James Taylor (debut album)


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James Taylor (1968)

”James Taylor” is the self-titled debut solo album of James Taylor. It is often referred to as ”The Apple Album”.

Recorded at Trident Studios in London from July to October 1968, in between sessions for ”The Beatles” (also known as ”The White Album”), it was the first non-Beatles album released by Apple Records and included a musical cameo by Paul McCartney on “Carolina In My Mind”. George Harrison also provided uncredited background vocals on the song. The album marks the beginning of Taylor’s long collaboration with Peter Asher. Through Asher, Taylor was the first artist signed to Apple Records. Former Flying Machine bandmate Joel “Bishop” O’Brien provided drums.

Unlike any other James Taylor album, the recording includes musical links to many of the tracks and heavy orchestration arranged and conducted by Richard Hewson, who was brought in at Paul McCartney’s suggestion. Three of the seven links do not include Hewson’s involvement. A shortened version of “Greensleeves” arranged and played by Taylor links the first and second songs. A harpsichord link arranged and played by Don Schinn appears between “Taking It In” and “Something In the Way She Moves”. And a percussion link arranged and played by O’Brien, Taylor and Asher transitions “Night Owl” into “Rainy Day Man”.

Despite the Beatles connection and some critical praise at the time of its original release, the album originally sold poorly due to uncoordinated marketing. Taylor’s own promotional efforts were limited; he returned to the United States and entered himself into a drug rehabilitation center in Massachusetts. When the success of “Fire and Rain” followed in 1970, the album and the single of “Carolina In My Mind” enjoyed a resurgence.

A single of “Carolina In My Mind” backed with “Taking It In” was released in the UK in February 1969 but failed to chart. The US version was cancelled in favor of an alternate B-side, “Something’s Wrong”, which peaked at #118 in April 1969. A 1970 re-release reached #67. The album peaked at #62 on the Pop Album charts in 1970. ”James Taylor” was digitally remastered in February 1991 and re-released on compact disc by EMI Records later that same year.

Label: Apple Release dates: December 6, 1968 (UK); February 17, 1969 (US)

Producer: Peter Asher

Length: 38:30

Tracklist:

1. Don’t Talk Now (James Taylor)

2. Something’s Wrong (James Taylor)

3. Knocking ‘Round the Zoo (James Taylor)

4. Sunshine Sunshine (James Taylor)

5. Taking It In (James Taylor)

6. Something In the Way She Moves (James Taylor)

7. Carolina In My Mind (James Taylor)

8. Brighten Your Night With My Day (James Taylor)

9. Night Owl (James Taylor)

10. Rainy Day Man (James Taylor, Zachary Wiesner)

11. Circle Round the Sun (Traditional, arranged by James Taylor)

12. The Blues is Just a Bad Dream (James Taylor)

 

 

Musicians: James Taylor – vocals, guitars, electric guitar, percussion, clapping

Aeolian String Quartet – strings

Amici String Quartet – strings

Peter Asher – backing vocals, percussion, tambourine, clapping

Louis Cennamo – bass

George Harrison – backing vocals (uncredited)

Richard Hewson – bassoon, oboe, arranger & conducter (strings, brass, screams)

Skaila Kanga – harp

Paul McCartney – bass

Joel “Bishop” O’Brien – drums, percussion

Freddie Redd – organ

Don Schinn – harpsichord, organ, electric piano

Mick Wayne – second guitar

Additional personnel:

Peter Asher: producer

Ron Furmanek: digital re-mastering

Richard Imrie: cover photography

Mike Jarratt: digital re-mastering

Steve Kolanjian: liner notes & discography

Barry Sheffield: balance engineer

Malcolm Toft: balance engineer

 

Singles:

Carolina In My Mind / Taking It In – February 1969 (UK)

Carolina In My Mind / Something’s Wrong – April 1969 (US) – #67 Pop Singles 1970