Sweet Baby James – James Taylor
I heard this for the first time about 4 years ago..
As I recall there was a thing on the radio about albums you should listen to. They featured Sweet Baby James. The programme explained that the song was written for James Taylor’s nephew, also called James, and was composed as a lullaby for his nephew, dreamt up as he was on his way to meet his nephew for the first time. It’s also a song about James Taylor, who at the time was recovering from drug addiction and mental illness.
I should explain, at the time I was still coming to terms with the idea that I might never marry or have children and that the plans I had for doing just that were gone, also my brother and sister-in-law were thinking about having a baby. At some point over the day, I played this song and something happened. Whether it was drink, the hot weather or something else entirely I was overwhelmed with this feeling that everything would be ok and also that one day I hold my nephew and sing him this song. The only other time, I’ve been that certain of something has been when my Grandad died and when Stef died, when I was there to tell them it was ok to go to God. I felt that certain. So for me it was a moment when I needed to feel God and I did. Which is a lot to get out of a song!
Oliver James Dempsey was born a year and 5 months later and when he was 3 months old, Ma and I looked after him overnight and sure enough at 1am in the morning, sitting in the rocking chair, trying to get that boy back to sleep, I did sing ‘Sweet Baby James’ to him. He didn’t go back to sleep (nothing is that perfect) but I still love this song and it always reminds me of Oli and that time of knowing that sometimes if you just trust, things come right and get good, even if it’s not the way you planned….