To many people James Taylor is the embodiment of the confessional singer / songwriter. But I have to be honest and say that I think this great singer is a little lacking on the songwriting front. For me his one great song, "Fire And Rain", which draws on his experience of severe depression inside mental institutions back in the 1960's, is his only creation which really stands the test of time. Others, like "Carolina In My Mind", "Country Road", "Sweet Baby James" and "Anywhere Like Heaven" are excellent in their own way, but do not amount to much more than well-crafted modern folk songs. "Mexico" from 1975 is also beautifully written, and deserves a special mention because it opens with a great line - "Way down here you need a reason to move", which encapsulates a country as succinctly as any I know.
James's creations are bit too folksy-sugar-sweet for my liking, although they are redeemed to a large extent by his wonderfully rich and calming delivery, always backed up by a beautiful guitar accompaniment. He may not be one of America's greatest songwriters, but on the concert circuit he's rightly regarded as one of it's best and most intimate performers.