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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Sweet Baby James

James Taylor

1970

Sweet Baby James
Album Summary

Sweet Baby James is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter James Taylor and his first release on Warner Bros. Records. Released in February 1970, the album includes one of Taylor's earliest successful singles: "Fire and Rain", which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself reached number three on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart. Sweet Baby James made Taylor one of the main forces of the ascendant singer-songwriter movement. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, in 1971. The album was listed at number 104 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2000 it was voted number 228 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.25

Votes

10946
Genres
Rock
Folk
Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Wed Mar 03 2021
2

Very unsettled by this, it’s what I’d expect a murderer to have playing in the background whilst I’m strapped to a chair and he begins to systematically remove my face skin with a scalpel. Then he peels off and wears my face and mouths along to all the lyrics. Especially the song “sunny skies”

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Thu May 06 2021
2

Craving authenticity, Taylor slathers these songs with as much honey as he can get his hands on. Seems to have worked, as he's treated like an angel by many. Occasionally he sounds like one -- even less frequently these songs have a kick -- but the rest of the time he comes off like exactly the kind of dork who'd approve this album title and cover. He was never going to offer the nutritional value of John Prine or Gram Parsons -- I guess fast food salesman is a decent second place.

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Tue Jun 21 2022
2

This album can give you diabetes with a single track

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

this sounds like a nice cosy evening with raining outside and just chilling inside

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Tue Mar 02 2021
4

Mom was just telling me yesterday that she wanted to see albums from the likes of James Taylor and Carole King. I told her to be patient, but I guess patience isn't necessary. Previously, I'd heard only "Fire and Rain" from James Taylor, and I love that song. He's a great singer-songwriter, akin to Jim Croce but probably a bit younger and more marketable. This is a solid album, with good lyrics and great guitar work. Also a nice degree of variety, so it doesn't feel like a one-note singer-songwriter project--good use of other instruments. The music feels very organic, and James sound right at home in the different genres he explores. I wouldn't say I love it, but it's very good and enjoyable. Favorite songs: Fire and Rain, Oh Baby Don't You Loose Your Lip On Me, Lo and Behold, Steamroller Blues (up until the point where the horns come in). Album art: This is a pretty classic picture. Fits the genre in that it looks like a senior photo. Wikipedia lore says James was basically homeless and couch surfing when he made this album. For that reason, I'll assume he's not wearing pants. Put some pants on, James. Otherwise, great job.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
1

Oh Sweet Baby James, you sinister, demented villain. Laying your sappy brand of sap upon the world with merciless vigor, coating the masses in a film of safe, gentle sweetness. The world is stagnant because of you, failing to venture into richer realms of funk and rock, treading circular to nowhere, listening easy and listening safe, the soft drips of the acoustic dragging them all to the ground day by day, with each adult mix blend station play. You and your gaggle of singer/songsucker demons not only won the mid seventies, but irre-“vocally” tainted the hearing skills of so many for ages to come. I will not succumb to it. In my mind sunny skies are not a persons name but an adjective and plural noun. I refuse to be bewitched by your light voice and simplistic stylings, I find refuge in drum beats, in guitars electric, in songs not stupid. You have dulled the souls of millions, Sweet Baby James, but you will not weaken mine, for I too have seen fire and rain, and I know the truth of them. Fire is hot and rain is wet. You, Sweet Baby James are mild and dry.

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Sun Feb 20 2022
4

Wow, former president James Taylor. 8/10

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Wed Oct 28 2020
5

I've owned this album since I was an early teen and don't remember ever listening to it all the way through. I was obsessed with "Sweet Baby James" and "Fire and Rain" as a young kid, think the latter is one of my earliest memories of songs I've heard on the radio. The record is an impressive blend of country, folk, and blues. Bummer I've waited this long to listen all the way through. Favorite tracks: "Fire and Rain", "Steamroller Blues", "Country Road"

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Sun Aug 15 2021
5

Super nostalgic for me. This is a fantastic album and Sweet Baby James is an all-time great song. James' voice is smooth and effortless. A real treat.

