the Buzz for March 24th, 2011


James Taylor — “Enough to Be On Your Way” (from Hourglass) — Enough to Be On Your Way - Hourglass

While at work, I spent a good deal of yesterday evening watching (or, at worst, listening to) Troubadours — a feature-length, fabulously riveting chronicle of the community of singer/songwriters which put southern California on the map (musically, at least) in the early ’70s — which has just arrived on DVD after a staggered run on public television. Though it contains provocative anecdotes from such ancillary players as Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Elton John, and Kris Kristofferson, the film is told largely (and rightly) through the eyes of James Taylor and Carole King, the songwriter movement’s uncontested torchbearers, and watching clips of them today performing those ever-iconic hits (“You’ve Got a Friend,” “Fire and Rain,” “So Far Away”), you’re reminded both of the sheer power a strong song can harness, and of the great gifts that a group of tight-knit friends — friends like all of the aforementioned, as well as guys and gals with surnames like Mitchell, Ronstadt, and Young — gave the entire world during a peculiarly brief, shining moment in time. (Quite correctly, Taylor is most fondly revered for his ferociously well-executed early work, but later-era tunes like “Enough” — an oddly comforting treatise on life, death, and the rules of travel between those two poles which was inspired in part by the death of his brother — prove definitively that James didn’t at all lose his powerful touch the minute the calendar shifted decades.)