When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

Posts tagged “Tony Levin

James Taylor “That’s Why I’m Here”

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.


Tim Finn “Tim Finn”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#120 in the Series) is Tim Finn’s self titled 1989 release.

In that extensive box of goodies that have been created by Neil and Tim Finn, ‘Split Enz, Tim Finn, Crowded House, Neil Finn, Finn Brothers, etc etc, the  ‘Tim Finn’ album just might be my favorite.

Did you ever grab something from the store, played it here and there for a few days and then it grows on you and then you just play it extensively for a long time with out it tiring.

That’s how the Tim Finn album was for me back in 1989.

Every song was on the mark here, as was the band he put together.  I’ve stated this before but why Neil and Tim Finn are not superstars is beyond me!

For this album Tim basically enlisted Peter Gabriel’s band.  Tony Levin on Chapman Stick and bass, Jerry Marotta on drums, David Rhodes on guitar.  The only real addition was Mitchell Froom on keys.  Mitchell also produced the effort.

Tim of course handled all the lead vocals.  I think that’s what always amazed me about him.  His vocals could just soar!

Even thou every song is a keeper, a few hit higher than others.  My favorites included ‘Young Mountain, Not Even Close. How’m I Gonna Sleep, Crescendo’ and ‘Been There, Done That.’

Tim brought this tour to the Park West Theater in Chicago.  I had tix and could not find a soul that wanted to go.  But that didn’t stop me from going.  I was NOT going to miss this show.  So I make my way to the general admission little club and being solo that night, I find an empty seat right in front of the stage!!!  Thanks everyone for not wanting to go with along.

I’m sitting there and he takes the stage and he’s got Peter Gabriel’s band with him on tour as well!!  This was before the internet and you really didn’t know those things in advance.  Heck, now you can know the band, the set list etc. all before you get to a show.  But you didn’t back then.  So I was really pleasantly surprised.

He started the show and performed the album in it’s entirety. You see that now with well-known albums but for something still new, well that’s another thing that wasn’t/isn’t done that often.

He also did a few Split Enz classics that night.  It truly was one of my favorite concert nights I ever had.

Here’s the promo video for ‘How’m I Gonna Sleep’  followed by an unplugged version of ‘Not Even Close’ of Tim playing with Crowded House.  He, of course would join Crowded House for two album shortly after this recording.  One thing J.C. Hartsfield taught me years ago.  He said ‘ The most perfect vocal harmony you could ever have is with yourself.  The second best, is with your brother.’