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Sat Dec 10 2022
1

Listening to this album made me feel like I was watching an episode of Sesame Street for some reason. This is super country. It’s not like the rock country or the blues country or even fiddle country. This is just straight living in the Appalachians with a hand crank well pump in your front yard and an outhouse. If you like that, listen to this album. It might be too heavy for you though.

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Wed Apr 19 2023
1

I hate this so much. It's sugary and gross. Safe mom rock for the masses. A mention of weed is out of place I'll admit but this is as bland and American wholesome as it gets. And it sucks.

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Sun Jan 14 2024
1

Having been a teenager in the early 90’s, this type of soft rock singer-songwriter schlock will never be anything but painfully uncool to me. The only way shit like this sold in the 90’s was by way of the Time-Life compilations that were advertised via infomercials aired on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. It was boring and lame then, doubly so now. Just have a look at these lyrics from “Steamroller”: “I'm a cement mixer A churning urn of burning funk I'm a cement mixer A churning urn of burning funk I'm a demolition derby A hefty hunk, steaming junk I'm a steamroller baby I'm 'bout to roll all over you I'm a steamroller baby I'm 'bout to roll all over you I'm gonna inject your soul With some sweet rock 'n' roll And shoot you full of rhythm and blues” It’s possibly the dumbest metaphor for coitus ever committed to tape. Also, imagine telling someone you were a “churning urn of burning funk” and that person not looking at you like they were about call for a restraining order. Finally, you can thank me later for the mental image of James Taylor shooting his “rhythm and blues”.

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Tue Sep 22 2020
5

Very nice. Exactly one of my styles. really liked the sweet songs

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Sun May 02 2021
5

More looks on here than I knew him for. The blues was particularly good

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Great album. Great acoustic songs, no misses though only a few memorable songs high 4.5

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Sun Feb 21 2021
5

Absolute perfection, could listen to this album over and over.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

i love this album every song is so good. while i am rating this 5 stars, i acknowledge that i have an extremely positive bias towards this album.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Fuck Facebook! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpDGJbC8RMo&ab_channel=MikeMcCarty I love James Taylor. Fire and Rain is an all-timer.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

My mom used to listen to a lot of James Taylor when I was a kid and I got very burned out on it, but I was surprised by how much I like it now... maybe I'm getting old. Fire and Rain is great, and Steamroller is fun because Mama Rims used to skip that song because it's too dirty. I still think you need to be in the right mood for James Taylor but I found it pleasantly digestible.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
4

C'est bien simple, James Taylor est en fait une version évoluée de Gene Clark. En effet, James nous porpose une country impeccable pendant 30 délicieuses minutes, qui parvient même à surclasser celle de son grand ami Eugene Clark. Seul petit bémol, une présence scénique inexistante, James passant l'intégralité de l'album prostré sur son tabouret, à plusieurs mètres du jury. Il faudra travailler l'aspect chorégraphie de sa performance, sans quoi la place en finale risque d'être compromise.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
3

Pour vous donner un peu de contexte, James Taylor venait d'apprendre juste avant l'enregistrement de cet album que ses deux sourcils n'allaient finalement jamais se rejoindre. Ni une ni deux, les textes de ce projet traiteront essentiellement de cette inquiétude passée. Les démons de Taylor ne s'éclipseront toutefois pas en un clin d'œil et son manque de confiance en lui continuera de transparaître dans Sweet Baby James. On entendra en effet dans plusieurs morceaux l'équipe technique lui murmurer des encouragements tels que « rapproche-toi, n'aie pas peur », « chante un peu plus fort on t'entend pas ici » ou encore « allez James c'est pas le moment de craquer »... Le projet d'enregistrer un album entier était peut-être trop ambitieux.

