Podworthy: JAMES TAYLOR

I’ve always liked the music and the voice of James Taylor, though I’m not sure when I first became a fan. His initial album, above, was an Apple Records release in 1968, but all I remember from that is the single “Carolina On My Mind,” which I liked. Not sure I knew who James was yet then, though. I got the album quite a few years later.

His second album, Sweet Baby James, came out in 1970, and while I don’t think I bought it, I know I heard it all. I was living in Kansas City then, going to art school there, so someone I roomed with probably had it. I loved the single, “FIre and Rain,” liked all of it, really. I’m guessing that’s when I became a Taylor fan, and started following his work more. But as I poor student, probably not buying his albums yet.

By 1977, when the album JT came out I bought it right away, and it’s still my favorite, with the song “Secret O’ Life” my all time favorite Taylor song. Also in 1977 I started working at DC Comics, a division of Warner Brothers, James’ label then, and as a Warner employee, I soon learned, I could order any Warner album (as well as sub-labels like Reprise, Elektra and Asylum) for one dollar! Needless to say I bought all James’ albums to date then, as well as lots of others.

Ellen and I saw James live twice, I think first in 1988 on tour to support this album, which as lots of great songs, and again a few years later, at the Garden State Arts Center and Atlantic City, respectively. Great shows, both. Unlike some performers, James only seems to get better with age.

October Road, released in 2002, was the last with mostly Taylor-penned songs, and it has some fine ones. More recently there was an album of covers in 2008, which I haven’t yet heard…

…and a Christmas release in 2006 that I absolutely love, it quickly became my favorite Christmas album.

New last year is a live concert album with old friend Carole King, haven’t heard that one yet, either. I’ll get to it one day soon, I imagine. Meanwhile, I’ve put nearly everything from the 16 Taylor albums I have on the iPod, 190 songs. James’ voice always makes me feel fine.

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