Greg Sandow
August 06, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

James Taylor Live

Current Status
In Season
James Taylor

We gave it an B+

”Hi,” says James Taylor, laconically. With that he launches his first-ever concert release, James Taylor Live, a two-CD ramble through 30 mostly familiar songs (”Fire and Rain,” ”Sweet Baby James,” and the like) taped on his 1992 East Coast tour. Those who don’t already love his music may find the saga too laconic — too dry, too reserved, too much the same from one song to the next — though they might wake up for Taylor’s affectionate take on a George Jones weeper, ”She Thinks I Still Care,” and also for his crisp comeback to a gal who screams ”I love you.” ”Good,” he deadpans, before adding, ”I think it helps us not to know each other.” But for Taylor devotees, the set is manna from heaven. JT’s at the top of his familiar folksy form, singing with tangible pleasure, and a wry rhythmic kick. His band’s a plus too; they have a tight jazz-lite groove, which launches the old tunes into the ’90s with more sizzle than ever before. B+

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