Monday, November 16, 2009

Take This Tune

Jamie's song choice on this week's Take This Tune, her Monday Meme where she gives us a video prompt complete with lyrics to a song and then asks us to write a post inspired by the title of the song or something in the lyrics, is James Taylor's western lullaby Sweet Baby James which was written by Taylor as he drove to meet his namesake nephew for the very first time.  The song ended up being Taylor's signature song as well as the title of his second album that was released in 1970, the album that contains my favorite James Taylor song Fire and Rain.

Fire and Rain was released in February of 1971 shortly after my family had moved back to Connecticut from New Mexico when my Dad received orders for KeflavĂ­k, Iceland.  At the time Dad was a mechanic on the F-4 Phantom II fighter-bomber and it was his first deployment overseas since returning from Danang, Vietnam in 1968.  He had the choice of going on an "isolated tour" by himself for a year or taking the entire family and being there longer; he chose the former.  So, while Dad went to Iceland my mom and three brothers and I took up residence in my mom's hometown of Canterbury where she lives to this day.

As happened quite frequently growing up an Air Force brat, I changed schools midstream and found myself attending the Baldwin School in Canterbury for the remainder of my 7th and entire 8th grade years.  It really wasn't all that bad as when my oldest brother and I began school we were introduced as "Steve, Diana, Patricia, and Dave's cousins" so we weren't exactly virtual strangers to the other students.  At that time the grades were divided into the A, B, and C group depending on where you stood academically so in January of 1971 I was enrolled in the 7th Grade A Group - totally lost when it came to French but otherwise okay with the rest of the classes.

Even though I couldn't sing very well, one of my favorite classes was music which met in the combination school cafeteria/auditorium/gym - schools back then were nothing like they are now and Baldwin was pretty old long before I started there!  Other than meeting in that area, the only other thing I remember about music class was that we learned Fire and Rain shortly after it came out.  Even though I had no idea what the meaning was behind the lyrics (suicide wasn't really talked about back then), I thought it was a great song and I still do. All these years later I can still remember the lyrics and the poignant feeling of the song which, whenever I hear it, transports me back to a cold and rainy day in March of 1971 when Mrs. Kaminski handed out the mimeographed pages to us. It was a sad day weather-wise and there's no denying that Fire and Rain is a sad song, perhaps that's why I remember it so well.  It's kind of funny - when someone mentions James Taylor I'm back in 7th grade again.  Oh to know then what I know now!
"Oh, 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."
As for James Taylor himself, I always thought that he should have married Carole King rather than Carly Simon as they could harmonize on You've Got a Friend like nobody's business but perhaps that's another song for another day. What do you think, Jamie?


  1. I like that song too, never made the connection that it was about suicide though-though now that I think about it it makes sense.

  2. Linda, isn't it amazing how we remember all the words to all those songs sung back then? I've always loved James Taylor and I certainly agree that Carole King is a really talented singer/song writer! Thanks for commenting at my TTT post! :)

  3. Great post. We all have those people in our lives that are somehow fixtures. They are supposed to "always be there" where you can see them again. It leaves a very large empty place when one of those forever people is not available should you decide to pick up the phone and just want to chat one more time.

    Thanks for playing. I saw Taylor and King have added a "kick off" date in LA in January. Bet those tickets will be impossible and expensive

  4. Anonymous11:37 AM EST

    They just don't make music like they did in our childhoods...

  5. I love that song. One of my favs back in the day.

    Have a terrific day and week Linda. Big hug. :)

  6. It's amazing isn't it how a song can evoke so many memories. :)

  7. Very nice memories. *sigh*

  8. I'm a big fan of James Taylor and Carole King, too. Love those songs, and they'll be echoing in my head all evening long, but that's not a bad thing!

    Big hugs...

  9. JT has so many great songs and this is surely one of them.

  10. Hi Linda,

    Please join us for The Queen's Meme tomorrow. #14 ~ Do You Believe In Magic?


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