Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2000
I was lucky enough to first see James Taylor live in a small outdoor venue called Avaloch in rural Lenox, Massachusetts in the summer of 1970, after this first album recorded by the Beatles in London had been released and just before the release of the fabulously successful "Sweet Baby James" album by Warner Brothers. He appeared alone on-stage with a full head of long, long hair in a simple denim shirt and cut-up jeans with his four or five acoustic guitars, and for two and a half hours proceeded to absolutely enchant the sprawling lawn-full of hundreds of audience members with a spellbinding performance of all of the work from both of those albums. Although virtually unknown at the time, word of mouth had spread so quickly in the Berkshires area (who still considers him one of their own) that many of us went out to get this album to play before he appeared. The rest, as they say, is history.
This is a fantastic collection of his greatest hits over those first ten years, and is a terrific summary of that work. Many of my favorites are here, including "Something In The Way She Moves", "Carolina In My Mind", and "Rainy Day Man". Of course, so is "Fire And rain", "You've Got A Friend", "Steamroller Blues", and "Country Road", all now Taylor standards. My all time favorite song from this album is "Sweet Baby James", which is sung about the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts where I grew up, so I have always considered this a special song. His performance on it is a brilliant early indication of just how incredibly talented an interpretive artist Taylor really is. He always pleases with songs like "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight", "Mexico", and "Walking Man", and this album is sure to please even the most cautious music fan. It is certainly a terrific showcase for how well Taylor can deliver on a variety of original works and covers of traditional folk songs. Enjoy
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