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 James Taylor

American singer-songwriter

Sweet Baby James (1970)

 

JAMES TAYLOR

Sweet Baby James - 6

Sweet Baby James/Lo and Behold/Sunny Skies/Steamroller/Country Road/Oh Susannah/Fire and Rain/Blossom/Anywhere Like Heaven/Oh Baby Don't Loose Your Lip On Me/Suite for 20G

James Taylor has always been something of an enigma to me - capable of beautiful songs, but also capable of too much filler material on his albums. The fact that he was one mixed up guys, suffering from depression and drug abuse merely added to the feel of his earlier albums. So Sweet Baby James opens with an almost sing along country song before Blues hollers come along in the shape of Country Road. It all leads to the fact that the myth around Taylor is probably somewhat stronger than the material. This album contains one of his great songs, however, in Fire and Rain - a wonderful song with the unforgettable lines "I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain, I've seen Sunny Days that I Thought Would Never End, I've Seen Lonely Times When I Could Not Find a Friend, But I always thought that I'd see You Again." Taylor was at his best with these kind of angst ridden bedsitter songs. Sadly there were often too few of them which meant for many years he was unable to sustain a memorable career. Sweet Baby James is the kind of album I dip into and pick tracks from rather than listening to it as a whole. The album is probably summed up by the final track Suite for 20G where Taylor fused together three songs into one under the promise that once the album was delivered he would earn himself $20,000. Perhaps the whole album has something of a "must finish" feel to it.