Monday, July 29, 2013

JT's 1968 Debut Album

James Taylor is singer-songwriter James Taylor's debut album. Released in 1968, it was the first recording by a non-British artist released by Apple Records, and would also be Taylor's only release on that label. The album was released under the title First Album on the South African market.
The album was produced by Peter Asher, who was A&R head for The Beatles' newly-formed label Apple Records.[2] Taylor recorded the album from July to October 1968 at Trident Studios, at the same time The Beatles were recording The White Album.[3][4] Trident was the most technologically advanced studio in England at the time and was in high demand; some session time booked by The Beatles was used instead to record Taylor's album. Paul McCartney and Peter Asher brought in arranger Richard Hewson to add orchestrations to several of the songs and unusual "link" passages in between them; these would receive a mixed reception at best.[5][6]
Notable songs include the Taylor classics "Something in the Way She Moves", "Carolina in My Mind" and "Rainy Day Man". McCartney and an uncredited George Harrison guested on "Carolina in My Mind", whose lyric holy host of others standing around me made reference to the Beatles, while the title phrase of Taylor's "Something in the Way She Moves" provided the starting point for Harrison's classic "Something".[5][7] (Coincidentally, Taylor has said he had meant for the song to be called "I Feel Fine" - after a dominant line in the chorus - but the title had already been taken by a Beatles song.) Taylor also recorded a very early version of "Fire and Rain", which would be his breakthrough hit on his second album, but Asher did not choose it for the album release.[8]
The album was released by Apple Records in December 1968 in the UK and February 1969 in the US.[1] Critical reaction was generally good, including a very positive Jon Landau review in Rolling Stone that said "this album is the coolest breath of fresh air I've inhaled in a good long while. It knocks me out."[6] The record's commercial potential suffered from Taylor's inability to promote it due to his hospitalization for drug addiction and it sold poorly.[1] "Carolina in My Mind" b/w "Something's Wrong" was released as a single in the UK (APPLE 32) in February 1969, but failed to chart.[1] It was released as a single in US (Apple 1805) in March 1969, but only reached #118 in the US.[1]
Because of the difficulty of obtaining licensing rights from Apple during the 1970s, "Something in the Way She Moves" and "Carolina in My Mind" were re-recorded in 1976 for Taylor's Greatest Hits album.

  • "Don't Talk Now" – 2:36
  • "Something's Wrong" – 3:00
  • "Knocking 'Round the Zoo" – 3:26
  • "Sunshine Sunshine" – 3:30
  • "Taking It In" – 3:01
  • "Something in the Way She Moves" – 2:26
  • "Carolina in My Mind" – 3:36
  • "Brighten Your Night With My Day" – 3:05
  • "Night Owl" – 3:38
  • "Rainy Day Man" (Taylor, Wiesner) – 3:00
  • "Circle Round the Sun" (Traditional arr. Taylor) – 3:24
  • "Blues Is Just a Bad Dream" – 3:42

James Taylor – guitar, vocals
Peter Asher – percussion, vocals
Louis Cennamo – bass
George Harrison – vocals on "Carolina in My Mind" (uncredited)
Richard Hewson – strings, bassoon, oboe
Skaila Kanga – harp
Paul McCartney – Fender Jazz bass, guitar, vocals on "Carolina in My Mind"
Bishop O'Brien – drums, percussion
Freddie Redd – keyboards
Don Shinn – keyboards (misspelled "Schinn")
Mick Wayne – guitar

I love his version of "Circle Round the Sun": (starts around 31:24)

Now, I love my baby, and she's bound to love me some.
Yes, I love my baby, and she's bound to love me some.
Now, she throws her arms around me just like a circle around the sun, yeah yeah.

I lay down last night just to try to take my rest.
I said I lay down last night, Lord, I was trying to take my rest.
But my thoughts they just kept wandering just like them wild geese in the west, babe.

Now I know that sunrise, sunrise, it's gonna shine in my back yard someday.
I said I know that sunrise, sunrise, sunrise, it's gonna shine in my back yard someday.
And that wind's just bound to rise up, gonna blow, blow all my blues away, hey, hey, hey,

I love my baby and she's bound to love me some.
Hear me say that I love my baby, and she's bound to love me some.
Now, she throws her arms around me just like a circle around the sun.

what?  so i need a little eye candy. i'm only human.

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