How Apple Records Brought Us James Taylor

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James Taylor - Apple Records

James Taylor – Apple Records

[pullquote quote=”Many of these songs are ones which James still sings and plays live and it is interesting to compare these early versions we did so long ago.” credit=”Peter Asher”]In 1968, a shy, soft-spoken 20 year old singer-songwriter whose band, The Flying Machine, had just broken up, traveled from his home in New York to London for some fresh inspiration. His friend and former band-mate, Danny, used to play back-up for 60’s pop group, Peter & Gordon, and he knew a man named Peter Asher, who was the head of A&R for a new label being formed by the Beatles. That was a nice connection for James Taylor and after one phone call, had a meeting with Asher to play him his demo.

Asher was blown away by his style that combined folk with an R&B groove. “The guitar parts had the elegance of classical Spanish guitar playing but used occasional jazz chords,” he said of Taylor’s demo. Peter not only offered to sign him to Apple Records, he invited him to live in his home when he realized James had no where to stay.

Peter helped James put together a band, and introduced him to the Beatles. Paul McCartney played bass on “Carolina in My Mind,” and Peter produced. The album, James Taylor, was released in December, 1968.

Carolina In My Mind, from a BBC TV Show

[photogallerylink id=92751 align=right]Working with Asher provided the focus that James needed to turn his career and his life around. Although he became a better guitar player while working in New York with The Flying Machine, the strange characters and the drug scene in Greenwich Village was a bad influence on young James. Of Asher, James said, “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.”

This album laid the groundwork for 1970’s Sweet Baby James on Warner Bros. and the global success that followed. He and Peter Asher remain friends to this day. “Many of these songs are ones which James still sings and plays live and it is interesting to compare these early versions we did so long ago,” says Asher of this first album. “James’ voice sounds both higher in tone and more tremulous than it does today. For anyone who came to James’ music later in life there may be a certain fascination in hearing where it all began.”


Something in the Way She Moves

James Taylor

Release UK: December 6, 1968
Release US: February 17, 1969

Track Titles

1.    Don’t Talk Now
2.    Something’s Wrong
3.    Knocking ‘Round The Zoo
4.    Sunshine Sunshine
5.    Taking It In
6.    Something In The Way She Moves
7.    Carolina In My Mind
8.    Brighten Your Night With My Day
9.    Night Owl
10.    Rainy Day Man
11.    Circle ‘Round The Sun
12.    The Blues Is Just A Bad Dream
13.    Sunny Skies (CD Bonus)
14.    Let Me Ride (CD Bonus)
15.    Sunshine Sunshine (CD Bonus)
16.    Carolina In My Mind (CD Bonus)

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