I’ve had an up-and-down relationship with Row Jimmy. I really like the song, but there are times when it was almost a dirge and I tend to get bored with those versions. Fortunately, this is not one of them!
I really like the arrangement in later years when there was a section with almost a reggae vibe. In fact, there is a reggae version of the song out there that is very good on one of the Fire On The Mountain releases. Judy Mowatt, who was one of Bob Marley’s backup singers, the I-Threes, takes on Row Jimmy for Volume 1 and They Love Each Other for Volume 2. Both are worth checking out if you like reggae (and both volumes are now sold together as well).
My eldest son is named James and this song makes me think of him. I keep hoping he’ll take to it as he gets old. But for now James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” works a bit better.
Solid Row Jimmys to check out? Any with the reggae vibe? Let me know in the comments.
Donna sounds really nice on this one, as do the rest of the backing vocals. Yes, even Phil! This being a more mellow song it must have been easier to heard oneself on stage with that massive wall of sound. The chorus at about the 6:15 mark is basically a capella with the exception of some swirling keys from Keith. Toward the end the rest of the band jumps back in and continue with another round of the chorus. A few final exhortations for young James to get down and row leaves the crowd roaring for more as the song ends.