Entertainment Weekly - 12/1/00, p.102
"...Taylor hasn't changed his easygoin' honey-cured style over the decades, but this collection of pst-1976 work shows his output hasn't slacked either..." - Rating: B+
Personnel includes: James Taylor (vocals, acoustic guitar); Arnold McCuller, Valerie Carter, David Lasley, Kate Markowitz, Rosemary Butler (vocals); Danny Kortchmar (acoustic & electric guitar), Waddy Wachtel, Dan Dugmore, Michael Landau (electric guitar); Jerry Douglas (dobro); Mark O'Connor (violin); Bob Mintzer (tenor saxophone); Randy Brecker (trumpet); Dave Bargeron (trombone); Dr. Clarence McDonald, Billy Payne (keyboards); Don Grolnick (piano, organ, synthesizer); Leland Sklar, Tony Levin (bass); Russell Kunkel, Rick Maretta (drums, percussion); Carlos Vega, Steve Jordan (drums); Jim Maelen (percussion).
Producers include: Peter Asher, James Taylor, Frank Filipetti, Don Grolnick, Danny Kortchmar.
Engineers: Val Garay, Frank Filipetti, James Farber.
Recorded at The Sound Factory, Los Angeles, California; Record One, Los Angeles, California; Right Track Recording, New York, New York; Power Station, New York, New York; Skyline Studios, New York, New York.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Recording information: A&M Studios, LA; Air Studios, Montserrat; Chalker's Creek, Martha's Vineyard, MA; Power Station, New York, NY; Record One, LA; Right Track Recording, New York, NY; Skyline, New York, NY; Studio F, LA; The Sound Factory, LA; Westlake Audio, LA.
Photographer: Dan Borris.
The 24 years-in-the-making sequel to James Taylor's first best-of anthology, reassuringly VOLUME 2 sports the same minimalist graphic cover design. Not surprisingly, the music reflects a similar aesthetic; Taylor has always been a careful craftsman and something of a minimalist, favoring small, intimate-sounding acoustic backdrops to electric bombast.
It's a testament to his vision that the songs here are very much of a piece with the songs on VOLUME 1. Three covers--Buddy Holly's "Everyday," Carole King's "Up on the Roof," and Otis Blackwell's "Handy Man"--demonstrate that Taylor still has no peer as an interpreter of '50s and '60s pop-rock. Other highlights include his wonderfully catchy Motown pastiche "Your Smiling Face," the rueful, yet stirring "Never Die Young," and the concluding "Enough to Be on Your Way," featuring a guest appearance by none other than cellist Yo-Yo Ma.