James Taylor’s second solo album, Sweet Baby James, was the singer-songwriter’s most successful and beloved record and the start of a burst of activity that lasted through the 70s.
Taylor would release seven more albums in that decade, matching hit output over the following 36 years. Must have been all the heroin.
Though the title track caught on in later years, Sweet Baby James is best known for ‘Country Road’ and especially today’s SOTD, ‘Fire and Rain.’ Inspired by the suicide of a friend, ‘Fire and Rain’ is one of the most simple and beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.
Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you.
I walked out this mornin’, and I wrote down this song;
I just can’t remember who to send it to.
I’ve seen fire, and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
But I always thought that I’d see you again.
Won’t you look down upon me Jesus?
You gotta help me make a stand.
You just got to see me through another day.
My body’s achin’, and my time is at hand.
I won’t make it any other way.
Been walkin’ my mind to an easy time,
My back turned towards the sun.
Lord knows when the cold wind blows,
it’ll turn your head around.
Well there’s hours of time on the telephone line
to talk about things to come:
Sweet dreams and flying machines
in pieces on the ground.
The song also reflects upon Taylor’s drug problems. And what a song it is! Really one of the best.
A beautiful song. And it always makes me think of a lovely, little seen film called Running On Empty… One of the best uses of a popular song in a movie ever.