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Gorilla

James Taylor

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Album Review

Gorilla served notice to anyone expecting James Taylor to continue on in the personal, confessional vein of his first few albums that he did not intend to do so. Recording in Burbank with Warners staff producers Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman, Taylor used a stellar backup band augmented by such guests as Graham Nash and David Crosby (who harmonized on the chart single "Mexico"), his wife Carly Simon, mandolinist David Grisman, saxophone player David Sanborn, Randy Newman on "hornorgan," and Little Feat slide guitarist Lowell George. This team worked on a set of light, pleasant songs that bordered on the generic — one was called "Music," another "Love Songs" — but were performed and sung with taste and care. Taylor was relentlessly upbeat; even "Angry Blues," which confessed, "I can't help it if I don't feel so good," didn't sound like things were that bad. But then, these songs didn't seem to be about Taylor, or if they were, as in the extended metaphor of the title track, the connection was so oblique that it was hard to say what the point was. Still, one could glide on Taylor's easy vocals and the band's competence, and Gorilla was an enjoyable listening experience. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," the first of a series of bleached R&B covers, became a Top Ten hit, and the album restored Taylor's commercial fortunes, setting him on the steady path he would follow for decades after. But who would have thought only a few years before that the king of the confessional song poets would turn into such a lightweight?

Customer Reviews

Music

Is there anything better than JT and the Gorilla Album?? I think not....I needed to listen to this song for a project that I'm doing-didnt have my Lps on hand--so i dialed into Itunes--and wow....The sound of this recording is amazing...Those analogue recordings rocked! The production is lush and beautiul--the acoustic guitars right out front...james sounds sublime (as always)--and then Graham Nash and david Crosby.....this one really IS "Music" to your ears..

My favorite James Taylor album

From the backing vocals of Crosby and Nash to Gayle Levant on the harp, the music is outstanding. Lighthouse, Music, You Make It Easy are my favorites. Thanks James!

One of JT's Best & Best Songs

This record alway bring fond memories. But the song "Music" is one his most underrated tunes.

Positive and inspiring I could never figure out how this great song never got noticed?

Bob, Denver, Co

Biography

Born: March 12, 1948 in Belmont, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When people use the term "singer/songwriter" (often modified by the word "sensitive") in praise or in criticism, they're thinking of James Taylor. In the early '70s, when he appeared with his introspective songs, acoustic guitar, and calm, understated singing style, he mirrored a generation's emotional exhaustion after tumultuous times. Just as Bing Crosby's reassuring voice brought the country out of the Depression and through World War II, Taylor's eased the transition from '60s activism and its...
Full Bio