December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

A modest suggestion: After recovering from your Christmas feast, lie down on the couch and watch Elvis Costello's Spectacle at 11:00 P.M. on the Sundance Channel, when he hosts James Taylor.

There may be greater artists than James Taylor, but it's hard to find any who have toiled so long with integrity, consistent quality, and with so little embarrassment. And to boot, he's an extraordinary singer, who tours with an exquisite band and four backup singers who are all brilliant soloists.

James Taylor excels at duets, but in Elvis Costello, he finds one of the few singers he doesn't blend well with. Worry not. I agree with Costello that Taylor is one of our finest singers, and James shines in his four solos. And it's a delight to listen to Elvis and James talk about music.

As my Christmas gift, here is a video of Taylor's tribute to Martin Luther King, Shed a Little Light, showcasing his background singers' talents: