Album review: James Taylor – JT (Mobile Fidelity Reissue)

JT - BW

Part of its ongoing James Taylor series, Mobile Fidelity’s remaster of the singer/songwriter’s tenth album is a smash.

Each side of the 1977 effort begins with big, radio friendly hits—“Your Smiling Face” and “Handy Man,” respectively. Indeed, JT stands as Taylor’s last great record from both creative and sales standpoints. Only his earlier Sweet Baby James equaled this set’s 3x-platinum status; none of his other studio records, however consistent, generated these numbers. (His 1976 Greatest Hits did sell 11 million copies.)

A side-by-side comparison with a 1A Columbia pressing reveals that while the original possesses a smidge of compression, it has more punch on the bottom end, serving a perfect example of how judicious use of a compressor can make a rock record rock.  Everywhere else, the MoFi gains the upper hand. Considering that a majority of songs on JT are of the slower variety, the audiophile label LP’s sumptuous presentation is a treat. Taylor’s voice is large and breathy, and surrounded by great guitar attack.

In addition, the MoFi edition boasts higher quality in two critical areas, the first being surface noise. Many 70s and 80s Columbia pressings are plagued with noise; this record is no different. Thanks to better vinyl and half-speed mastering, the new JT is extremely silent. My pressing lacks any clicks, ticks, or pops. MoFi’s lower overall level eliminates the original’s compression, which benefits all tracks save for the opening numbers on each side. Those not into vinyl, can still enjoy this classic title on Hybrid SACD as well – the digital version is also fantastic.

Moreover, the remainder of the album yields more low-level detail as well as extra space between notes. Taylor’s acoustic guitar playing offers added resonance and decay, drum fills are better defined, and it’s much easier to pick out Carly Simon’s backing vocals. —Jeff Dorgay

You can purchase this title here.

Add a comment

We welcome debate within Society of Sound, but please keep it friendly, respectful and relevant. We have a few house rules which we ask you to abide by to keep the debate intelligent. Read more.
Product enquiry or support issue? Please click here.

Related posts

Rough Trade Recommends Van Dyke Park's Songs Cycled

Rough Trade recommends: Van Dyke Parks, Songs Cycled

If there was any justice in the music world VDP would be a household name. He is probably best known for his work with Beach Boy … Read more

Ed Harcourt, Back Into The Woods

Recording Ed Harcourt by Abbey Road engineer Pete Hutchings

Recorded in six hours straight, these production notes by Abbey Road engineer Pete Hutchings explain how he set about recording Ed … Read more

Speech-Debelle

Speech Debelle’s top 10 Bass tracks

Sister Nancy – ‘Bam Bam’ “It's all bassline and vocals, a great example of how reggae is all about resonance. This track was … Read more