#103 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
James Taylor's second album, Sweet Baby James, released in early 1970, is the album that secured his spot among the most important songwriters of the 70s. The sweet, bluesy acoustic guitar and vocals on this album are authentic and interesting - this is a record that has everything from a blues inspired jam, packed with a big band horn section ("Steamroller Blues"); to a gospel revival-like track ("Lo And Behold"); to a traditional nursery rhyme made into a folk ballad ("Oh, Susannah"). And, of course, the album featured "Fire and Rain," which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Country Road" was another Top 40 hit that struck a chord with music fans, especially because of its attractive mixture of folk, country, gospel, and blues elements, all of them carefully understated and distanced.
While Taylor gets help from some friends such as Carole King (piano) and future Eagles bassist Randy Meisner, its his stellar songwriting and heartfelt vocals that shot this album to #3 on the Billboard Album Charts and earned a 1971 Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. This recording launched not only Taylor's career - he's won more than 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards as well as five GRAMMY® Awards and was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame - but also propelled the entire singer/songwriter movement of the early '70s that included Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, and others.
"It is impossible to appreciate the music of this generation without this album...
an incredible adventure of masterful songwriting."