Numbered limited edition 180-gram LP from Mobile Fidelity
Mastered from the original master tapes: 1979 gem sounds as mellifluous as Taylor's voice on a cool summer night
James Taylor was in an interesting place when he recorded the colossally underrated Flag. Fresh off his double-platinum J.T. (also available from Mobile Fidelity), the artist who defines the singer-songwriter genre had just collaborated with Art Garfunkel and Carly Simon, undertaken a Broadway musical, and become more active in political affairs. All these factors contribute to this 1979 treasure, which finds Taylor plying more of his trademark mellow vibes and insightful, soul-gazing lyrics.
Having landed in the Top Ten and sold more than two million copies, Flag nonetheless remains one of Taylor's most under-appreciated efforts. And it's not because the content is lacking. The beloved singer enters his hallmark storytelling mode on "Sleep Come Free Me" and dizzies the senses with the beloved "Rainy Day Man." Drawing from his musical "Working" (based on legendary author Studs Terkel's book of the same name), "Millworker" and "Brother Trucker" are lessons in character studies, Taylor's narratives peering into the heart of blue-collar America and reflecting his knack for the everyman-and everywoman. Similarly, a pair of covers — "Up on the Roof" and "Day Tripper" — show his knack for reverent interpretation as well as originality.