When Peter Asher first heard Kate Taylor sing, he was instantly impressed. “I loved the texture of her voice and her phrasing, so I said, let’s make a record.”
Not one for idle chatter, Mr. Asher then produced her first record, Sister Kate. The year was 1971.
“She was even more of a soul singer devotee than James [Taylor] was,” Mr. Asher remembered. “He took after Sam Cooke and Ray Charles, but Kate was rocking out and blues-ing out much more overtly. I loved that she was a white soul singer.”
“I was only two at the time,” Kate Taylor joked. “He produced that first record of mine, I have always felt a great deal of gratitude to Peter for having faith and being in such support of me.”
Mr. Asher had also signed James Taylor to the Apple Records label, and produced his early albums.
On August 7, Peter and Kate will reunite for a concert at the Old Whaling Church to benefit the YMCA. The idea was born when the two musicians met up again at Michael Feinstein’s nightclub at the Regency Hotel in New York city, where Mr. Asher was giving a concert. Ms. Taylor asked Mr. Asher to perform with her on the Island this summer, and he agreed.
“I thought the audience on the Vineyard would appreciate this story and his music,” she said. “He has some great stories to tell, he’s very funny, and the music is excellent.”
Mr. Asher had been on tour with his Musical Memoir concert, a performance chronicling his career as a music manager, producer and performer. The tour is an autobiography that combines song, multimedia and storytelling. His story begins in 1950s England, and continues to highlight the times he spent on tour with Gordon Waller in the pop music duo Peter and Gordon, working with the Beatles on individual projects and as James Taylor’s manager and producer. During the sixties, he also founded the book shop and art gallery Indica where Yoko Ono and John Lennon first met. This is Mr. Asher’s first solo tour, after having toured with Mr. Waller in a reunion tour starting in 2005. Mr. Waller died in 2009.
Mr. Asher decided to forgo the route of writing a memoir, and instead reminisce with a live performance.
Instead of writing a memoir, Mr. Asher decided to reminisce with a live concert.
“I have had a million offers to do the book,” he said. “But in terms of the Beatles part, everyone even mildly connected to the Beatles have all written books, including sisters, mistresses and the guy who delivered the pizzas.”
At the concert next week, Mr. Asher will perform a modified version of his memoir concert. Kate Taylor will enter the stage at the appropriate chronological moment in the story.
“It will be all that much better with Kate,” he said. “When she shows up in the story, she will show up in real life on the stage... she’s always been one of my favorite singers, and we have known each other for a ridiculously long time.”
Ms. Taylor will perform a few songs from the Sister Kate album, as well as some newer numbers. Then Mr. Asher will join her on the stage.
“I’m thrilled... just to be able to work with him after all this time, to collaborate on something and do the show together,” she said.
Mr. Asher is also looking forward to reuniting with the Island and the Taylor family. He spent a lot of time here while he was representing James Taylor. Inevitably, when he’s catching up with fans after his concerts, he finds out more about his life than he knew before, he said. And this concert will be no different.
“If I get anything wrong, someone in the audience will say, ‘no, the year you first came to the Vineyard was 1971, no it was July . . .’ we may learn more history while we are there.”
He’s also certain someone will have something to say about the time [Mr. Taylor] drove a motorcycle into a tree, and Mr. Asher had to cancel his tour.
“I wasn’t there, I just got the phone call, but I’m sure that’s the stuff of Vineyard legend.”
Peter Asher and Kate Taylor: A musical memoir of the 60s and beyond, takes place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on August 7 at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. Tickets are available at ticketsmv.com/ymca.