Artist: James Taylor
Title: One Man Dog
Label: Warner Bros
Musicians:James Taylor – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, harmonica, autoharp, bells, cross-cut saw, Arthur Baron – bass trombone, George Bohanon – trombone
Michael Brecker – flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, Dash Crofts – mandolin, Craig Doerge – piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Bobbye Hall – percussion, congas, bongos, tambourine, shaker, bells, Abigale Haness – backing vocals, Steven Edney – backing vocals, John Hartford – banjo, fiddle, Carole King – backing vocals, Danny Kortchmar – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, timbales, Russ Kunkel – drums, congas, tambourine, cabasa, John McLaughlin – acoustic guitar, Mark Paletier – sound effects, saw, Red Rhodes – pedal steel guitar, Barry Rogers – trombone, Linda Ronstadt – backing vocals, Carly Simon – backing vocals, Leland Sklar – bass, guitarron mexicano, Alex Taylor – backing vocals, Hugh Taylor – backing vocals, Kate Taylor – backing vocals
One Man Dog is the fourth studio album by singer-songwriter James Taylor. The basic tracks were primarily recorded in Taylor’s home studio, which happens to be shown on the back cover of the jacket. The album also happens to be on the green Warner Bros. label which, from a sound quality perspective, has not failed me.
The album is made up of 18 short pieces strung together.
Starting with the title track “One Man Parade”, this song with strength in sound, structure, lyrics, the works, has a cuban flavor with the percussion, which heightens the anticipation of a great LP. From wikipedia: Taylor said he had written “One Man Parade” during the year preceding the album release and he had begun playing it live in concert as early as the Fall of 1971. Like “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” “One Man Parade” was recorded on a portable recording console at Taylor’s home with his new bride Carly Simon in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Simon, Carole King and Abigale Haness provided harmony vocals. Russ Kunkel plays congas on the song, in a performance Taylor biographer Mark Robowsky describes as “trippy.”
“One Man Parade” was originally intended to be the title track of the album, but Taylor changed the album title “for no particular reason” to One Man Dog, in reference to his shepherd dog who is mentioned in the song.
We slip into the second track, titled “Nobody But You” in the trademark James Taylor style, then side one takes us to track three, which is a whimsical tune titled “Chili Dog”, featuring fantastic percussion as did the first track. This is also the start of a suite of short songs in this side featuring the same style of whimsy done smartly. The fifth and last track of this section on the LP aptly titled, “Instrumental 1” is an instrumental break.
Leaving this section of short tracks, we go back to the signature James Taylor sound on track six, “New Tune” followed by “Back On The Street Again” through the end of side one with the last track, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” being a minor hit.
Starting off side two of this LP, we again have one of James Taylor’s more upbeat, whimsical tunes (that seem to be all over this LP), titled, “Woh, Don’t You Know”. As with side one, side two has no less than 9 tracks of short songs tracking the same path as side one with another instrumental as well. Track two is titled, “One Morning In May”, which is a folk song which has been collected from traditional singers in England and the USA and has also been recorded by revival singers. Through the use of double-entendre, at least in the English versions, it tells of a sexual encounter between a grenadier (or soldier) and a lady. Lyrics have been traced to the late 17th or early 18th Century. There are a number of textual variants, and the song has many titles. The most frequent in the Roud Index are “The Nightingale”, “The Bold Grenadier”, and “One Morning in May”, in that order.
Track three is the second instrumental (and guess what it is called, yup). We slip into track four titled, “Someone” by John McLaughlin and with track five we enter the second short track suite starting with “Hymn” and ending with “Jig”.
In my opinion, while lacking in big hits, this is really one of James Taylor’s most enjoyable LPs and a true work of art.
1. “One Man Parade”
2. “Nobody But You”
3. “Chili Dog”
4. “Fool for You”
5. “Instrumental I”
6. “New Tune”
7. “Back on the Street Again”
8. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”
1. “Woh, Don’t You Know”
2. “One Morning in May”
3. “Instrumental II”
7. “Little David”