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Fri Nov 17 2023
2

I'll be honest: I sort of hate James Taylor. James Taylor is just John Denver with harder drugs. And those hard drugs aren't even better drugs. Just harder, more boring drugs. If you ever want the poster child for an Anti-Heroin campaign, this is your guy. I go out of my way to avoid listening to any of his songs, except for "Fire and Rain", which is the one all-time classic in his catalog. I've probably listened to it thousands of times, and it gets me every single time. The one time when Taylor truly caught lightning in a bottle. And that's about as far as I'll go with JT. I wish I could figure out what exactly it is about him that bothers me. He sporadically refers to himself as "Sweet Baby James". Taylor Swift is allegedly named for him. He took the absolute most yawn-inducing version of a Carole King song to number 1. He was Jay Leno's final "Tonight Show" guest because of course he was. Maybe it's that he married Carly Simon and they celebrated their love by releasing an annoying version of that "Mockingbird" song that was always on the radio even though no one ever wanted to hear it. It's probably because he never again found another "Fire and Rain", yet he gets all the Laudits that get him on lists like this one instead of Jackson Browne or Bob Seger.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
2

Someone’s gotta tell me why I needed to listen to this album. Dude’s got no variation. And the name of this album??

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Fri Feb 05 2021
1

This is offensively bland, I can feel my personality trickling out of my ears. Terrible, how did this even get on the list, is it a joke? Is it just here to make everything else sound better? This man never deserved the Taylor name. Appalling.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
5

Couple skippers on this one but all is forgiven. 4.5

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Sun Apr 11 2021
5

Always Great. JT is wonderful in every way.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Any artist who uses my name Twice in one album is a rock star in my book! It is amazing how someone so talented had challenges with drug abuse and depression. He has such amazing lyrics that make you stop and listen. He seems to be telling a story of his life and journey in every track. Great talent on loan from God. I just saw him and Carole King doing a live set to an intimate audience and his agent was there. James thanked him for all the years of commitment . I say thank you for all the amazing hits you’ve put out all theses years. His words have healed him and maybe many others

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Obviously Fire and Rain is outstanding, but I really enjoyed the rest of the album a lot. It’s a really interesting mix of big band and country and rock that I didn’t realize existed before.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Simple & brilliant. I love the hits (particularly SBJ, Steamroller, and F&R) but I think the other tracks complement them nicely. I really like this album.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Really, really enjoyed this album. So easy to listen to and I honestly can't believe it came out in 1970! Love the country/Americana/blues vibe. Favorite album so far.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
5

A tremendous album, I don't know how I've managed to miss it up to now.

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Mon May 31 2021
5

Absolutely amazing - the perfect album before bed

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Instant mood lifter. Great for the background of a relaxed evening or cooking

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Thu Jun 17 2021
5

Classic Singer/Songwriter. This album help set the bar for all singer/songwriters to come.

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Sat Jul 24 2021
5

Every year I get older I get more into James Taylor. A quintessential attribute of my suburban white dad final form I have to assume

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Fri Aug 06 2021
5

Surprisingly creative and fun folk/blues/rock album! The covers were great and the slower songs were gorgeous, too!

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Fri Aug 20 2021
5

This album was really good, easy to listen to. I enjoyed all of the songs! 5/5 stars.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
5

Almost tempted to lower this to 4/5 because it's a little cheesy and I've heard the best songs too many times, but it's just too good.

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

The classic Dad album. Timeless songwriting and great recording. James Taylor is one of the best lyricists of all time and this album resonates with men of many ages. My dad loved it in his time as do I.

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Sat Sep 18 2021
5

Ohhhh, this is an all time favorite of mine. 5 all day

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Tue Oct 05 2021
5

Fantastic album. There’s nothing like James Taylor. I could listen to this everyday and find joy in it. What a delight.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
5

He has such a great voice. I don't love every song on this album, but his guitar and voice is just so great makes it worthy of 5 stars.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
5

A true treasure of an album, an aural comfort blanket that lifts the soul and warms the heart. James Taylor could sing the phone book and it would still be worth a listen. "Country Road" has a special place in my heart, featuring as it does in one of my most favourite films. Not one wasted second in this album, and one that I will listen to again and again.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

So nice. Makes you want to go fishing all day on a row boat. Fire and rain is one of my favourite songs, but have never really listened to the others.

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

Beautiful album. Very Bluesy.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

Great album, one of the first \"Singer Songwriters\" this is a great album, love \"Sweet Baby Jane\" \"Steamroller Blues\" \"Oh Susannah\" and \"Fire and Rain\" James at his best before the alcohol and male pattern baldness kicked in! Look at that Mane like hair! Great Album Rightfully in the list in my honest opinion.

