Thursday, 16 June 2011

"One Man Dog" by JAMES TAYLOR (2010 Audio Fidelity 24- KT Gold Audiophile CD Reissue - Steve Hoffman Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Taking The Breeze…Just As Free As You Please…"

After a shaky start with Apple in 1968 - James Taylor hit the double-whammy with his next two albums on Warner Brothers – "Sweet Baby James" (1970) and "Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon" (1971).

It was then something of a bitter disappointment to be presented with the incredibly patchy "One Man Dog" as a follow-up. Originally produced by Peter Asher - his fourth album was released November 1972 on Warner Brothers BS 2660 in the USA and Warner Brothers K 46185 in the UK. The album peaked at Number 4 and featured his much-covered ballad and chart hit "Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight".

Which brings us to this Audio Fidelity 24 KT GOLD CD Reissue on AFZ 101 (Barcode 780014210120) of "One Man Dog" by JAMES TAYLOR - released late November 2010 in the USA. It’s a Limited Edition (numbered on the rear) Audiophile CD and has been mastered by engineering legend STEVE HOFFMAN. It sounds beautiful in the truest sense of the word. All the tracks are acoustic based and have a lovely air about them now.

The outer card-wrap houses the gold CD in a jewel case – the 8-page booklet reproduces the recording info insert that came with first pressings - while Page 7 reproduces the Side 1 and 2 labels of the original US LP. There’s no notes on the album, history etc…it’s a straightforward reissue (37:55 minutes).

1. One Man Parade
2. Nobody But You
3. Chili Dog
4. Fool For You
5. Instrumental 1
6. New Tune
7. Back On The Street Again
8. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
9. Woh, Don’t You Know
10. One Morning In May
11. Instrumental 2
12. Someone
13. Hymn
14. Fanfare
15. Little David
16. Mescalito
17. Dance
18. Jog

Most of the 18 tracks are very short – snippets really – and a lot of it feels too slight by far. Having said that highlights include "One Man Dog" and "One Morning In May" which feature the backing vocals of CAROLE KING and LINDA RONSTADT respectively. "Instrumental II" has superb reproduction on it and the "...holy children..." tune "Hymn" now sounds so sweet too. The Tenor Saxophone solo by Michael Brecker on "Don’t Let Me Lonely Tonight" is gorgeous also.

I’ve found AF releases very hit and miss – I’ve reviewed their superb Joe Walsh issue of “The Smoker You Drink…” but there’s also the dullard Randy Newman, Faces and Rod Stewart issues – all of which have had derision quite rightly thrown at them. Not so here…

To sum up – this is a beautiful remaster - a 5-star presentation of a 3-star album.

If you cant find this now deleted Audio Fidelity item (which will undoubtedly have a price tag to match its rarity) - I’d plum for the Japanese SHM-CD version from October 2010 (reissued 2014) on Warner Brothers WPCR-13821 (use Barcode 4943674097340 on Amazon to find the right issue). For about the same price you get full Mini LP Repro Artwork and the better SHM-CD format inside. The Audio on it is truly gorgeous also and SHM-CDs play on all machines…

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