Day 288: James Taylor – Sweet Baby James

13 Dec

Fire and Rain

In a week filled with much Wilco, I understand why I’ve been assigned a James Taylor record for Dad Rock Tuesday (Wednesday).  Also, I should apologize for the delay in getting this post up.  Sometimes life hits you hard, colleges slap you in the face, and all you want to do is mope around (and go to a Wilco concert) for a few hours.  I’m done moping, though, partially due to that Wilco show.  The setlist may help you understand why.

Anyway, I was in the process of comparing some Wilco stuff to this James Taylor record.  Lets continue in that direction.

Over Wilco’s seventeen years in existence, they’ve gone through quite a few different sounds.  From pure alt-country to straight indie rock, and now even featuring a little artsy-fartsy avant garde-y goofiness, a whole slew of bands can be compared to those guys in different eras.  However, it is my belief that every DRT pick has a reason behind it, so perhaps with a little bias on my part, I hear straight-up early WIlco out of James Taylor.  Which means that it’s quite possible that Wilco is emulating James Taylor in their music.

However, there’s no doubt that this is a country record.  I mean, the dude covers “Oh Susannah,” and it’s really freaking good. Steel guitars and depressing lyrics abound, as this is the type of album that makes me like country music.  If only the stuff on the radio sounded like this. And didn’t bring up Jesus in every other line.


3 Responses to “Day 288: James Taylor – Sweet Baby James”

  1. "Sweet Baby" Dave Chops December 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Your Earness: This is semantics but to me this is a lot more in the confessional singer-songwriter mode and not much in the country vein – though I think I know what you are getting at. Still, I hear the roots more in folk than in country. If you are digging this, can your membership in the Gordon Lightfoot fan club be far off ? James and Joanie Mitchell and Carly Simon and Crosby Stills and Nash and Elton John and Janis Ian and Roberta Flack and Jim Croce and Paul Simon (I could go on…) were all over the radio all the time with a similar, confessional, post-folk style. At the time, it bugged me. Now I am old and soft and it sounds a lot better than a bunch of the stuff on the radio now…

  2. Yuanny Dollar December 15, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    The eternal question — where do you put Kris Kristofferson? How about Lyle Lovett — he came in high on the country charts before he scared them away with the hair and the intellect and the movies and by singing Stand By Your Man on their awards show. There’s a gray area here and a lot of singers sit in the middle of it — more so than JT. I still just throw him into singer/songwriter folk rock and leave it at that. I think Mr. Ear is engaging in some wishful thinking about what country could/should be or what it was. As for Wilco — I’ve never figured them out, but, for the most part, I like it.

    • D-A-V-E C-H-O-P-S December 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Here is a young fella from the Rush heartland in small-town Ontario who leaves no doubt whether or not he is country: . He was on Q last week and was pretty good. Like Feist, he is a “reformed” punk-rocker.

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