Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sweet Baby James turns 60

Whenever I hear the song "Fire and Rain" I'm transported back to 1970, specifically to my room in suburban San Jose, CA. That's where I listened to that song, and the album it came from, every day after school. Multiple times a day. I was one of those awkward, shy, ugly (glasses, braces, stringy hair, fat - I had it all, baby!) smart kids who spend a lot of time in their rooms. James Taylor's music brought comfort and soul to my life. I bought every album, even the ones from before he became a star. Then I bought them again on cd. I saw him in concert a few times. My husband really endeared himself to me when he took me to one while we were dating, even though he never really was a fan.

When my kids were babies we sang "Sweet Baby James" to them, with a minor change:

...And as the moon rises he sits by his fire,
thinkin' 'bout his sister and drinking root beer..."

Not that we have anything against bottles of beer, but it just seemed simpler at the time. They were thrilled the first time they heard the real song.

I don't seem to listen to JT much these days. Most of the cds are still packed away, and there's not a lot of time, even for background music. But on the rare occasion I'm listening to the radio and one of his songs comes on, I can sing along perfectly. I know every nuance, every bit of background vocal.

So today while I was out on a quick library and grocery store stop - alone - I was pushing radio buttons till I heard an announcer wish JT a happy 60th birthday. Then "Fire and Rain" - what else? - started up. And there I was, 14 years old again, singing along just like I did every day, all those years ago.


Sheryl said...
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Sheryl said...

Wow. We could have almost been twins, Margaret. Except I didn't wear braces and for me, it was Simon and Garfunkel.

I would hole up in my room with my books and with their "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" album on my stereo. I just realized a few years ago how depressing a lot of their lyrics are. I guess it fed all of that teen angst.

I still like to put one of their CD's in, crank up the volume and sing my heart out.


Ariella said...

People should read this.