I've heard James Taylor songs for as long as I can remember and I've played them for just a little bit less than that. Just a couple of nights ago I was sad, there have been shootings and deaths in the news of late, and when I am sad and afraid I like to sing and play the songs that have long comforted me - Dylan and Croce and Taylor and Denver. So, I sat on the porch and tried to sing away my sorrow. I sang to the lightning bugs as the frogs and toads joined me in the choruses.
It was late, later than I should have probably been playing outside with so many homes so close, but the humid air trapped the words and melodies and kept them close, just me and the guitar and the words and the stillness. I sang "Sweet Baby James" and the strings jangled sweetly, and the words, resting in the heavy air, hung even sweeter in the still night. I wondered, as I finished, how many times I've played that song. I wondered how many times it has given me its gift of calm and peace. I wondered why it felt like a prayer to me.
JT has just released a new album of original music called Before This World. It is not my place to say whether it is good or not. I decided thirty or forty years ago that it would be, if that makes any sense. I just finished listening to it.
In the song "Before This World / Jolly Springtime" James sings
"SCUBA actually stands for 'Someone Come Under, Bring Air'."