One Man Dog
One Man Dog is a single LP jamming eighteen short tracks into thirty eight minutes. The obvious reference point is the second side of Abbey Road – One Man Dog is essentially a countrified version of that. There are guest stars galore – Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Linda Ronstadt all provide backing vocals, while most incongruously, Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin plays acoustic guitar on ‘Someone’. The final result is unsatisfying as pieces flash by without quite sticking, but it’s a valiant attempt at expanding his sound from Taylor.
One Man Dog has plenty of beautiful songs – the traditional ‘One Morning In May’ is gorgeous, with Ronstadt and Taylor harmonising, while the single was ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight’, slight but pretty. If you’re an awkward white boy like me, you’ll dig the album’s opening lines; “Do believe I’m gonna clap my hands/Think I might tap my feet.” The suite near the end of the second side with ‘Hymn’ and ‘Fanfare’ is also gorgeous.
One Man Dog is an album that probably appeals dedicated James Taylor fans – there are plenty of pretty songs, it’s just a little bewildering with its fast paced song skeletons and instrumentals.