Monday, March 12, 2018

Birthday Shower the People: James Taylor 70

I had no intention of doing this, but when I saw this person is turning a milestone birthday today I took it as a challenge to see how fast I could whip up a quick tribute.
Born this day in 1948, today's b'day boy is most assuredly one of the world's most beloved songwriters and vocalists, so to explain who he is would be redundant.
Not many people start out signed by the Beatles, fail to sell but a handful of records at first, and then explode across the horizon in such spectacular fashion as soon as they get back up on the horse.
The author of a breakthrough single so universally depressing -- who does that? goes to #1 with a dour little ditty about your friend's recent suicide? -- I am tearing up just thinking about it, he has had so many hits and timeless songs there's no point in naming any of them.
A hilarious aside: when I first heard him as a 9-year-old (that Handy Man song), I thought he was Black! Is that ridiculous? I may be the only person ever to live, nine or otherwise, who thought James Taylor was Black.
Gosh that's dumb. But no matter, let's disregard my idiotic pre-adolescent underthoughts and get some music poppin', wanna? Honestly I only write these things so it looks like Fair Use to the untrained RIAA eye.
These two sparkly performances -- both essentially indistinguishable but for a few minor flaws from official live documents -- come from the halcyon days of FM radio in the 1970s. Both are pre-broadcast captures: one is direct from the King Biscuit Flower Hour reels, and the other is a master cassette surreptitiously liberated from the station master reels by an ultrazealous ad sales rep with a cassette deck.
James Taylor
USA pre-FMs

Carnegie Hall
New York City, NY

01 You Can Close Your Eyes
02 Riding On a Railroad
03 Blossom
04 Long Ago and Far Away
05 Sunshine Sunshine
06 Me and My Guitar
07 Country Road
08 You’ve Got a Friend
09 Promised Land
10 Migration
11 Let It All Fall Down
12 Brighten Your Night with My Day
13 One Man Parade
14 Anywhere Like Heaven
15 Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
16 Fire and Rain
17 You’re the One (That I Adore)
18 Rock 'N' Roll Is Music Now
19 Mockingbird
20 Ain’t No Song
21 Sweet Baby James

Total time: 1:19:11

James Taylor - guitar, piano & vocals
Hugh McCracken - guitar & harmonica
David Spinozza - guitar
Andy Muson - bass
Don Grolnick - keyboards
Rick Marotta - drums, vibraphone & percussion
Jon Faddis- trumpet
Alan Rubin- trumpet
Barry Rogers - trombone
George Young -alto saxophone
Frank Vacari - tenor saxophone
Kenny Berger- baritone saxophone
Howard Johnson - tuba
Carly Simon - vocals
Peter Asher - vocals

KBFH master pre-FM reels, first broadcast 6.30.1974

Syria Mosque
Pittsburgh, PA

01 Lighthouse
02 Riding On a Railroad
03 Secret O' Life
04 Gorilla
05 Shower the People
06 Honey, Don't Leave LA
07 Bartender's Blues
08 Roadrunner
09 Anywhere Like Heaven
10 Mexico
11 Walking Man
12 Fire and Rain
13 Carolina In My Mind
14 Family Man
15 Hello, Old Friend
16 Everybody Has the Blues
17 Dance
18 Hey Mister, That's Me Up On the Jukebox
19 I Was a Fool to Care
20 How Sweet It Is
21 Money Machine
22 Steamroller
23 Sweet Baby James

Total time: 1:38:30
disc break goes after Track 11

James Taylor - vocals & guitar
David Lindley - violin, slide guitar, banjo & vocals
Russ Kunkel - drums
Leland Sklar - bass
Clarence McDonald - keyboards & vocals
David Sanborn - tenor saxophone
Danny Kortchmar - guitar & vocals

master cassette of the WDVE pre-FM reels
both shows zipped together
I decided to toss this up not because this is someone I listen to all that often, but because I am here to share music, and I could do it so I did... I'm always up for an audiological challenge anyway. 
I shall return in two days with an absolute mindfucker of a tape from the super-rarities bin, but for right this moment we wish the most enjoyable of 70th birthdays to many people's all-time favorite songwriter, James Taylor.--J.