Sweet Baby James
Performer: James Taylor (Soft Rock)
Artist: Carole King
Engineer: Bill Lazerus...
Producer: Peter Asher...
Notes: Personnel: James Taylor (vocals, guitar); Danny Kootch (guitar); Red Rhodes (steel guitar); Chris Darrow (fiddle); Carole King (piano); Russ Kunkel (drums). Recording information: Sunset sound (12/1969). Photographer: Henry Diltz. Though James Taylor's self-titled debut introduced his mellow melodicism and affecting songcraft, SWEET BABY JAMES was the album that rocketed him to national recognition. With SWEET BABY JAMES, Taylor abandoned the slightly psychedelic structural ambition of his first record (the first side was composed as a suite), and settled fully into the folk and country styles to which he is best suited. The top ten hit "Fire and Rain," for instance, a deeply personal story-song based on the artist's experiences in mental hospitals and the suicide of a friend, is built around Taylor's gentle, understated voice, acoustic guitar, cello, piano, and drums. The plaintive, melancholic air of "Fire and Rain" resonated with millions of listeners, as did the rest of the album. Taylor's lyrics, which address personal identity, religion, and relationships lost and struggling, are highly confessional, yet associative and lyrical enough to reflect the lives of listeners. At times, he marries the plight of the sensitive soul to the myth of the cowboy in songs like the title track, a kind of campfire lullaby, or to country traditions, as in "Country Road." In all, these elements combine to make SWEET BABY JAMES, arguably, Taylor's definitive statement, and one of the most influential albums in the singer-songwriter genre.
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.120) - Ranked #103 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "[A] model of folk-pop healing music."
James Taylor was the archetype for the gentle, inward-looking singer/songwriter movement of the early '70s. The easy lilt and timbre of Taylor's voice belies the complex emotional content of his songs, which aren't merely carefree folk-based odes, but instead look unflinchingly at a flawed man's journey through life. It's a tribute to his knack for making great pop records that he managed a long, decade-plus string of big hits. Taylor remained relevant long after his impressive run of top 40 hits, recording numerous million-selling records in the '90s & '00s and winning multiple Grammys.
Also Appears On:
America Armatrading, Joan Aztec Two-Step Badfinger Blumenfeld, Hugh Blunt, James Boylan, Terence Bread Brickell, Edie Browne, Jackson Buckley, Tim Chapin, Harry Collins, Judy Colvin, Shawn Cotton, Gene Craig Nuttycombe Croce, Jim Crosby, David Crosby, Stills & Nash Cross, Christopher Diamond, Neil Drake, Nick Eagles England Dan Fogelberg, Dan Folds, Ben Forbert, Steve Garfunkel, Art Gilbert, Vance Harrison, George Jewel John, Elton Jones, Rickie Lee King, Carole Kozelek, Mark LaMontagne, Ray Lightfoot, Gordon Lind, Bob Loggins, Dave Loggins, Kenny Lovett, Lyle Mayer, John (Adult Alternative) McCartney, Paul McDonald, Michael (Vocals/Keys) Mitchell, Joni Moore, Tim Morrissey, Bill (Folk) Mraz, Jason Nash, Graham Newman, Randy Nyro, Laura Once Blue Paul, Ellis Pratt, Andy Prine, John Rafferty, Gerry Raitt, Bonnie Seals & Crofts Simon, Carly Simon, Paul Steely Dan Stevens, Cat Stewart, Al Sting Taylor, Ben (Singer/Songwriter) Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Sally Van Morrison Vega, Suzanne Wilcox, David Williams, Dar Winchester, Jesse Young, Neil Zevon, Warren
Andersen, Eric Beatles (The) Buckley, Tim Byrds (The) Crosby, Stills & Nash Dylan, Bob Hardin, Tim Hollies (The) Holly, Buddy King, Carole Kinks (The) Paxton, Tom Peter, Paul and Mary Robinson, Smokey Simon & Garfunkel
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