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By Neil McKay

Published 22/12/2006

A MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute

Featuring James Taylor ***

(Warner Music Vision)

This is one of those charitable, quasi-award ceremonies that the Americans simply adore - an excuse to get all dressed up, slap each other on the back and honour one of their own. In this case a starry, starry cast gathered earlier this year to pay homage to Taylor for his humanitarian works during a near 40-year career at, or very near, the top of the music business.

Truth be told, it's an ever so slightly stuffy affair, less a celebration, and more a polite acknowledgement of Taylor and his work. A parade of superstars, led by Bruce Springsteen and including Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban and a once-in-a-lifetime teaming of David Crosby, Jackson Browne and Sheryl Crow, all cover one of Taylor's songs, while Carole King and Taylor duet on You've Got A Friend.

Everybody pays gushing tribute to Taylor and there are a few very welcome flashes of humour from Jimmy Buffet and Sting, who credits Taylor with persuading him to give up notions of a career as a singer/songwriter, to become a bass player in a punk band.

What musical grit there is comes from Springsteen (surprise, surprise), and a bluesy pairing of Dr John and Taj Mahal, before Taylor clambers on stage to thank the world and his uncle and sing three songs himself.

Belfast Telegraph

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