With his warm voice, pretty guitar-picking, and introspective song writing, James Vernon Taylor was perhaps the figurehead of the singer-songwriter movement in the early 1970s. His 1969 debut album on The Beatles’ Apple label flopped, despite featuring one of his best songs ‘Carolina In My Mind’, as well as ‘Something In The Way She Moves’ which inspired the famous George Harrison song. After spending time in rehab for a heroin addiction, Taylor joined Warner Brothers for Sweet Baby James, his second album, and hit the big time with a cover story in Time Magazine.
After 1976’s Greatest Hits, Taylor strayed away from acoustic music and into generic soft-rock, and I have little interest in him, although in later years he returned to his core style; ‘Copperline’ from 1991’s New Moon Shine is one on his best songs. Taylor was married to fellow singer-songwriter Carly Simon, a marriage that ended after Taylor famously titled an album Dad Loves His Work in response to Simon’s ultimatum that he needed to spend more time with his family.
James Taylor is a talented artist – he has a warm voice, his lyrics are elegant, and his guitar picking is accomplished. But he’s never really shown the ability to deliver convincing work beyond his core skill-set of introspective, acoustic, pretty songs. As a result I’ve only covered a handful of his albums, and arguably he’s a minor league artist who’s released a handful of great songs. Also, does he always wear a blue shirt?
Ten Favourite James Taylor Songs
Fire And Rain
Carolina In My Mind
Mud Slide Slim
Long Ago and Far Away
One Morning In May
Lo And Behold
Never Die Young