The first time I ever heard of James Taylor, it was the mid 90s, I was a teenager, and he appeared on the episode of The Simpsons where Homer becomes an astronaut. I was so unfamiliar with him, I didn’t even know it was a celebrity cameo until years later when the song he sang in that episode popped up somewhere else. In the years since, Taylor in general, and that song in particular, have popped up constantly. It’s been a couple of decades now since I’ve know who he is and that he’s a bit of a folk legend, but I’ve still never voluntarily listened to a second of his music. Until now, with Sweet Baby James.
Gentle and flowing and soothing and easy on the ear, the opening, title track is exactly what I expected from James Taylor and Sweet Baby James based on the very limited amount of second hand information and exposure I’ve had to him. That might sound dismissive, and it’s kind of meant to. I in no way dislike the song, but it doesn’t really excite me either. (more…)