Friday, April 08, 2022

Secret O’ Life: The Epic Endowment of Sweet Baby James

The following was posted on Facebook by my friend Jay Blotcher, which led to my asking if he would like to share his story with my audience. He kindly agreed.

Jay writes:
In his new memoir, "I Was Better Last Night," actor-playwright Harvey Fierstein recounts a chance meeting he had with James Taylor -- and the singer’s epic penis -- in a hot tub some years back. Fierstein was impressed and complimented the troubadour.

The anecdote was sweet vindication for me. In 2004, I had penned an investigative piece about the legendary musician and his member. I interviewed several experts on the matter. Curiously, I never found a magazine to run the story. So here it is ...
To read, click HERE

Secret O’ Life: The Epic Endowment of Sweet Baby James 

Try and put a finger on the reason for the long-standing allure of James Taylor. Trouble is, a finger just wouldn’t be enough. Try two hands, suggest admirers and insiders. Yes, the '70s soft rock icon has one of the biggest scepters among rock music royalty ...which may not be the least reason why JT in his 50s still radiates an offhanded confidence in his understated way. That ol' Teddy Roosevelt, bless him, was right. You know, about speaking softly and ...

The JT revelation may mean little to today’s rock fans. Unless they’re into gerontology as musical history, James Taylor means nothing. Even Taylor’s latest album -- October Road -- is a meditation on age, suitable only for longtime fans facing AARP membership. For most, Taylor is just another lanky, balding, hawk-nosed troubadour on the nostalgia circuit who has a knack for turning on -- yikes -- your mother. And you already have enough headaches with Mom, trying to keep her out of your stash.

Why is JT still a babe magnet? When it comes to the dynamics of sexual attraction, consider this: older folk have an advantage. It’s called long-term memory. They can look at a faded sex symbol and recall what he looked like in better days. Like JT. For one brief time in the early '70s, Taylor was the most beautiful man in music. A longhaired, dark-eyed, hunky John the Baptist with a smattering of freckles, dark-circled eyes and a smack problem. He was tall, lanky, androgynous ... a combination that had millions of girls Scotch-taping their walls with posters while arranging strawberry-scented candles in suitable bedroom shrines to Sweet Baby James. Even if they didn't know JT was heroically hung. Some facts we simply infer, often unknowingly. 

It’s an odd and rare mix: folk-rock and sex. Cockwatching is not a major sport among folkies. That is, unless you count the screaming teens who follow John Mayer. We usually expect the sexiness to ooze from headbangers. After all, it was Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant who wailed “Gonna give you every inch of my love” and, as the Village Voice once observed, “suggested that the process would take some time.” But sensitive folkies of the JT era just didn’t peddle their wares so brazenly. 

That would smack of insensitivity. Sexism. And that’s a turnoff for fans whose notion of sensuality is patchouli and macramé -- not dry-humping behind the tofu tubs at the Organic Food Co-Op.

But JT certainly juiced up the fringe and tie-dye set. Shamelessly sensuous. Prettier than most women while still unsure of his powers. A soft rock version of lonesome cowboy Gary Cooper. Even if you write off his later self-mocking and saccharine compositions, the songs on “Sweet Baby James” and "One Man Dog" still drive a letter-opener through your heart. Taylor ambled along at the right time. The '70s. Rise of the Sensitive Male. It was the right time, because consider who became the mainstream poster boy of the ERA generation: Wisecracking Alan Alda -- another lanky character with a Vlasic for a nose, if you’re keeping score.

I’d heard for years that James Taylor was impressive in the crotch department. Watch the DVD of Monte Hellman’s 1971 film, “Two-Lane Blacktop,” a sorta-existential, but mostly draggy car-as-metaphor-for- life’s-journey film. Here, JT’s feline, soulful grace is filmed from every possible angle, and the great promise in his pants, while not properly outlined in all its glory, is discernible. (Straight men, no matter how much they’re packing, are clueless about how to arrange the goods in the front window.)

Photographer Henry Diltz, 64, can lay claim to some of the most iconic images of the '60s-'70s rock era. The official photographer of Woodstock and the Monterey International Pop Festival, his masterpieces include the Doors at the Hard Rock Cafe; Crosby, Stills and Nash on the porch; and the Sweet Baby James album cover photos.

A rock musician himself, Diltz had unusual access to fellow musicians, even at a time when rockers weren’t shielded by a battery of publicists. “I was able to get these shots, ‘cause they were friends of mine,” Diltz explains in his still-groovy voice.

The depth of emotional nakedness in the historic Sweet Baby James session is a rarity. These photo images of a man both intensely present and somehow disconnected cement Taylor’s standing as the most beautiful man in rock (as opposed to merely pretty, an honorific which goes to David Cassidy, also a frequent Diltz subject).

Was Taylor aware of his own heart-stopping beauty? Diltz laughs. “I doubt it; I don’t think he’s that kind of a guy.”

I suggest that Taylor’s self-composure and aura may stem, in no small measure, from his height and his major endowment. I am fishing for details. However, Diltz, sidesteps the issue gallantly, simply agreeing that “he’s a tall guy.”

In the days of the Catholic Saints, believers slavishly collected relics that putatively came from these Men of God. Churches have been built around pieces no larger than a finger knuckle, much less a skillfully crafted Savior shroud. In present-day worship, the gods are mortal and they offer their own reliquary: guitar picks, posters or roadie jackets.

One of the most prominent collectors of rock reliquary is Cynthia Plaster Caster

But a knuckle or toe bone has never adequately celebrated all that is hallowed about musician worship. Since the late '60s, Cynthia has cut through the obvious Freudian imagery of guitars and sex, and focused on the real article: Cock without metaphor. Cynthia P. has made impressions of the penises of rock’s greater and lesser personages. Among her star quarries are Eric Burdon and Jimi Hendrix, the latter being one of the few rockers whose inch-count matches his enormous reputation.

