- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the James Taylor (Stereo) LP.
- Timeline More from year 1968
- Trident Studios, London, UK
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“James Taylor“, the self-titled debut studio album by American singer-songwriter James Taylor, was recorded from July to October 1968, at Trident Studios. It is not known when “Carolina In My Mind“, featuring Paul McCartney on bass, was recorded.
The original recording of the song was done at London’s Trident Studios during the July to October 1968 period, and was produced by Asher. The song’s lyric “holy host of others standing around me” makes reference to the Beatles, who were recording The Beatles in the same studio where Taylor was recording his album. Indeed, the recording of “Carolina in My Mind” includes a credited appearance by Paul McCartney on bass guitar and an uncredited one by George Harrison on backing vocals. The other players were Freddie Redd on organ, Joel “Bishop” O’Brien on drums, and Mick Wayne providing a second guitar alongside Taylor’s. Taylor and Asher also did backing vocals and Asher added a tambourine. Richard Hewson arranged and conducted a string part; an even more ambitious 30-piece orchestra part was recorded but not used. The song itself earned critical praise, with Jon Landau’s April 1969 review for Rolling Stone calling it “beautiful” and one of the “two most deeply affecting cuts” on the album and praising McCartney’s bass playing as “extraordinary”. Taylor biographer Timothy White calls the song “the album’s quiet masterpiece.” In a 50-years-later retrospective of the album’s release, Billboard calls the song “a mellow Taylor classic” and a “stone-classic”.
The business aspects got sorted and we went into Trident Studios in St. Anne’s Court in Soho to make the record. The studio was owned by the Sheffield brothers – Norman ran the place and Barry was the engineer, James’ friend, the exceptional American drummer Joel “Bishop” O’Brien, was in London too and joined us in the studio. Musicians were coming and going. From our Melody Maker ad we had found Louis Cennamo to play bass and Don Schinn to play keyboards. While, in retrospect, I think the album could fairly be described as “over-produced”, I was so anxious to make everyone pay attention to there remarkable songs and the genius of James’ musicianship that I suggested a lot of overdubs. Paul McCartney joined us to play bass on “Carolina In My Mind” (James recalls George Harrison contributed backing vocals but I don’t remember that). I enlisted my friend Richard Hewson (a jazz trumpeter and brilliant composer) to write arrangements for the songs and for the “links” we constructed to fill the music interstices.Peter Asher – producer – From the liner notes of “James Taylor (2010 remaster)“
Even though Peter [Asher] was working for Paul McCartney, he was still in total control of his own destiny. I knew from the first time that we met that he was the right person to steer my career. He has this determination in his eye that I had never seen in anyone before.Jame Taylor – about Peter Asher – From the liner notes of “James Taylor (2010 remaster)“
Musicians on "Carolina in My Mind"