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“I was playing with John Stewart at the time. John was a dear friend who passed away a couple of years ago. In his band, there was a wonderful fiddle named Chris Darrow, and he was a friend of Peter Asher’s. Peter had come from the UK, having just left Apple Records, and he brought James Taylor with him. He was looking for musicians to do an album for Warner Brothers, which was Sweet Baby James. He needed a drummer, and Chris said, ‘Oh, you should come see the guy who's playing with John.’ Peter came to our rehearsal and hired me on the spot.
“I went to a rehearsal at Peter’s house. They had a piano in the living room that he had just moved into – there was hardly any other furniture. James sat in a chair, and Carole King was at the piano. I set up my drums, and we rehearsed some of the songs. I think Danny Kortchmar was there, too, playing acoustic guitar or electric, really, really softly. We rehearsed a little bit and then went into Sunset Sound and made the record. It was wonderful.
“One of the things that happened in the rehearsals was that, because Peter lived in this residential area down by Larchmont, a very Spanish house, I really couldn’t play with sticks. There was no amplification, no monitors, so I did the four rehearsals with brushes, playing them like sticks. Fire And Rain was one of the songs that we rehearsed before we went into the studio.
“I fully intended to try to use sticks on some of the songs, which I did, but when it came to Fire And Rain – it might have been Peter, it might have been James, I’m not sure – but they said, 'You know what? Maybe… what did you play at the rehearsal?’ I said, ‘I was playing on brushes.’ And they said, ‘Try that.’ And that’s why I used. That’s why it sounds the way it does.
“The sessions were great and very quick. I think we cut the album within a week, maybe only three or four days. It was Bob West on bass, Carole and Danny and myself and James. And I think Red Rhodes played some steel guitar on it. That was pretty much the core of it. Next thing I knew, the record was about to come out and Peter asked me to go on tour with James. It was a great experience.”