James Taylor has often been credited with kick-starting the whole singer-songwriter movement so it's ironic that many of his biggest hit singles have been cover versions of other people's songs. Notable among them are "You've Got A Friend," "Handy Man," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," and "Up On The Roof." Taylor has written some wonderful songs so my statement isn't meant to demean his accomplishments. To the contrary, he is talented and versatile enough to fold other artist's songs into his laid back musical frame of reference and truly make them his own.
Considering both Taylor's good taste and commercial success recording other artists' work we shouldn't be surprised that he finally issued a whole CD of classics originally associated with other stars. On his latest release, Covers, a lot of famous 60s and 70s pop and rock standards receive the usual laid back Taylor treatment. "Not Fade Away," "Hound Dog," "Suzanne," "On Broadway," and "Wichita Lineman" are pleasantly played and arranged by the top notch band he assembled for the sessions. The usual guitars and keyboards lead the way but they are often supported by some nice horn charts that give the more laid back readings of rockers such as "Summertime Blues" some added punch. As always, Taylor's smooth vocal delivery is impeccable.
You can never go wrong with a James Taylor CD. He is among the elite figures in American pop music history.