James Taylor – Sweet baby James (1970)

And so it began…

Sometime you just need to take a chance. I saw the James Taylor vinyl box “The Warner Bros. Albums 1970-1976” at a great price and I needed to own it. Hey, I haven’t even listened to mr Taylor much. He is a friend and colleague to David Crosby and Graham Nash, so how could it not be good?

Listening to this record is a delight. Backed up by fantastic musicians including guitarist Danny Kortchmar and drummer Russ Kunkel that both have been working with CSN the music is great. I get the same vibe of this album as from CSN albums actually. Sure the voice is different, but it seems like to come from the same origin, the same musical DNA. This is mellow Americana from Los Angeles, late sixties to the early seventies. In my mind it is music for warm summer evenings, maybe out on the water on an old wooden ship.

Yes, this is actually an album that embodies that feeling, prefect to put on in the late afternoon, a drink in your hand, the golden sunlights in the windows. Or out on the porch in the rocking chair. It is soothing and relaxing. Sometimes that is exactly what you need from a record.

The vinyl is heavy and the pressing seems to be immaculate. The music is presented as it was performed in the room. Oh, how I love these new thick vinyl records, they are heavy. Old ones with pops and hiss are not as enjoyable however nostalgic they may be. The sound quality is excellent and the mixing of the album is fantastic. One can clearly hear each instrument played. I love this kind of mix much more than muddier variants, however punk or rock’n’roll it may be.

I like both the softer (“Country road”, “Oh Susannah”) and the up-tempo (“Lo and behold”, “Steamroller”) songs, but the latter may be more easily digested for a newbie. Anyway this is a really nice and warm album and a very good start. I can easily see me grow to love the album even more in time.

My rating: 6/10

Side A:

  1. Sweet baby James
  2. Lo and behold
  3. Sunny skies
  4. Steamroller
  5. Country road
  6. Oh Susannah

Side B:

  1. Fire and rain
  2. Blossom
  3. Anywhere like heaven
  4. Oh baby, don’t you loose
  5. Your lip on me
  6. Suite for 20G

Best song: “Fire and rain”

Released in February, 1970

Media: from the “The Warner Bros. Albums 1970-1976” box-set, 180 gram vinyls

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