James Taylor

Published on August 20th, 2014

JAMES TAYLOR NOV 15

James Taylor

James Taylor

White-bashing is one of the most common occurrences concerning the music and career of James Taylor. Comedy troupe the Whitest Kids U Know joked in the February, 2008 issue of Spin Magazine that “if you listen to James Taylor all day, a John Denver record sounds like Public Enemy.” That little move from the David ChappelleWayne Brady makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcom X” playbook shouldn’t go unnoticed for it has been that type of harsh criticism that has underlined and tarnished Taylor’s long and illustrious career in the internet age.

Haters gonna hate but to boil down his accomplishments into one carte blanche (no pun intended) admonishment of über-whiteness is just plain wrong. This kind of drivel is probably more closely associated to his marriage to Carly Simon and his musical association with Carole King; two musicians who do attract a whiter audience.

Taylor’s roots might trace back to his family’s relocation to Chapel Hill, North Carolina when he was a toddler and there’s something about his growing up there that certainly translates into the pastoral elements of his folk rock and country tunes but his take on those styles is as informed by contemporary lyrical poetics as it is progressive in thought. Many like to forget the fact that his debut album, 1968’s self-titled record was released on the Apple label and counted with the support of George Harrison and longtime pal Paul McCartney, a relationship that continued into subsequent recordings.

james taylor

James Taylor

His career, now spanning six decades, has had its ups and downs but Taylor has always managed to retain relevance regardless of shifts in musical climates. There is a direct link, specifically from his prolificacy during the ‘70s, to today’s acts like Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens. He’s been covered by diverse artists Pearl Jam, Isaac Hayes and Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies among many others – even John Denver belted out a rendition of “Carolina on My Mind” – how meta is that for the white accusatory board that has sought to undermine him?

Proving that he’s already transcended beyond any petty criticism that might be hurled his way, Taylor continues touring and recording, his most recent works concerned with covers of some of his favorite songs.

James Taylor plays the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL on Saturday, November 15.

~Abel Folgar

The shot below, by Henry Diltz, was taken the same day as the Sweet Baby James album cover in the Lake Hollywood area of California and can be purchased HERE.

James Taylor by Henry Diltz

James Taylor by Henry Diltz

 

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