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MUSIC REVIEW

Taylor is the picture of professionalism

Reprinted from late editions of yesterday's Globe.

James Taylor half-jokingly apologized during his first set Thursday night at the Wang Theatre. ``This is like a nightmare," he told the sold-out house . ``You go for an evening out and someone shows you their photo album."

The line, like many Taylor would deliver throughout the two-hour performance, drew a big laugh but it's unlikely anyone minded this particular slide show.

Throughout what he's dubbed his ``One Man Band" concert, Taylor enhanced the songs with home movies, still photos, and historical footage that deftly illustrated a part of each musical tale he told.

A towheaded child, the inspiration for ``Sweet Baby James," appeared before Taylor's famous ``cowboy lullaby." Still photos of his parents followed the acoustic undulations of ``The Frozen Man," which Taylor said he came to realize was about his father. Video of the famous mass Moonie wedding and President Nixon's resignation accompanied ``Line 'Em Up." The Tanglewood Festival Chorus also made a pair of recorded appearances, on ``Shower the People" and ``My Traveling Star."

Each song, hit or obscurity, had a hand-tinkered individuality, be it the sophisticated guitar work of ``Country Road," Taylor's lived-in but never weary tenor, or the turns of phrase that pivoted from melancholy to acerbic to comic.

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