Picks and Pans Review: Dad Loves His Work
Listening to the 33-year-old Baby James in recent years has been like taking the bandages off a good friend to look at his wounds. It is clear from this LP’s opening cut, Hard Times, that he has suffered fresh domestic lacerations. “Holding, it together ain’t always easy/ An angry man, hungry woman/ They’re driving each other crazy.” The catharsis continues on Her Town Too (written with Waddy Wachtel and John David Souther), in which he laments: “Well people got used to seeing them both together/ But now he’s gone and life goes on/ Nothing lasts forever, oh no.” Given the passionate ponderings and meanderings of Carly Simon’s recent Come Upstairs, it’s hard not to interpret that album and this one as an angry exchange between this royal couple of rock. Psychohistorical or not, Dad Loves His Work is no minimum-wage effort. There is careful craft in the melodies, considered lyrics and master musicianship—overseen, as always, by producer Peter Asher. Whatever his personal problems, Taylor’s undiminished power as an artist is demonstrated by his ability to move from swooning to indignation to giddiness on successive cuts.