James Taylor

Covers

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A cozy companion to One Man Band, James Taylor's 2007 intimate stroll through his back pages for Starbucks' Hear Music, Covers once again finds the singer/songwriter on familiar, friendly territory, as he returns to his easy rolling full band and digs into the songbook of the rock & roll era. It's his era, of course, the time he had hit singles, including many hit cover versions, as he points out himself in his brief liner notes to the album. All of this makes Covers feel perhaps even more comfortable than One Man Band, which had the distinction of its unique guitar-and-piano arrangements, something that made his hits sound relatively fresh. Here, standards -- and despite a couple of oddball choices like the Spinners' "Sadie," John Anderson's "Seminole Wind," and the only modern song here, the Dixie Chicks' "Some Days You Gotta Dance," this is all standards like "Wichita Lineman," "Suzanne," "Hound Dog," "On Broadway," "Summertime Blues," and "Not Fade Away" -- are given Taylor's warm, mellow signature, so Covers winds up feeling a bit like an outdoor concert on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon: something that is wholly relaxing and not in the least surprising.

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