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Sat Feb 26 2022
5

Baby making music. Fav tracks: " Oh Susanna" " Fire and Rain"

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Country blues folk rock thing very much enjoyed!

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Sat Apr 23 2022
5

This is great. And I don't usually go for this kind of stuff. But every note, every artistic decision, the voicing and just every touch on the album is perfect. Loved it

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Sat May 28 2022
5

I've known of this album for a long time but never given it a proper listen. I loved it. Taylor's voice is just fantastic and coupled with that lovely acoustic guitar playing. Such great stuff.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

They don’t make them like the old ones anymore!

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

Great album, comforting vocals, standouts "Fire and Rain", "Sweet Baby James"

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Great music to ease your way into the day. Taylor's voice is so pure and rich and music is simple but beautiful. It goes to show you don't need autotune and digital effects when you have pure, raw singing and songwriting talent. Wish we had more music like this today.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
5

I first fell in love with James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” when I was 10 years old watching Remember the Titans with my parents. After that I listened to more and more of his music and was amazed at his clean vocals and acoustic guitar. He mixes singer-songwriter with blue grass and blues. Even “Oh, Susana” he makes interesting. This is a near perfect album for me.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
5

This was a fantastic album. What a great voice and great songwriting. I don't know how this album could have been better so I've got to give it the coveted 5 stars.

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Sat Nov 26 2022
5

super chillig und schön, mit eingestreuten groovy songs

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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

Great production, great songs. It feels weird to give it 5 stars because I don't particularly find it groundbreaking, but it feels like a flawless record.

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Mon Dec 12 2022
5

Fantastic album....could listen to JT all day. Love his voice and his style. This one contains some of my all time favs. 4.5/5

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Tue Dec 20 2022
5

First album I ever owned(so long ago)…always will be one of the best

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

Essential album, loved it from start to finish.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

james taylor is a bit of a musical blind spot for me, and i wish he wasn’t, because this is excellent. great vocals, great guitar, the bit with the horns was super cool. just a great album.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

Great guitar tone, great voice, reverent to the Americana tradition without feeling derivative. If you like James Taylor, it’s a winner.

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Tue Feb 21 2023
5

If you hate this you also hate joy and beauty

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Tue Feb 28 2023
5

My wife and I used to listen to side 2 of this record going to sleep for several years. We'd turn it on and fade away to the smooth timber of his voice and the lovely Travis-picking. It's a great songwriter's record. These are simple songs elevated with great guitar work and smooth effortless voice. There are few things as organic as that and James was probably one of the best. People forget that he was around the Beatles early on and influenced their songwriting, even directly inspiring "Something" by George Harrison. Also, he's one of the most underrated guitar players on the planet. Listening to Lo and Behold off of this record is an absolute master class in finger-picking and writing two completely separate guitar parts that can be played independently and still sound like the song enough to play and sing to, but when played together blend so perfectly that they almost sound like a single piece. Perfect. Story-time: In the summer of 2002 while I was in college, on a lark, my aunt bought me a ticket to see James Taylor live. She knew I liked music and was a bit of a hippy, so she thought that was appropriate. She's... not real hip. I went alone b/c no one else wanted to buy tickets and I was the only person under 60 at the show. Let me tell you, JT and his band were absolutely fantastic. So much so, I bought solo tickets to 6 other shows on the tour and followed him down the I-10 corridor from Jackson to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio over the next 10 days or so. It was during the summer and I just stayed with college friends along the way. So, the summer after freshmen year in college while my friends were all living it up on summer vacation or following Widespread Panic or gearing up for Phish's imminent reunion or whatever college freshmen do, I was following James Taylor. I was not very cool.

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Tue Feb 28 2023
5

Yes! This was great, I’ve only heard Fire and Rain before. Really nice acoustic songs and powerful harmonies.

