James Taylor – Flag – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame. 

White Hot Stamper sound on both sides! From the opening notes you will be amazed at how good this album sounds. As far as JT’s recordings go, it’s right up there at the top. Like his album JT, which came just before this one, the best copies of this record are smooth, rich, punchy and have great bass.

A Top Recommendation from Better Records. This is a Must Own James Taylor record.

The average copy of this record is dreadful. All the recuts that were done by Columbia that I’ve ever heard are garbage. There are a number of different stampers for both sides one and two and it’s almost impossible to find two good sides on the same album.

An Underrated Gem

Musically this is one of Taylor’s most underrated albums. Most of the tracks on this record are excellent; some are my personal favorites from the entire Taylor catalog.

Side one is marred by a less than stellar version of The Beatles’ Day Tripper. The next three tracks, though, are three of the best on the whole album, especially Is That The Way You Look? This particular track is in the mold of Traffic Jam from JT. It’s Taylor’s hilarious homage to Doo Wop, with demo quality sound to boot. I note in the review for Traffic Jam how much fun that song is. Is That The Way You Look is even more fun and worth the price of the album alone.

Side two is excellent from start to finish, with a wonderful cover of Rainy Day Man, one of the best tracks on Taylor’s first album, the one he did for Apple 20 years ago. When Apple went under, the record became unavailable for the next 20 years. Watch the site because occasionally we do get copies of it, and it can be out of this world on the best pressings.

Val Garay Is The Man

VAL GARAY is the man behind so many of our favorite recordings: James Taylor’s JT (a Top 100 title), Simple Dreams (also a Top 100 title), Andrew GoldPrisoner In Disguise, etc. They all share his trademark super-punchy, jump-out-the-speakers, rich and smooth ANALOG sound. With BIG drums — can’t forget those. (To be clear, only the best copies share it. Most copies only hint at it.)

I don’t think Mr Garay gets anything like his due with audiophiles and the reviewers who write for them. This is a shame; the guy makes Demo Disc Quality Pop Records about as good as those kinds of records can be made. If you have a Big System that really rocks you owe it to yourself to get to know his work. This is truly a KNOCKOUT disc if you have the equipment for it. We do, and it’s records like this that make the effort and expense of building a full-range dynamic system worthwhile.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Company Man
Johnnie Comes Back
Day Tripper
I Will Not Lie for You
Brother Trucker
Is That the Way You Look?

Side Two

B.S.U.R.
Rainy Day Man
Millworker
Up on the Roof
Chanson Française
Sleep Come Free Me

AMG Review

When people use the term “singer/songwriter” (often modified by the word “sensitive”) in praise or in criticism, they’re thinking of James Taylor. In the early ’70s, when he…… appeared with his introspective songs, acoustic guitar, and calm, understated singing style, he mirrored a generation’s emotional exhaustion after tumultuous times.