Last Night in Cleveland: James Taylor

James Taylor and Blossom fit together like summertime and warm weather. That’s why the guy’s become a tradition there. A little early-evening rain may have prevented a few fans from attending Taylor’s concert at Blossom last night, but judging by the still-crowded lawn, it didn’t seem to bother most people. “You people on the lawn, I can’t believe you showed up,” quipped Taylor from the stage. “Thanks for coming -- the lawn nation!” It’s been three years since Taylor took a full band on the road with him. He spent much of that time performing solo (captured on the recent CD/DVD One Man Band) and recording a covers album with the band at his Massachusetts rehearsal barn. The CD will be out later this year, but Taylor previewed a huge chunk of material from it during his two-hour set: Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper’s “Knock on Wood,” Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour,” and Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman.” One of the most familiar tracks, “Hound Dog,” veered far left of the well-known Elvis Presley version, instead tapping the Big Mama Thornton original for a swamped-up bluesy rework ...

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