R. Dean Taylor – The Essential Collection (2001)

R. Dean Taylor - The Essential Collection (2001)
Artist: R. Dean Taylor
Album: The Essential Collection
Genre: Soul
Label: Spectrum Music
Released: 2001
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Tracklist:
Gotta See Jane [0:03:08.01]
Back Street [0:03:36.48]
Ain’t it A Sad Thing [0:02:28.35]
Gonna Give Her All The Love I Got [0:02:52.18]
There’s A Ghost In My House [0:02:14.21]
Don’t Fool Around [0:02:29.31]
Indiana Wants Me [0:03:46.59]
Woman Alive [0:02:32.52]
Loves Your Name [0:02:19.55]
Taos New Mexico [0:03:11.01]
Fire And Rain [0:02:58.05]
Shadow [0:02:49.60]
Two Of Us [0:03:06.03]
Poor Girl [0:02:43.65]
Let’s Go Somewhere [0:02:53.26]
Candy Apple Red [0:03:33.58]
Sunday Morning Coming Down [0:04:14.44]
Just Like In The Movies [0:02:31.19]
My Lady Bug Stay Away From That Beatle [0:02:52.28]

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One of the pleasures of rock & roll is that the reality is always a little stranger than the history presented on VH1. Exhibit A: R. Dean Taylor, the only white artist signed to Motown in the late ’60s and ’70s. As a protégé of the Holland-Dozier-Holland hit machine, Taylor made uncredited contributions to minor classics like the Four Tops’ “I’ll Turn to Stone” and the Temptations’ “All I Need.” He also scored some cult hits of his own in England, including the ripping “There’s a Ghost in My House.” “Ghost” suggests that Taylor was an unsung visionary, part great white-soul hope, part proto-punk, but unfortunately, the rest of this so-called Essential Collection reveals that he was something wimpier and less interesting: a cut-rate Neil Diamond or Jimmy Webb. In the tradition of Diamond and Webb, melodramatic lyrics and dense, sound-effects-laden production make for a real kitsch-a-thon, though there are some pearls scattered among the atrocities. The bombast works well on the other two hits, “Gotta See Jane” and “Indiana Wants Me”; “Back Street” is likewise taut and stirring, and the two previously unreleased tracks (“Just Like in the Movies” and “My Lady Bug Stay Away From That Beatle”) have a gonzo, Brill Building-style charm. On the other hand, the covers of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and the Beatles’ “Two of Us” are worse than pointless, and “Shadow,” a mariachi-flavored ode to a 14-year-old with the “body of a woman and the mind of a child,” is just plain creepy. Approach with low expectations and a light heart.
Review by Daniel Browne

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