Honoring James Taylor, Musicares Person of the Year Tribute

by | Dec 11, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Honoring James Taylor, Musicares Person of the Year Tribute

Studio: Rhino Records RH1471642D
Video: 1.33 full frame,  Color
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1; PCM Stereo – English
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: **** 1/2      

Tracklist:
1. Shower The People – The Dixie Chicks
2. Rainy Day Man – Bonnie Raitt
3. Secret O’Life – India Arie
4. Mexico – Jackson Browne, David Crosby, and Sheryl Crow
5. You Can Close Your Eyes – Sting
6. Everybody Has The Blues – Dr. John and Taj Mahal
7. Carolina In My Mind – Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas
8. Country Road – Keith Urban
9. Millworker – Bruce Springsteen
10. You’ve Got A Friend- Carole King
11. Shed A Little Light – James Taylor
12. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) – James Taylor
13. Fire And Rain – James Taylor

This is a video by Rhino Records of the Musicares Organization honoring James Taylor as the well-deserved 2006 Person of the Year Award. Musicares is an organization that uses musicians to raise money to benefit humanitarian aid to those that need it. They raised millions to benefit the victims of the hurricanes in the Gulf Coast last year. James is presented the award for both his music and humanitarianism. Everything about this DVD is first class. The video is obviously shot in high definition and is among the best looking DVD videos I have seen.  It looks as good as most high definition 1080i videos. There is a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio track for those who demand surround sound. For those that want it to sound really transparent they have included an uncompressed PCM stereo track. The sound is crisp and clear. Each word is clearly rendered. This puts it among the best sounding DVD concerts of all time. Most labels would have stuck us with a lame 2.0 DD sound track.

The artists are all first rate and present respectful and yet interesting heartfelt versions of the James Taylor songs. The tributes by the artists are kept short so as not to take away from the music. The songs are all presented in their full length. The honoring speeches are also kept thankfully short. Many tribute concerts are marred by cut songs and overlong speeches. James comes onstage and sings the last three songs on the album himself. The three highlights of the album for me are The Dixie Chicks, Carole King and James singing Fire and Rain. The Dixie Chicks do a great version of “Shower the People”. I like the fact that Musicares made the controversial decision to include them in the program. I felt that their statement about President Bush was exercising the use of one of our best American rights, to speak out against the government when it does something wrong.

A really special moment in the program was when JT came out and joined Carole King singing “You’ve Got a Friend”. The best moment on the album is the last song with JT and his guitar singing “Fire and Rain”. This is what music should be about, a great song sung with minimal distraction from the message it carries. I consider “Fire and Rain” one of the best 50 songs ever written. Good music, high quality video and very good sound make me give this concert my very highest recommendation.
 
– Clay Swartz

 

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