Monday, December 12, 2011

James Taylor Eternal

I happened to hear "Blossom," a very early James Taylor song, on my "Song for a Winter's Night" channel on Pandora the other day. Ah, the Sweet Baby James album--what a breakthrough for young singer/songwriter James Taylor. It was 1970.

James Taylor, like so many creative types, has had his ups and downs with drugs and lifestyle issues, but somehow he comes out sounding wonderful. Another highlight in his long career is his comeback album, Hourglass, in 1997, on which his beautiful, straightforward singing sounds undiminished--even enhanced--after 27 years.

Taylor has recently released two albums of covers and he still sounds great. I regret that his record company (or perhaps he) feels required to Photoshop the heck out of his images, though. It's fine to wear a hat when you're bald (and Taylor lost his hair pretty early), but a guy his age (63) has a wrinkle or two.

Interesting to contrast James Taylor's voice, which has retained its quality through his tortured artist life, to Gordon Lightfoot's. Lightfoot sounded great in 1970, too, with "If You Could Read My Mind," but in 1998, about the same time as Taylor's Hourglass, his delivery had changed tremendously--as on A Painter Passing Through. Still a great performer, though, and he is 10 years older than JT.

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