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Concert Reviews:
James Taylor Plays More Hits Than "Covers" At Border's Show
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

ANN ARBOR -- James Taylor's just-released new album, "Covers," is a collection of other people's songs. But the veteran troubadour supported it with some of his greatest hits during a special solo performance Thursday night (Oct. 2) at Border's Books & Music's headquarters store,

Taylor explained to the 400 fans, who had lined up early in the morning to get wristbands for the show, that he didn't feel he could play the "Covers" songs since they were recorded with his 12-piece Band of Legends -- though he did deliver a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," which appears on the album. There were few complaints, however, as Taylor rolled out a crowd-pleasing set that started with "Something In the Way She Moves" from his debut album and also included "Secret O' Life," "Carolina In My Mind," "Sweet Baby James," "Belfast To Boston (God's Rifle" from 2002's October Road album, and "Mexico."

Wearing jeans and a blue pinstriped shirt, Taylor was jovial and charming throughout the half-hour set, which was filmed and will be posted on the Border's web site early next week. He talked warmly about recording "Covers" and the mechanics of setting up the Border's concert -- which began at a dinner with company CEO George Jones before Taylor's June show at the Meadow Brook Music Festival -- and told stories about the songs he played. He got the biggest laugh of the night when he recalled that "Something In The Way She Moves" helped get him a deal with the Beatles' Apple Records label: "I played it for Paul McCartney and he liked it. I played it for George Harrison, and he liked it so much he went home and wrote it" -- referring to Harrison's Beatles' hit "Something."

The Border's stop was effectively Taylor's only public concert for "Covers," which came out Tuesday (Sept. 30). He has upcoming appearances booked on NBC's "The Tonight Show" (October 7th), Public Radio International's "The Tavis Smiley Show" (October 8th) and an October 22nd stop on PBS' "Charlie Rose" with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who played on "Suzanne." Taylor has also taped a segment for Sundance's new "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With..."

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