Ago and Far Away" is vaguely interesting, but is so self-absorbed as to lack the melancholy grace of "Sweet Baby James" or "Carolina in My Mind." Another song, the ditty "Machine Gun Kelly," displays a misogynistic attitude that ill suits Taylor but which, oddly, I have noticed in at least one other song of his ("Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"). I did, however, somewhat like the anti-war poem "Soldiers," which reminded me of early Simon and Garfunkel.
I'm willing to try another James Taylor album, but Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon didn't impress me. Sorry.