Cynthia tended to focus her efforts on the priapic hard rocker, and paid little attention to the soft rock champions of the era. When asked about JT, she admits that she never crossed paths with him. Nor was she aware that his penis matched his guitar for both musical range and size.

“He has that confidence that usually comes with an owner of a sizable penis,” she offers, tentatively.

A Google search for “James Taylor” and “penis” offers a more promising direction: the web site of the E! Entertainment Television Network, where the latest Brangelina sighting will always edge out news of Iraq for relevance. This is the home of the breathless column The Awful Truth, maintained by Ted Casablanca, a nasty little French poodle of a gossip reporter based in Los Angeles. An item on his site reads:

“Friend o' mine was in a fab East Coast spa recently with Carly Simon's ex. Both dudes were luxuriating in the whirlpool. When JT got up, my butch bud was so startled (which, believe me, doesn't happen often), he said to James, "Nice penis." "Thank you," said the impressive Mr. Taylor, as if he hears it every day. Maybe he does?

At last, an eyewitness account of meeting the Holy Grail of Folk Rock!

To my joy, a fan letter also appears on Casablanca’s website, sparked by the whirlpool item. This first-hand eyewitness to the glory of James Taylor reminisces ...

Dear Ted Casablanca:
I'm another one of your elderly fans. I spent the summer of 1972 as a college student on Martha's Vineyard. At the nude beach, adjacent to James Taylor's house, there was a mudslide that emptied into a tide pool. Every afternoon at 4:30 you could count on seeing Mudslide Slim there, shooting down the pipe. A lot of people showed up to join the fun -- and maybe see a local celebrity up close -- but there was definitely a contingent (including myself) who showed up just to gawk at Mr. Taylor's "nice penis." And think of it: He had a full head of long hair then, no mustache, bright eyes, beautiful skin and a sleek young body. It was all "nice."
Richard Maslow
New York

I track down Richard Maslow in Atlanta. My call prompts a bit of suspicion. Who is this madman who wants to talk about James Taylor's organ? However, Maslow mellows when I explain my holy quest. Maslow recounts what he can of that certain summer, which consists of what he wrote in his letter. He stands by his personal account. But he cannot provide for me, 30 years later, an estimated measurement for the alluring Mudslide Slim. Martha's Vineyard, however, simply remains a sweet memory that still burns bright.

A good friend of mine, a longtime musician living in Manhattan, slips me the home number of Arnold McCuller, who has sung back-up for Taylor for more than two decades. When I call Los Angeles, McCuller is packing for a tour of Australia with JT. He kindly apologizes, saying he has no time to speak about his longtime employer. I ask if McCuller will answer one single question. 

He agrees. I take a deep breath.

“James Taylor has been a popular entertainer for more than three decades, through many changes in musical eras and tastes. To what extent does his appeal stem from his above-average endowment?”

McCuller hangs up.

I finally resort to quizzing a pal of mine for JT specifics. I'll call my pal Johnny, at his request. This friend has a hope chest full of stories. He's thrived on the rock scene since the '70s, alternately as a fan, a club manager, manager of some rockers and an A&E guy at a record label. The bonus is that he's a gay man. He came of age during the '60s sexual revolution and carried it through the '70s. Dates and names come and go, but he has etched on his memory the visual image of every penis that has passed before his -- er, eyes. 

Asked to explain the mystique of James Taylor, my friend talks about his music. But I press for more intimate details. He unfurls his story. "You know how some people have beautiful dicks -- the kind you don’t want to get fucked by, but you like to look at?” That, my friend says, sums up the cock of James Taylor. 

“It was nine inches, thickly veined, uncut with a beautiful mushroom head."

Taylor, my friend continued, was as grateful to God for his cock as he was for his honeyed voice. And like most men swinging a cudgel, he was all too happy to let people take a look. (My friend had two eyewitness viewings: Once during a sunbathing session on a Manhattan tarred rooftop and another time in the bathroom of a rock club at the urinals).

This exercise in fact-finding inevitably brings to mind Taylor’s erstwhile wife, Carly Simon. Theirs was a passionate relationship, I recall. Two poetic souls entwined for several years.  Was Carly equal to the challenge of JT's epic reputation?

Known for her pretty and Sandra Bernhard-type oversized mouth, Simon may have been the best match for the well-endowed pop star. Says my NYC rocker pal: “You remember how haggard Carly looked when they were married? Insatiable was the word.”

Echoing that sentiment is a Baltimore-based historian of American sideshows. His name is, freakishly, James Taylor. In an e-mail to me, Taylor offers: 

"Suppose I could make some 'crack' about his ex's mouth and his anatomy," Taylor writes, "but I'd only be echoing a guy I talked to some years back out to L.A. who'd had the pleasure of bedding Ms. Simon and told me her mouth didn't get that way from eatin' bananas."

Jay Blotcher is a veteran book editor for hire; queer and AIDS activist; and self-described snot-nosed kid from Randolph, Mass. You can find him on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.


Jack said...

Love this story! Thanks

normadesmond said...

Has me thinking about 'The Secret of Life' and "sliding down, gliding down."

Jinxy said...

lol kind of sad article. I've never understood the obsession with penis size. And I like maybe 2 James Taylor songs. I'd rather listen to Carly Simon.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Jinxy: I tend to agree. But the writer of the piece sent me this, so ...

A quip I heard sometime in the Mesozoic era (aka the 1970s):

”There are two kinds of people: Size queens and liars."

jayboy said...

Jinxy, the point made here is that a man with a large penis can emanate allure and confidence, even if you didn't know he is well-endowed. One doesn't have to be obsessed to take note of the phenomenon.