James Taylor is now into his fourth decade of being a top notch entertainer. His songs are alluring and intriguing compositions. His style over the years has changed little, and maybe that is part of his appeal.

With One Man Band you get a double helping of this great musician, a 19 track CD, and a two hour DVD from a live concert from the newly restored Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As he puts it so well in the introduction “sometimes it is good to go to the well, back to basics, and play the songs in their original form”, and that is what we get with One Man Band. Although older and follicley challenged (bald) his voice has not changed one iota over the years. It is great to see James return to his roots, him, his guitar, and a stage. He does actually have one other performer, I guess that is his One Man Band! Larry Goldings does a very fine job on Keyboards.

It is hard to pick favorite tracks from this guy, they are all favorites, but the one that absolutely stands out is Slap Leather! You have to see this one to believe it, James Taylor abandons his guitar and microphone in favor of a Megaphone and introduces the audience to the finest automatic drum kit ever designed. This would make Rube Goldberg green with envy! While entirely ‘programmable’, the 6 foot long and 3 feet diameter drum containing the rhythm does seem a tad awkward to change between songs!

If you are a James Taylor fan, you will want to put this one on your wish list to Santa. Not only is the music wonderful but the commentaries between songs are priceless. I did not know that James Taylors signature tune You Got A Friend was penned by Carol King or that Joni Mitchell sang harmony on the original version. Being ‘almost’ old I found this a great trip down memory lane. Also featured are favorites ‘Fire and Rain‘ and ‘Carolina in my Mind‘.

You can pick up this 5 star offering at your local music store or online from Concord. It goes on wide distribution on November/26, but you can pick it up at Starbucks right now! I can not recommend this CD/DVD combo enough!

Simon Barrett


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