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The Best of James Taylor
List Price: $18.98

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Product Description

35 years of hits, including Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James and You've Got a Friend.1. Something in the Way She Moves2. Sweet Baby James3. Fire and Rain4. Country Road5. You've Got a Friend6. You Can Close Your Eyes7. Long Ago and Far Away8. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight9. Walking Man10. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)11. Mexico12. Shower the People13. Golden Moments14. Steamroller (Live)15. Carolina in My Mind16. Handy Man17. Your Smiling Face18. Up on the Roof19. Only a Dream in Rio20. Bittersweet

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

Customer Reviews:

  • The Best
    James says it all; one of my favorites is "Steamroller" but it's all
    good listening....more info
  • What were you doing when you first heard his songs?
    They were my parents albums and my girlfriends and I would put them on when we got home from school. It was always sunny out--this was Southern California, the years of endless draught. We'd take off our flip flops and sing along word for word. My parents had these wooden sticks that you'd clack together to make "music." We used them for microphones, belting it out as loudly as we could.
    Sometimes we'd do homework, our books spread about the floor in front of the fireplace. We'd sing quietly, working on math, then belt it out again at the chorus. When my parents came home, they'd come in the living room and my mother would sing harmony. My dad couldn't sing. But he'd take our "microphones" away and clack them together keeping the beat and bouncing his head like a bobble-head toy.
    These songs make me feel all that again. The security of people you love, the warmth of friendship. The joy of singing as loudly as you can....more info
  • fantastic

    I became a late fan of James Taylor but I've grown to love his music. This CD was the best for me because it helped me to decide on purchasing more of his music. His voice is unmistakable, his words on some days are what I need to hear. I think he is awesome. I also have been very pleased with Amazon with getting what I want...more info
  • Great Material Ruined by Excess Compression
    this cd has almost everything you could want from a J.T. best of, however the sound is extremely loud...almost unplayable, if you spin it for longer than 20 minutes, you will have a headache and frayed nerves....I had to get rid of mine for that reason; also, the swearing in "steamroller blues" is edited, what the hell for? You may be best served by the original greatest hits cd, while that one cuts off at 1976, thus omitting the Columbia hits, the sound is fantastic, and "steamroller" is unedited...that's, in fact, what I did...more info
  • The Best of the Best of James Taylor's Greatest Hits.
    If you are not a fan, this is a great album to have. It is the essential James Taylor, as far as hits are concerned. If you are a fan, and I am, and love his deep album cuts as well as the hits, you probably have the songs on previously released products. In that case, the only reason to have this version...I got it as a to have one for the house, one for the car, one for the walkman,etc. If you spend your own money for it, you need help with your addition. However, it's a soft, easy way to go....more info
  • A great compilation!
    "The Best of James Taylor" boasts almost all of JT's most memorable and familiar songs of the past 30 years. The quality of the CD is great and the superior mastering of the disk and captures perfectly Taylor's wonderful range and melodic tonality.

    Staples such as "Fire and Rain", "How Sweet It Is", "You've Got a Friend", "Sweet Baby James", "Country Road", and 15 more, including a previously unreleased song entitled "Bittersweet".

    This disk is a great value for Taylor fans looking for something other than a box set or for music enthusiasts just looking for a great compilation of JT's best. Those unfamiliar with his work could do no better than to start with this CD to catch the essence of Taylor's artistic styling.

    The budget-conscious should note that this set includes every song found on Rhino's earlier "James Taylor, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1", plus a bonus of 8 more. In many stores, these CD's are even sold at the same price.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!...more info
  • Discovery
    I have just discovered the many things James Taylor writes and sings about. I got this album to get a copy of "How Sweet It Is" and found several other songs I like almost as much....more info
  • a couple of hit numbers
    I bought this thinking that it was good romantic music after listening to you've got a friend ... and How sweet it is .., but the rest can put you to sleep. I do listen to the likes of John Denver etc. in this genre, but this was just OK...

