This week the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra along with AJ Swearingen and Jayne Kelli (above) performed in a concert featuring the music of artists and their 1970’s songs that combined folk and rock. They included singers like Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Cat Stevens, and James Taylor.
I wasn’t at the concert, but I can only assume that the title of the show was also on the set list.
James Taylor has never been my cup of tea. Some critics have labeled his material as too sensitive, personal, sentimental. I simply find his voice and style to be dull.
Here are two versions of “Fire and Rain,” written about Taylor’s childhood friend Suzanne Schnerr who committed suicide, with some news reports saying she jumped in front of a subway train.
Time to decide which version you think is better. We start with the original that blew open the doors for Taylor when he was a mere 20 years old.
Now onto one of my favorite groups.
Blood, Sweat & Tears’ first album…
Then came the Grammy-award winning…
There was no way the jazz-rock band could fully measure up to the success of the above album in their third. The self-titled album contained three songs that neared the top of the charts as singles — “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” and “And When I Die.”
Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 was a solid recording that spent two straight weeks at #1 on the LP chart. But it didn’t enjoy the same blockbuster commercial popularity as its predecessor. There were a few cover versions including James Taylor’s ode to his friend.
OK. You decide. Sweet Baby James or BS & T.