James Taylor: Sweet Baby James High-Resolution Download Review

 James Taylor: Sweet Baby James

The Album
Audio Quality
Supplemental Materials

The Album                                                                                                                 


James Taylor, James Taylor. Need I really say more? Sweet Baby James, Taylor’s first album for Warner Bros. and released in 1970, was a breakthrough work in many ways. Besides, giving a broader exposure to his unique songwriting talents and laidback vocal style, there are deceptively simple numbers that exorcise the dark demons of Taylor’s drug addiction. For those that need a guidebook to the Taylor biography, there was a time that James spent in rehab at the exclusive McLean Hospital outside of Boston. This is recounted in Sweet Baby James where the “moonlight ladies” are the night nurses that handed out JT’s medications.  Fire and Rain is a sobering account of electroconvulsive therapy, covered in appealing melody and rhythm. There is much more, as shown in the playlist, covering Taylor’s diverse talents in folk, blues, and rock-pop. Backed by excellent studio musicians, this album has never left the various “best” lists and deservedly so.

  • Sweet Baby James
  • Lo And Behold
  • Sunny Skies
  • Steamroller
  • Country Road
  • Oh, Susannah
  • Fire and Rain
  • Blossom
  • Anywhere Like Heaven
  • Oh Baby, Don’t Let Your Lip Loose On Me
  • Suite For 20 G

Audio Quality


Sweet Baby James was never a demonstration-quality recording and, 43 years later, still is not. The high resolution version (192kHz/24-bit) gives us more warmth and ambience than anything that I have heard previously on silver discs. It also makes the left-right location of the instruments more obvious. Given what HDtracks had to work with, this is probably the best-sounding presentation that Sweet Baby James will get for the foreseeable future.

Supplemental Materials


Nothing here.

The Definitive Word



For listeners of all ages, Sweet Baby James is true must-have album. I have my original LP and still pull it out of its sleeve to enjoy the grooves. This high resolution download brings us as close to the analog experience as we will likely get. Sometimes a label debut album has a few stutters and stops. Not this one. Viewed through a retrospective lens, this album is a true masterpiece. James Taylor recorded numerous albums subsequently with a great measure of success. That notwithstanding, SBJ remains the one to get.

Download James Taylor: Sweet Baby James at HDtracks


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