James Taylor
Smirnoff Music Centre: August 27, 2001 

Sweet Baby James
Text and Photography By Jim Dirden

[ Reprinted Courtesy Of Tomlin Communications ]

Pop icon James Taylor—with the help of an incredible seven-piece band and four gifted background singers—truly showered the people with love during his marathon performance at the Smirnoff Music Centre in Dallas last Monday evening.  His audience of about 10,000 captivated fans were treated to over two hours of classic hits from his 30-year career as well as tunes from his upcoming album, which he said is “coming along slowly.” 

Since his debut album—James Taylor (1968)—Taylor has released a steady string of successful albums over the past three decades, including his best-selling Greatest Hits (1976), which has sold more than 11 million copies.  In 1998, Hourglass (1997) earned him a Grammy  for Best Pop Album.  Along the way, Taylor has also garnered his fair share of signature songs, including “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James” and his cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” for which he won a Best Pop Vocal Performance Grammy in 1971.  James Taylor was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 6, 2000.

During his two lengthy sets and several encores, Taylor demonstrated his artistic breadth with flawless performances of pop standard covers (Buddy Holly’s “Everyday”), his own classic hits (“Carolina in My Mind”) and some of his latest material (“Fourth of July” and “Raised Up Family”).  The first of many standing ovations came near the end of the first set when he did his own “Shower the People.”  After a thundering round of applause to one of his encores—an a cappella rendition of  “You Can Close Your Eyes”—Taylor returned to the stage with his guitar and closed the show with a heart wrenching solo of  “Sweet Baby James.”  It just doesn’t get any better than that!  



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Copyright © 2001 Jim Dirden
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