Dirty Linen - p.85
"His own songs, such as the very funky 'Lady Magic' and the jazz vocalizations of 'Digest,' really show his growth, both as a singer and a songwriter."
Personnel: Ben Taylor (vocals, guitar); David Saw (vocals, guitar); Merideth Sheldon (vocals); Larry Ciancia (percussion).
Recording information: KRVB 94.9 The River, Boise, ID.
Photographer: Scarlet Page.
For a change, let's talk about the ways in which Ben Taylor does not sound like his father James Taylor. His voice, as heard on this acoustic EP, is thinner and somewhat huskier than the rich tones that come out of James Taylor's mouth so regularly, and his vocal rhythms seem more informed by jazz than R&B. His song selection here would stretch his dad's repertoire, too. In addition to a live version of "Nothing I Can Do" and "Digest," from the album Another Run Around the Sun, Ben Taylor performs a new song, "Lady Magic," with something of a hip-hop beat provided by Larry Ciancia's percussion (hand drumming on a shoebox) and three intriguing covers, all of which take a female perspective. There's the old '50s standard "You Belong to Me," which was first a hit for Jo Stafford; Macy Gray's "I Try"; and, finally, Portishead's "Glory Box," which finds Taylor, in harmony with Merideth Sheldon, singing a chorus that goes, "Gimme a reason to love you, gimme a reason be a woman, I just wanna be a woman." It's hard to imagine James Taylor singing that. ~ William Ruhlmann