Graham Reid | | 1 min read
After his brief signing to the Beatles label Apple and his self-titled debut in '69 (which included a song entitled Soemthing in the Way She Moves which Harrison also used), Taylor moved over to Warners as Apple broke up and delivered this album which really launched his career -- and gave impetus to the whole sensitive singer-songwriter movement out of LA in the Seventies.
Part folk, part gentle rock and with a modicum of personal revelation in his lyrics, Taylor was the counter-point to the heavy rock of the era and this album was the banner waver.
Later Taylor would say the album was made quickly when music was still his hobby and other than Fire And Rain, "much of the record is very whimsical, very unself-important, and not to be taken very seriously. Which is probably why it still comes off so fresh".
For Taylor, the album was also the end of something -- he'd had a heroin habit and suffered from depression, broken both of his hands but was bouyed by the reception at the Troubadour in LA -- and from there on out he would become "professional, which meant a loss of innocence and a shift of motivation".
Sweet Baby James stands as fresh, knowing but not jaded, album with which Taylor unwittingly launched a career that within a year saw him on the cover of Time magazine as the poster-boy for singer-songwriters. There was no going back.