Another easy pick, JT is an easy pick in my top 100 albums of all time to listen from beginning to end and a record that once again has NEVER failed me and lasted through the decades. When I originally bought it all I felt was love and that sort of happy go lucky feeling his songs inject in you, later I discovered that this record came at a time when James Taylor was trying to quit his Heroin addiction and his family life was beginning to show strains as with marital problems with his soon do be divorced wife (Carly Simon). That said, the less we know, the better we are as JT is a record for all times and seasons and one assured to bring peace and happiness to your musical life.
Each side is anchored by huge hits on track 1. Side A with “Your Smiling Face” and Side B with “Handy Man”,but following them is song after soothing song of classic James Taylor including the Country Blues “Bartender’s Blues” in which Linda Ronstad sings harmony vocals and Dan Dugmore the pedal steel guitar, the results catapulting the listener into an Oklahoma middle of nowhere Country Bar circa 1:30 AM on a Tuesday night, 8 beers in your gut, and another sleepless night ahead of you.
Of note is that as the years pass, this records gathers new fans, particularly female fans, and while it sold 3 million copies in the United States alone, this record reached nearly 10 million copies sold worldwide proving that while his sound maybe classic “American” his reach has no boundaries.
The last thing I will say about this record is that while I often promote drinking alcoholic beverages while listening to your favorite albums this is NOT one of them. The line between happiness and depression in James Taylor’s JT is a thin line and much will depend on your state of mind and sobriety. I speak from experience as back in 1987 I found myself alone in Geneva, a gloomy November day, work had been rough that day and as I left my office I found a local drinking hole and dove in. Two beers later “Another Gloomy Morning” came on the radio and depression set in. It took me a couple of days and some Guns ‘N Roses to get me out of it but when I finally re-emerged my love for JT was unscathed, and life was good again.
Elating and depressing at the same time.