Written By Braddon S. Williams
James Taylor: Sweet Baby James
I’m not here to claim James Taylor as an influence, but he certainly has filled my ear holes with interesting sounds.
He has lived a life filled with extreme highs and lows, so in that sense I guess he has inspired me as someone who doesn’t quit. I like that.
I like his Sweet Baby James album, too. Released in 1970, Sweet Baby James was recorded when Taylor was essentially homeless. Things got better from there, but when they got better, he became a junkie. Then he got clean. Along the way he racked up awards, huge sales, adoring fans, and a supremely impressive portfolio of songs.
I think a lot of what contributes to James Taylor’s success (aside from his obvious talent) is his inherent likability. Music fans want to be moved by people with kindness and wisdom. I think that is a lot of what draws me to the man’s music. I can’t really think of him as an underdog, but he has worked steadily at his craft and he has faced his demons, and these things are important to me.
Sweet Baby James has Fire And Rain, Steamroller Blues, Country Road, and that fabulous title song…and it has James Taylor picking magic on his acoustic guitar and singing in that voice that makes everything seem like it’s going to be okay.