Top positive review
Nearly passed it by
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2020
Well, I nearly dismissed this album, thinking "I've heard all of these songs done so many times by Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and others..." Of course, I was wrong. James Taylor gives these old tunes new life, almost as if he'd written them himself. They are all familiar, of course, but James Taylor always has his own take on everything he does. He proved this years ago with his two "Covers" albums—I mean, JT singing "Hound Dog"? But it works.
The present album could be just romantic background music, which is fine, but it's much more than that, too. It is clear that this collection of standards have personal meaning for the artist himself, and as I listen to this album the music has new meaning for me, as well. It's not just nostalgia, but has real meaning for life, past and present. Listened to in this way, the music is fresh instead of just a collection of corny songs from the days of grandma and grandpa (or mom and dad in my case). As George Michael suggested, "Listen without prejudice"—never a bad idea.
By the way, it doesn't say so in the liner notes, but that might be James Taylor playing cello on "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught." He and the who's-who list of musicians have dusted off and breathed new life into these classics.