Signs that might be omens say I’m going, going

It was the first recording by a non-British artist on Apple Records and it was called, quite simply, James Taylor.  Beset by heroin addiction and clinical depression, the then-unknown Taylor had been signed-on by Peter Asher who, in 1968, was head of A&R (artists and repertoire) for the new label.

Once part of the English duo, Peter and Gordon, it was Asher’s incredible fortune to be the older brother of Jane, who was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend in the mid-‘60s.  As a result Peter and Gordon ended up with a number of Lennon-McCartney discards, including their biggest hit, “World Without Love”.  After the duo disbanded Asher, who read philosophy at King’s College London (shameless plug), went on to Apple Records.

Upon signing Taylor, Asher agreed to produce the album (and perform as a backup vocalist as well) and although it wasn’t a commercial success he had such faith in the young American’s potential that he moved to the States and became his manager.  Asher also produced many of Taylor’s recordings between 1970 and 1985, beginning with “Sweet Baby James”.

Produced at Trident Studio, then the most technologically advanced studio in England, “James Taylor” was recorded using session time that had been booked by the Beatles, who were then recording “The White Album.” Paul McCartney and George Harrison showed particular interest in what Taylor was doing… and Taylor, of course, was mindful of them.

So much so that he changed the name of one of the songs from the original “I Feel Fine” (also the name of the Beatle’s eighth single) to “Something in the Way She Moves.” Irony of ironies the retitled song then served as the starting point for the first (and most successful) Beatle’s track that Harrison ever wrote.  Note Taylor’s song title, and then think of the first line to Harrison’s “Something.”

McCartney and Harrison also guested on this number, which poignantly refers to Taylor’s affliction but also includes the line “with a holy host of others standing ’round me,” referring to the Beatles in the room. Mainly however, “Carolina in My Mind” refers to his increasing homesickness for the tranquil Piedmont where he spent his formative years, a sentiment that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Although born in Boston, James Taylor was raised in Chapel Hill, where his father was dean of UNC’s School of Medicine and every year the UNC graduating class sings it during commencement.  In fact, nearly a half a century after those days when he felt as if he was on “the dark side of the moon,” the song is recognized as the Tarheel State’s unofficial anthem. And no surprise, it’s a favorite of the neighboring Palmetto State too.

 LISTEN TO THIS SONG – Tuesday 5 March

Carolina in My Mind

 In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina

Can’t you see the sunshine?

Can’t you just feel the moonshine?

Ain’t it just like a friend of mine

To hit me from behind

Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

Karen she’s a silver sun

You best walk her way and watch it shine

Watch her watch the mornin’ come

A silver tear appearing now I’m cryin’ ain’t I?

I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

 There ain’t no doubt in no one’s mind

That love’s the finest thing around

Whisper something soft and kind

And hey babe the sky’s on fire, I’m dyin’ ain’t I?

I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina

Can’t you see the sunshine?

Can’t you just feel the moonshine?

Ain’t it just like a friend of mine

To hit me from behind

Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

 Dark and silent late last night

I think I might have heard the highway call

Geese in flight and dogs that bite

Signs that might be omens say I’m going, going

Gone to Carolina in my mind

Now with a holy host of others standing ’round me

Still I’m on the dark side of the moon

And it looks like it goes on like this forever

You must forgive me

If it’s up and…

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina

Can’t you see the sunshine?

Can’t you just feel the moonshine?

And ain’t it just like a friend of mine

To hit me from behind

Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

 In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina

Can’t you see the sunshine?

Can’t you just feel the moonshine?

Ain’t it just like a friend of mine

To hit me from behind

Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

 Better make it back home again soon

Gotta’ get back to Carolina soon

Gotta’ make it back on home again soon

Gotta’ get back to Carolina soon

Carolina yeah

Gotta’ get back home soon

Can’t hang around no more, babe

Gotta’ get back on home again….

One thought on “Signs that might be omens say I’m going, going

  1. One of my favorite songs ever….”ain’t no doubt in no one’s mind that love’s the finest thing around, whisper something soft and kind”….that’s good advice.

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