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Sony Music presents
James Taylor: Pull Over (2002)

"In my mind, I'm going to Carolina..."
- lyric from Carolina In My Mind

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: December 04, 2002

Stars: James Taylor
Other Stars: Jimmy Johnson, Bob Mann, Cliff Carter, Russ Kunkel, Luis Conte, Walt Fowler, Lou Marini
Director: Milton Lage

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:49m:50s
Release Date: November 19, 2002
UPC: 074645440095
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+B+A- B-

DVD Review

I've never been what you would consider a huge fan of singer/songwriter James Taylor, but over the years it has been hard (if not impossible) to avoid the unmistakable presence of some of his more well-known songs, like Fire & Rain and Your Smiling Face. The one thing that has always struck me about Taylor is his distinct, soft-as-butter vocal style, which has seemingly remained unchanged over time. Sure, he's not exactly a hard-edged rocker, but it says something about his natural talent when he can retain such a purely mellifluous voice during his long, long career.

This concert disc, recorded in the summer of 2001, presents Taylor in a solid performance that runs nearly two hours, in which time he blends in a few songs from his recent October Road CD along with large helping of his familiar staples. Backed by a hefty 10-piece band (anchored by the rhythm section of session masters Russ Kunkel, Luis Conte and Jimmy Johnson), Taylor's talented touring musicians give his songs a broad, expansive sound without subsequently turning them into overblown productions.

Taylor's 25 song set balances a sampling of his newer material (like the touching and bittersweet On the 4th of July) with most of his biggest-selling hits, including a wonderful solo showcapper of Sweet Baby James. As you might expect, the overall tone of the concert is fairly laid back, though there is a slightly unexpected and rather lengthy percussion solo by Luis Conte. There isn't a lot of flashy concert camera angles, and director Milton Lage focuses mostly on Taylor and the band, with a minimum of audience reaction shots.

Set List:
That's Why I'm Here
Only One
Frozen Man
On the 4th of July
Whenever You're Ready
Raised Up Family
Luis Conte Percussion Solo
Steamroller Blues
Carolina in My Mind
Sun on the Moon
Junkie's Lament
Shed a Little Light
Fire & Rain
You've Got a Friend
Your Smiling Face
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Traffic Jam
Knock On Wood
You Can Close Your Eyes
Sweet Baby James

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Presented in what appears to be 1.85:1 widescreen, James Taylor: Pull Over looks pretty darn good. The usual concert disc problem of blooming stage lighting isn't evident, and colors are bright and vivid. The crispness of the dominant soft blue lighting is rendered wonderfully, and even the darkest corners of the wide stage are clearly visible. I noticed no edge enhancement or compression problems, and there basically just isn't much to complain about on this one.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The standout option here is a warm and encompassing 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track that is mixed exceptionally well, making ample use of the rears to fill out audience sounds. Instrument separation across the front channels is excellent, adding to the "recorded live" ambience. A clean PCM stereo track is also included, though it is severely lacking the fullness found in the preferred 5.1 option.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The Making of October Road (09m:34s), presented with PCM audio, is a brief and simple conversation with Taylor, intercut with footage of him in the recording studio. Focused primarily on his latest CD, he talks about the regional influences for the various tracks, and his songwriting techniques. Veteran producer Russ Titelman tosses in few well-placed platitudes, but largely this is fairly low-key series of comments from Taylor, and the easy-going nature he exudes on stage seems not to be an act.

The disc also features 27 chapter stops, as well as a Taylor biography and discography.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Here's a guy who has had over 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums in his career, and this concert disc stands as an easy-listening and smoothly packaged snapshot. There's no guitar smashing, flashpots or scantily-clad dancers, but what's there still sounds pretty good after all these years.


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