Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As I read Sheila Weller's great new book "Girls Like Us" (weaving together the lives of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon into a Sixties tapestry) I recalled a concert Gail and I went to in late 1969, at an old theatre (long gone) between Kenmore Square and the Boston University campus. (Weller places it in Cambridge, but it was Boston.) Joni Mitchell was the headliner, known to us through covers of her songs by Judy Collins and Tom Rush. Her opening act (and, according to Weller, main squeeze) was a very young James Taylor, making his US debut after recording his first album in the UK for The Beatles' new Apple label. The buzz about him in Rolling Stone had been building for some time. It was something special -- two of the finest singer-songwriters ever in an intimate setting for about 500 people. They did separate sets, and a couple of duets; James really was the opening act. The vibe in that room was so powerful that you didn't need anything artificial to generate a high.