Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#157 in the Series) is James Taylor, That’s Why I’m Here.
“Come on everyone, come on… let’s go! James is recording a new album. We all have to help him out!
Was that the clarion call throughout Los Angeles in 1985 when James Taylor decided to record for the first time in years,who knows? ButI’m guessing it was close. It seems like every hot musician from within 100 miles played on this album.
So before I get into the rest of album, let me make a list of who answered that call.
Here’s who makes an appearance on That’s Why I’m Here.
Don Henley, Leland Sklar, Peter Asher, Randy + Michael Brecker , Russ Kunkel, Tony Levin, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Billy Payne, Deniece Williams, Rory Dodd, Clifford Carter, Greg ’Fingers’ Taylor, Jimmy Maelen, Airto and David Sanborn.
I wonder is songwriters feel the need to write exceptionally well when they know the heavyweights are right outside the studio door?
If James Taylor felt that weight then he certainly delivered. There are some absolute gems on this one.
Some of the best on the disc are the title cut, That’s Why I’m Here, the great ballad, A Song for You Far Away,and Only a Dream in Rio. There’s also one of the few songs I know about a pig, Mona.
James also does a fine rendition of his brother Livingston’s Going Around One More Time.
He also adds a couple of nice covers, Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s …thru Gene Pitney ..(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance and Buddy Holly’s Everyday.
I remember seeing James Taylor at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago in 1991. It was an interesting crowd. One half were old hippies, the other half, yuppies. Safe to say I wasn’t one of the yuppies.
It also was the best sound I ever heard at a concert. Sitting directly in front of the mixing board didn’t hurt!
That’s Why I’m here was produced by JT along with Peter Asher and Frank Filipetti.
It reached #34 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.
Here’s a few live cuts followed by Liberty Valance.
In many ways, this album had more to do with long love affair with music, than any other album ever released.
When I was a wee lad, my sister gave me copy of this. It was actually on cassette. It was right when those lovely pre-recorded cassettes first hit the market. I had a player and played it over and over and over. I even remember starting and stopping the songs over and over so I could write out the lyrics.
I was hooked. I had to get more of these!
Blood, Sweat and Tears “3” contained some of the bands most well known tunes. From the opening of ‘Hi-De-Ho’ to the ending of ’40,000 Headman,’ it was full of great music.
Before I right these out, I often look for info on these albums. When I did this research, I was surprised to find out that Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote ‘Hi-De-Ho.’ I never knew that!
Besides Hi-De-Ho and Winwood, Capaldi’s, 40,000 Headmen, there were a few other great tracks. They also covered ‘ James Taylors ‘Fire and Rain.’
But the most interesting track, not to be missed is a very different reworking of Jagger and Richards Classic, “Sympathy For The Devil.” If you haven’t heard this one, you have to check it out!
I had never seen BST in concert. Then in 1994 they played Chicago Ridge Fest. I wasn’t expecting much from a typical summer neighborhood fest, but was I surprised! David Clayton Thomas never sounded better! And he bought many of the old timers with him.
I found out afterwards, that they had used this show as a warm up for a bigger show that was scheduled a few weeks later. The 25th anniversary of Woodstock.