by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of “Sweet Baby James,” everyone’s favorite sensitive and very classy singer–songwriter!
James Taylor (March 12, 1948) hit the big time when I was a teen, and NO ONE dared say one bad thing about him. He epitomized the sensitive folkie, and wrote some extraordinary songs that put everyone in some kind of mellow and romantic groove. Since then he’s won 5 Grammys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is universally loved to this day.
He was the first non-British act signed to Apple Records, and never looked back! He’s got a fantastic songbook, and also made smash hits out of covers. He’s collaborated with some of the greatest talents in music, and has a great sense of humor as well as modesty, a rare combination in an artist of his stature.
For your enjoyment, Mister James Taylor!
From what looks to be his 1970 BBC live show, “James Taylor in Concert,” James doing his first big hit “Fire And Rain” (Forgive the obnoxious ad)
Also from the BBC in 1970, James Taylor live doing “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Carolina on My Mind”
From 1970, here’s Carole King and James Taylor in a live performance of “So Far Away”
From 1971 at the BBC, James Taylor, Carole King, and Jo Mama in a complete concert! Here’s the show in order of the set list.
1. "You Can Close Your Eyes" (solo)
2. "Long Ago and Far Away" (solo)
3. "Machine Gun Kelly" (w/Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar)
4. “Rainy Day Man” (w/ Leeland Sklar and Russ Kunkel)
5. "One Man Parade" (w/ Lee and Russ)
6. "You've Got A Friend" (w/Carole, Lee & Russ)
7. "Soldiers" (w/Carole, Lee & Russ)
8. "Country Road (w/Carole, Lee & Russ)
9. "Love Has Brought Me Around" (w/Carole, Lee,Russ & Kootch)
10. "Steamroller" (w/Carole, Lee, Russ,Kootch & Ralph Schuckett)
11. "Come On Brother Get On Up Help Me Find My Groove" (w/Carole, Lee,Russ & Jo Mama)
12. "Promised Land" (w/Carole, Lee,Russ & Jo Mama)
From 1979, “James Taylor in Concert” live doing his hit “Handy Man”
From 1979, James Taylor live and electric performing “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”
From the Dick Cavett Show in 1977, James Taylor and Carly Simon in a stunning duet of a tune the Everly Brothers originally made into a hit, “Devoted To You”
Also from 1977, James and Carly performing “Close Your Eyes”
Here’s James and Carly doing “Mockingbird”
From 1979, James live performing “Steamroller”
Live in Baltimore in 2008, James performing “You’ve Got A Friend”
James live performing Paul Simon’s beautiful “Still Crazy After All These Years”
Here’s James and Yoyo Ma doing an amazing duet of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun”
From a 2010 interview with the BBC, here’s 30 minutes of James Taylor speaking about his friendship and admiration for John Lennon, the Beatles, and performs “In My Life”
From his recent White House gig, the great “Riding On A Railroad”
We’ll close this birthday tribute with James and Carole live at the Troubadour in 2007. Here’s the complete show in order of the set list!! These are great videos!
Thanks for all the great tunes, the great interpretations of great tunes, and your great talent, humor, and heart throughout the years. You’re one of the best of all!
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson