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James Taylor with Leland Sklar: Your Smiling Face, Live 1988

I was going through my records this weekend and realized just how many of them feature the tasteful bass lines of Leland Sklar. Of course, that sent me into a Sklar phase on YouTube, which led me to this great version of James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face” from 1988.

His playing on this track is the perfect mix of anchoring the song while adding melodic flourishes at just the right moments. This bass line has and will continue to inspire scores of bassists. (For more on Sklar’s take on the song, check out our Stories Behind the Songs interview.)