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Archive for June 9th, 2011

James Taylor’s “Flag” and “Dad Loves His Work” Due On SACD

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In 1977, James Taylor jumped ship from Warner Bros. Records, his home between 1970 and 1976, for the greener pastures of Columbia.  His longtime producer Peter Asher joined him, and JT marked their first effort at the new label.  Taylor was rapidly rewarded, as JT spawned the hit singles “Your Smiling Face” and “Handy Man,” the latter of which snagged the singer a Grammy Award.  It was his highest-charting album since 1971’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, but Taylor took his time for a follow-up.  Flag didn’t arrive until almost two full years later, in May 1979.  Just last week, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released its first James Taylor hybrid SACD (playable on all CD players), appropriately starting with JT. The next two SACD titles have been confirmed by Music Direct and are available for pre-order, and they continue Taylor’s Columbia catalogue chronologically.  Flag and 1981’s Dad Loves His Work both were platinum sellers, and the former is a bit of a surprise.  Mobile Fidelity first announced Dad Loves His Work last November, so it’s a welcome surprise that Flag has joined it for release.  In addition, both titles will be available on 180-gram vinyl.  (Audio Fidelity has concurrently been taking on the task of bringing Taylor’s Warner Bros. albums up to audiophile standard as 24k gold CDs, and that label just recently confirmed reissue of Taylor’s then-wife Carly Simon’s No Secrets in that format.)

At the time of its release, Flag was inevitably perceived as a disappointment, coming off the highly successful JT.  It is a bit of a crazy quilt of the various musical strands running through Taylor’s head at the time.  Hence, the album includes two covers, one of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and the other a Carole King/Gerry Goffin song that became closely identified with the artist: “Up on the Roof.”  Taylor, Asher and his usual team of musicians (including Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, Leland Sklar and Russ Kunkel, all of whom joined Taylor and King for their 2010 Troubadour tour) found a gentle groove in the old Drifters hit, emphasizing the melancholy and wistful quality of the song that resonated with listeners.  Taylor reworked his own “Rainy Day Man” for his new label, and among the other new compositions on Flag included recordings of two songs penned for Stephen Schwartz’s Broadway musical Working, “Brother Trucker” and “Millworker.”  The latter, in particular, is among the strongest songs written by Taylor, and remains the favorite of Working director Schwartz, a composer and lyricist himself (Godspell, Wicked).

Hit the jump for a look at Dad Loves His Work, plus complete track listings with discography and pre-order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 9, 2011 at 10:21

Posted in James Taylor, News, Reissues