Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#157 in the Series) is James Taylor, That’s Why I’m Here.
“Come on everyone, come on… let’s go! James is recording a new album. We all have to help him out!
Was that the clarion call throughout Los Angeles in 1985 when James Taylor decided to record for the first time in years,who knows? ButI’m guessing it was close. It seems like every hot musician from within 100 miles played on this album.
So before I get into the rest of album, let me make a list of who answered that call.
Here’s who makes an appearance on That’s Why I’m Here.
Don Henley, Leland Sklar, Peter Asher, Randy + Michael Brecker , Russ Kunkel, Tony Levin, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Billy Payne, Deniece Williams, Rory Dodd, Clifford Carter, Greg ’Fingers’ Taylor, Jimmy Maelen, Airto and David Sanborn.
I wonder is songwriters feel the need to write exceptionally well when they know the heavyweights are right outside the studio door?
If James Taylor felt that weight then he certainly delivered. There are some absolute gems on this one.
Some of the best on the disc are the title cut, That’s Why I’m Here, the great ballad, A Song for You Far Away,and Only a Dream in Rio. There’s also one of the few songs I know about a pig, Mona.
James also does a fine rendition of his brother Livingston’s Going Around One More Time.
He also adds a couple of nice covers, Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s …thru Gene Pitney ..(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance and Buddy Holly’s Everyday.
I remember seeing James Taylor at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago in 1991. It was an interesting crowd. One half were old hippies, the other half, yuppies. Safe to say I wasn’t one of the yuppies.
It also was the best sound I ever heard at a concert. Sitting directly in front of the mixing board didn’t hurt!
That’s Why I’m here was produced by JT along with Peter Asher and Frank Filipetti.
It reached #34 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.
Here’s a few live cuts followed by Liberty Valance.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#152 in the Series) is Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark.
Court and Spark was the album that took Joni Mitchell from a pretty darn good selling artist to a star. It was a monster album.
It reached #2 on the Billboard Album charts but had long time staying power on rock radio. It fit in perfectly with the singer/songwriter period which was very hot in 1974.
Sure this was three or four years after she had written Woodstock, but it’s Court and Spark more often than not when people think Joni Mitchell.
This album contains songs such as Help Me, Free Man in Paris, Car on a Hill, Raised on Robbery and the fun, Twisted.
As you know, I always like to say who played on an album. Especially when I have names to type such as Tom Scott, Davis Crosby, Graham Nash, Larry Carlton, Robbie Robertson, Jose Feliciano and even …Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong!
They all appeared on the album.
Court and Spark was produced by Joni Mitchell.
Rolling Stone Magazine called it the 111th Best Album on their All-Time Top 500.
I told you I’d pull out some weird things on this blog. Well I bet this one really blows your mind!
Before I start, I want to express my sympathy to the family of Michael Been. Wednesday I featured Michael’s Band, The Call. The next day he passes away. Too weird.
Back to Ms. Moore. I bet your saying ‘What the ^%$( is he smoking!’ But take a look at this album. It’s an album full of cover tunes. (How many of those have we seen the past few years?) But what makes this one interesting is the song list that she chooses.
Her performance of these songs was quite good. Some not so much but others were pretty solid.
But let’s look at the songs. I was shocked when I saw this list. She really choose some of the best tunes of the 70s + 80s.
First up is XTC’s ‘Senses Working Overtime.’ Not a bad place to start. Good version too. Second song is The Waterboy’s ‘The Whole of the Moon. You got to be kidding me. What a choice!! I hope Mike Scott got to cash a check on that one.
Song Three, Todd Rundgren’s ‘Can We Still Be Friends.’ Four is Carole King’s ‘I Feel The Earth Move.’
Song Five is Elton’s ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.’ Six, A great version of Joan Armatrading’s ‘Drop The Pilot.’
Song Seven. Cat Steven’s ‘Moonshadow’. The rest of the album includes things like Joe Jackson’s ‘Breaking Us In Two’ Joni Mitchell’s ‘Help Me’ and John Hiatt’s ‘Have a Little Faith in Me.’
I’m not expecting anyone to run out and but this. But I just felt that the I’d mention this album because the song list just shocked the hell out of me. I thought you might get a kick out of hearing about it. I think it’s pretty ‘Cool!’
Coverage was released in 2003 and hit #14 on the Billboard Hop 200 album charts.