JAMES TAYLOR SHARES OVER THE RAINBOW – THE AMERICAN STANDARD EP

JamesTaylor_AmericanStandard_EP

Surprise 3-Track Collection, Out Today, Includes the Previously Unreleased Wizard of Oz Classic “Over The Rainbow,” along with “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” from My Fair Lady and “Never Never Land” from Peter Pan

Just in time for Thanksgiving, legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor has shared a surprise new 3-Track collection, Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP, a companion to his acclaimed album, American Standard, released earlier this year. The EP features three performances from the American Standard sessions including Taylor’s previously unreleased moving interpretation of The Wizard of Oz classic, “Over The Rainbow,” written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, along with Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner’s “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” from the 1956 musical My Fair Lady, and “Never Never Land,” written by Jules Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green for the 1954 musical Peter Pan. (“I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and “Never Never Land” were previously available as CD exclusives only. All three songs are now available for the first time digitally.)  Watch the “Over The Rainbow” visualizer HERE  

Stream/purchase the Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP HERE

On American Standard, released February 28th, 2020, Taylor infused new sounds and fresh meaning into some of the most beloved songs of the 20th century, reimagining these enduring works of art and making them completely his own.

James Taylor’s statement on Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP:

I’m so glad these three songs are getting a general release. We cut more songs than would fit on the album, American Standard, which made the promotion department happy. They find uses for the extra tracks, usually as “exclusive” material for the big box retailers. But I’ve regretted not giving these three pieces the exposure I think they deserve. 

My solo guitar version of “Over the Rainbow” has two points worth mentioning: first it keeps Yip Yarberg’s original introductory verse, which is rare, though the song is forever popular. And second: its arrangement has more variations than any other “Rainbow” I’ve heard – it’s one chordy chart. 

“I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” is from one of my parents’ favorite records, the cast recording of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady. “… damn, damn, damn, damn, damn… I’ve grown accustomed to her face…” Henry Higgins reluctantly realizes that he loves Liza Doolittle. Stuart Duncan plays a lovely tuned-down violin.

Another favorite from that family record collection was yet another cast album from another Broadway musical: Peter Pan, starring Mary Martin. My little brother, Livingston beat me to it years ago but here, also, is my version of the dreamy idyl, “Never Never Land.”

Thank you for listening…

The 14 selections on American Standard naturally feature Taylor’s one-of-a-kind vocal ability and incomparable musicianship, but what makes the album unique is the inventive way he and fellow co-producers, Dave O’Donnell and master guitarist John Pizzarelli, approached the project ¾ beautifully simple, stripped-down guitar arrangements based on Taylor’s and Pizzarelli’s skillful guitar work rather than the more traditional piano. The effect is mesmerizing. 

A small sampling of the album’s inspired repertoire includes Taylor’s’ swinging take on Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting’s “My Blue Heaven,” Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner’s enduring “Almost Like Being In Love,” from the score of Brigadoon; Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington’s enchanting “The Nearness Of You,” Frank Loesser’s jaunty “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” from the Broadway smash Guys and Dolls; Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s piercing social commentary from South Pacific, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” a superb reading of the Billie Holiday-Arthur Herzog Jr. classic, “God Bless The Child,”  and the first ever cover of a song originally featured in the 1938 Merrie Melodies cartoon Katnip Kollege, “As Easy As Rolling Off A Log.”

American Standard, the 19th album of Taylor’s illustrious career, was greeted with glowing reviews and major chart entries around the world. The collection sold over 82,000 equivalent album units in its first week, debuting at #4 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart and #1 on its Top Album Sales, Top Rock, and Top Americana/Folk charts. American Standard is Taylor’s 13th Top 10 album overall and with it, he became the first artist ever with Top 10 albums in each of the last six decades. Impressive international chart debuts included a #1 Canadian chart entry and #11 in the UK (where it was also the #1 sales album.)

The album’s wealth of enthusiastic praise includes the U.K.’s Independent who called it, “the American songbook elegantly traced,” and USA Today who affirmed, “American Standard covers the Great American Songbook faithfully and masterfully,” while Elmore raved, “American Standard is a work of genius, of giant beauty and spiritual generosity. Instantly recognizable as a GRAMMY contender.”

James Taylor: Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP TRACK LIST:

  1. “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” (Frederick Loewe- Alan Jay Lerner)
  2. “Never Never Land” (Jule Styne-Betty Comden-Adolph Green)
  3. “Over The Rainbow” (Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg)

Stream/purchase the Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP HERE

Stream/Purchase American Standard HERE.

Photo credit: Norman Seeff

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