Thursday, March 14, 2024

Alex Taylor - With Friends And Neighbors (1971 us, exceptional folk blues rock)

1971 was the year of "Taylor Mania" with Mud Slide Slim & The Blue Horizon by James Taylor, Sister Kate's album on Cotillion, and the equally brilliant Liv by Livingston Taylor, on Warner Brothers. Alex Taylor's With Friends And Neighbors is a very good album, enjoying the glow of his sibling's excellent work, and emulating them on the first side. It's more pop than one would think, which all changes when you flip the disc over to hear the bluesy jams like on Greg Allman's "Southbound" on side two. 

Acoustic guitarist's Scott Boyer's "Southern Kids" is up there with some of James Taylor's finest work and with a plethora of guests from King Curtis to Sweet Baby James himself on "Night Owl," With Friends and Neighbors stands on its own as a very listenable and entertaining project. There's not one original by Alex, but he does allow his musicians to contribute, lead guitarist Tommy Talton penning "All In Line" while Boyer gets to include a second composition, "C Song" which ends side one. Bobby And Shirley Womack's "It's All Over Now" gets a fun reading, not as classic as The Rolling Stones or Rod Stewart And The Faces, this one is slowed down and funky but has its charm, and utilizes the same band as on brother Livingston Taylor's Liv album -- Bill Stewart on drums, Tommy Talton on lead guitar, Paul Hornsby on keyboards, Johnny Sandlin providing bass as well as producing the entire disc (Jon Landau was the producer on Liv). 

With the addition of acoustic guitarist Scott Boyer and Alex Taylor on vocals, With Friends And Neighbors is the bookend album to Liv that Sister Kate is to Carole King's Tapestry -- Kate Taylor having employed the musicians (and a couple of the songs) from King's classic 70s release. What the world needs is a Taylor Family Boxed set with all the work from Liv, Sister Kate, With Friends And Neighbors and any other material from the sessions that gave birth to this trio of exquisite recordings. It doesn't have the highs of a "Get Out Of Bed" which Livingston Taylor gave us, but it is consistent and highly enjoyable nevertheless. 
by Joe Viglione
1. Highway Song (James Taylor) - 3:17
2. Southern Kids (Scott Boyer) - 2:31
3. All In Line (Tommy Talton) - 2:50
4. Night Owl (James Taylor) - 3:20
5. C Song (Scott Boyer) - 2:10
6. It's All Over Now (Bobby Womack, Shirley Womack) - 3:41
7. Baby Ruth (Johnny Wyker) - 3:23
8. Take Out Some Insurance (Charles Singleton) - 4:18
9. Southbound (Gregg Allman, David Brown) - 8:30

*Alex Taylor - Vocals
*James Taylor - Guitar
*Scott Boyer - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Tommy Talton - Guitar
*Paul Hornsby - Keyboards
*Johnny Sandlin - Bass
*Peter Kowalke - Guitar
*Joe Rudd - Guitar
*Bill Stewart - Drums
*King Curtis - Saxophone
*Willie Bridges - Saxophone
*Ronnie Cuber - Saxophone
*Frank Wess - Saxophone
*Daniel Moore - Trumpet
*William S. Fischer - Conductor, String Arrangements

Related Acts
1970  Cowboy - Reach For The Sky
1971  Cowboy - 5'll Getcha Ten (2014 remaster)