    bear in mind that this will sound and seem completely different if you are already a james taylor fan...more info
  • By James Taylor but Not Original
    I bought this as a replacement to my original. I was so disappointed that after the 3rd time trying to get used to it I threw it into the back seat.
    Don't get me wrong, I really like his music. But I'm really stuck on the original versions and I believe I'm getting ripped off when what's on the disk isn't what I expected. They should have put on the cover that the songs were all remakes or refected tracks or whatever....more info
  • Great Service
    I thought I already sent a review on this. But nonetheless, I was thrilled with the service and the product. It was all I was looking for!
    Thank you....more info
    I just saw James Taylor perform on Jay Leno's final show and the whole thing moved me to tears - the song itself and the acoustic guitar used to sing it, the fact that Taylor is Leno's favorite and good friend and also one of my faves, and the fact that it was Leno's last show. I just couldn't take the emotion, so I went to Amazon to seek out a JT cd that would take my mind off what I just watched. The very first cd on the list by JT was this greatest hits collection which had all the songs I grew up with starting in the early 70s. As he got older, I didn't like the content of his songs so much, so the early ones are my very favorites. And this cd had them all - so many I remember and sang along to. It doesn't mean I'll never buy another JT cd but I definitely will buy this one because it brings back to me better times in my life. This is 2009 and I've been crazy about JT since the early 70s when I was still in high school. You don't have much more staying power than that....more info
  • The title says it all!
    First,I'd like to wish James Taylor happy 60th birthday. This is a very good collection consuming the contents of his GREATEST HITS package with a few others from his Columbia Records era(Taylor has recorded on the label since 1977). This disc could use HER TOWN TOO(duet with J.D. Souther on 1981's DAD LOVES HIS WORK). ...more info
  • easy
    Wow, what a great and laidback voice this man has. I love every song he makes. He makes you think about your life as he sings. It's almost like he's revealing a story from his life. Just close your eyes and sing along....more info
  • Beautifully Bittersweet
    James Taylor's music is almost painful for me to listen too. Why oh why did the 70's have to end?...more info
  • One CD is NOT enough!
    James Taylor, like so many artists that have been around for 30+ years, has had lots of hits and memorable songs. However, there is simply NO WAY to put his best work on one CD. If you want to know who James Taylor is (even if you are a casual fan), then you will need to buy his two hit volumes which has a lot more songs and gives you a more complete recap of his music life. I enjoyed those two volumes more than this single-disc collection....more info
  • James Taylor the Best
    Can't do better than Best of James, unless you see him live.
    prefect for everyday misic in 50 something home!
    ...more info
  • fine sampling of James Taylor's artistry
    The Best Of James Taylor has nothing but wonderful, timeless music from the celebrated James Taylor. James could turn out a tune and make it shine brighter than most other artists could ever hope to do; and these songs are his gift to us. Sure, there could have been a few changes in the track list and that will cost this CD one star; but this is no real reason to avoid this CD altogether. James really sounds great on this album; the quality of the sound is nothing short of excellent. That artwork is very tastefully done as well.

    The CD starts with an awesome song, "Something In The Way She Moves." "Something In The Way She Moves" has James front and center--his guitar playing is faultless and he doesn't sing an off note, either. "Sweet Baby James" has a fine melody with just a touch of country to it; the guitar work again is very strong and James Taylor delivers this with panache. "Fire And Rain" is truly a major highlight of this album; this touching song is both very sad and instantly memorable. "Fire And Rain" hit the airwaves big time back in the day; and it easily deserved all the recognition it got. "Fire And Rain" is truly James Taylor at his best in his natural element.

    "Country Road" has a fantastic musical arrangement; and I really like another major highlight of this CD entitled "You've Got A Friend." "You've Got A Friend" is the perfect example of a timeless love song that explores a man's unconditional and undying love for his woman; and that's grand. Moreover, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" has a very sweet melody; James delivers this with great sensitivity. I love it! James Taylor is one of the very few current male vocalists who are able to take a ballad and infuse it with so much tender sensitivity that it really boggles your mind.

    "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" is another huge James Taylor that got a lot of air play when it was first released; and just one listen will tell you why "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" got all the attention that it received. James never sounded better and "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" puts him right in the spotlight. I'm very impressed. In addition, "Shower The People" has a wonderful melody. James bats this straight out of the ballpark with his unique touch; those backup vocalists enhance the number even more.

    We are also treated to a live track of "Steamroller;" James enjoys an excellent rapport with his adoring audience. After that listen for "Carolina In My Mind;" "Carolina In My Mind" sparkles brighter than silver and gold combined when James Taylor sings it. "Handy Man" was another huge hit for James; he does this flawlessly and his voice is as clear as ever. "Your Smiling Face" has a relentlessly upbeat melody and when James belts this out he really makes an everlasting positive impression! "Up On The Roof" is a great cover song; and the album ends strong with James Taylor singing "Bittersweet." "Bittersweet" has some excellent key changes to make it sound very good and it just might leave you wanting more!

    James Taylor is a superb artist who keeps on performing to this day; and that's very special. I highly recommend this CD for his fans; and it is a good choice for the more casual fan who just wants a sampling of James Taylor's artistry.
    ...more info
  • James TaylorCD
    This is a wonderful CD with many of Taylors best songs.
    The clarity is great and the sound is perfect....more info
  • Great Guitarist
    I don't have any other James Taylor albums, so I can't really say if this is a good list of songs, or not. What I can say is, I love every single song off this CD. He's my favourite guitarist, and has a really cool, laid back voice. His acoustic chords, and guitar parts are so good. I'd really like to hear his version of Daytripper on this album. If anyone is looking for a good acoustic guitar player, with a good voice too check out James Taylor. Even Jack Johnson, or Nirvana's MTV Unplugged album....more info
  • best of james taylor
    I was disappointed that the first track seems to have been recorded at increased speed spoiling the feel of the song...more info
  • Great CD
    The best of james Taylor makes me smile and think positive thoughts ! Great CD...more info