James Taylor has today (Friday) shared a surprise new three-track release, Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP. It’s a companion piece to his acclaimed and highly successful American Standard album, which came out in February, and includes three previously unreleased tracks from those sessions.
The lead among these is the great singer-songwriter’s version of “Over The Rainbow,” the beloved song from The Wizard of Oz written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. It’s accompanied by 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.
From next Friday (27), an extended CD version of the American Standard album featuring these three additional tracks will be available from Amazon.
“I’m so glad these three songs are getting a general release,” says Taylor. “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.”
He goes on: “‘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.
Beaten to it by his brother
“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…”
American Standard was Taylor’s 19th studio album in a recording career of more than 50 years. It sold over 82,000 equivalent album units in its first week in the US for a No.4 debut on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on Top Album Sales, Top Rock, and Top Americana/Folk charts. It was his 13th US Top 10 album overall and he thus became the first artist to score Top 10 albums in each of the last six decades. The album entered the Canadian chart at No.1 and opened at No.11 in the UK, where it was also the top-selling sales album of the week.
Over The Rainbow – The American Standard EP can be bought here.