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Fri Mar 03 2023
5

Wow. Man was I wrong about James Taylor. This album is so good. I love the variety of genres he dapples in. The beautiful fingerpicking guitar throughout on the slower songs. It was perfect.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
5

Before today, the only song I'd ever heard by James Taylor was "Carolina in My Mind", which isn't on this record, so I knew I was in for a folk album, but was unsure how I would like it. Well, I loved it! James Taylor is very similar in musical attributes to John Denver, with that smooth country folk/blues style. This music tells a story. You can sit back, relax, sip a coffee, and be taken on a trip by his lyrics. James has a way of painting the most vivid pictures through his songs (especially the songs Sweet Baby James, "Oh, Susannah (which I know is a cover, but he does a phenomenal job of it), and Country Roads to name a few). I absolutely love this type of music. It instantly removes all of the stress from my life, and for half an hr, all of life's hardships melt away. I will 100% listen again! I don't know why I slept on James' music for so long! This album is going to be put in regular rotation now!! Favourite songs: Fire and Rain, Anywhere Like Heaven, Sweet Baby James, Steamroller, Country Roads, Suite for 20 G, "Oh, Susannah", Lo and Behold Least favorite songs: if forced to pick, Sunny Skies 5/5

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Wed Apr 26 2023
5

This album hits home for me, it was on my parent's record player for a decade, then it was on my record player for years - shit my first born is partly named after James Taylor. ❤️

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Mon May 01 2023
5

This is the finger picking guitar style I’ve always admired and wished I could emulate. JT’s delivery is smoothly soothing. I must have thought, “oh, this is my favorite track,” at least 5 or 6 times. Sweet Baby Jane, Sunny Skies, Country Road, and Fire And Rain stand out the most although most of the other songs are a mere tick below these. Oh, Susannah and Anywhere Like Heaven are my least favorite tracks, and I still enjoy them thoroughly. This album is as consistently good as most any album I can remember from the first 528 albums so far. There’s no dud, no song I’d rather not be on the album, which is rare I’ve come to learn. The only folk rock album I’d take over this one is Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’.

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Thu Aug 17 2023
5

I'm a medium James Taylor fan - I have his JT album on LP (5 stars) and very vaguely know this one. A very easy listen, light instrumentation and simple melodies. I'm obsessed by songs not lasting too long, and the album is nice and snappy. I also enjoy when an album really encapsulates an era or genre, which this does. Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, and Blossom are my favourites, but I could (and have) re-listened to the album a couple of times. Country Road also stands out. 4.5 for me.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

Richtig gute Stimme, tolle Gitarre, hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

See what a few years and actual talent can create? What a step-up versus the incredibly boring era of '60s folk and psychedelic rock. Sure, maybe this is a bit too sweet and saccharine. What about it, though? Sometimes it's nice to listen to calm, soft rock. Gotta say, that last song was a bit of a cliffhanger. Suite for 20 G goes heavier and is just as much of a fit for JT. That track is an obvious standout, alongside Lo and Behold, Country Road, and Fire and Rain.

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

I grew up with this in our family compact cassette collection so I know I have heard this many times, but only Sweet Baby James and Fire and Rain stirred any memories. I think it was a little too mellow to stand out to me then. Fortunately, I am able to appreciate this in its entirety today.

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

Well this is just lovely. My knees are buckling.

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

Again it has happened to me, I was SURE we'd heard James Taylor already, being over two years through this project. But this is the first one! And it's so good! Having not really listened to Taylor by the album before, this is pretty much what I would have hoped for. "Fire and Rain" is such a wonderful 70's folky juggernaut, and hearing "Oh, Susannah" lead into it is glorious. I love the blues touches, and although it does contain topical themes of the time, it still feels comfy and warm and reassuring. Thank you.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

Smooth and easy. Beautiful lyrics. 10/10 Dad music

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Tue Oct 31 2023
5

A few fantastic songs, a few good ones, and definitely some filler. Fire & Rain, Country Road, and Sweet Baby James are just beautiful songs. I like Steamroller’s inclusion here as a gritty blues song that cuts against melancholy of F&R and SBJ.

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Tue Oct 31 2023
5

I could listen to James Taylor all day forever.

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Thu Nov 02 2023
5

Play this to experience Fire and Rain!

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