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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Old dog, new tricks

Went to see James Taylor at Hammersmith last night. I've been waiting for somebody to do a show like this for the last ten years. If I described it as a cross between a solo show and a Powerpoint presentation your heart would probably sink. It shouldn't. By using a screen to show us old pictures of his teenage girlfriend, his parents, the nephew for whom "Sweet Baby James" was written, the actual frozen man who was found in the permafrost, the mass Moonie wedding that inspired "Line 'Em Up" and an advert for the Cortina GT he bought when in London in 1968, he was able to turn his usual between-songs patter into something even more resonant. (On a couple of songs he even ran in some footage of his home town choir providing choruses and his custom-made rhythm machine was trundled on for a few tunes.) It's an elegant solution to the problem of what to do with an oldies show that is essentially marking time while also distracting our attention from the absence of the percussion that underpins his song as surely as it does Paul Simon's. Anyway, here, from a German fan site, is James's recipe for bluefish.