Sweet Baby James

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This article is about the album. For the song of the same title, see Sweet Baby James (song).
Sweet Baby James
Studio album by James Taylor
Released February, 1970
Recorded December, 1969 at Sunset Sound
Genre Rock, folk, country
Length 31:51
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Peter Asher
James Taylor chronology
James Taylor
(1968)
Sweet Baby James
(1970)
James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine
(1971)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau B− [2]
Rolling Stone (favorable) [3]
Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars [4]

Sweet Baby James is singer-songwriter James Taylor's second studio album, and his first release on Warner Bros. Records. Released in February 1970, it showcased Taylor's talents and showed the direction he would take in the early 1970s with the expansion of his career. The album featured one of Taylor's earliest single successes: "Fire and Rain", which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself also managed to reach #3 on the Billboard Album Charts. Sweet Baby James made Taylor one of the main forces of the ascendent folk movement. The album was nominated to a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, in 1971. The album was listed at #103 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[5]

The album, produced by Peter Asher, was recorded between 8 and 17 December 1969 at a cost of only $7,600 out of a budget of $20,000.[6] Taylor was "essentially homeless" at the time the album was recorded, either staying in Asher's home or crashing on a couch at the house of guitarist Danny Kortchmar or anyone else who would have him.[7]

The song "Suite for 20 G" was so named because Taylor was promised $20,000 once the album was delivered. With one more song needed, he strung together three unfinished songs into a "suite," and completed the album.[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by James Taylor unless otherwise noted.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Sweet Baby James" – 2:54
  2. "Lo and Behold" – 2:37
  3. "Sunny Skies" – 2:21
  4. "Steamroller" – 2:57
  5. "Country Road" – 3:22
  6. "Oh, Susanna" (Stephen Foster) – 1:58

Side two[edit]

  1. "Fire and Rain" – 3:20
  2. "Blossom" – 2:14
  3. "Anywhere Like Heaven" – 3:23
  4. "Oh Baby, Don't You Loose Your Lip on Me" – 1:46
  5. "Suite for 20 G" – 4:41

Personnel[edit]

The horn players are uncredited.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[15] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Sweet Baby James at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2004.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "James Taylor > Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 13 April 2006. 
  3. ^ von Tersch, Gary (April 30, 1970). "James Taylor Sweet Baby James > Album Review". Rolling Stone (57). Archived from the original on 3 November 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2006. 
  4. ^ Coleman, Mark with Edmonds, Ben (2004). "James Taylor". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 804–805. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  Portions posted at "James Taylor > Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "103 | Sweet Baby James - James Taylor". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 20 March 2005. 
  6. ^ David Browne, Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970 (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2011) p. 64
  7. ^ Browne, ibid., p. 66
  8. ^ Suite For 20G by James Taylor Songfacts
  9. ^ "Chris Darrow interview on Outsight Radio Hours". Archive.org. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 14, No. 16" (PHP). RPM. 1970-12-05. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  11. ^ "James Taylor > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  12. ^ "Allmusic: Sweet Baby James: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  13. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1970". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  14. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1971". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  15. ^ "American album certifications – James Taylor – Sweet Baby JAmes". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]