This week I am representing my home with a Boston born artist. I also thought the song was a good fit because I think all of us here in the North East, who are finally starting to see grass again, are dreaming about warmer weather and destinations.
James Taylor was born in Boston, but was actually raised mainly in North Carolina. This upbringing is the obvious inspiration for tonight’s track, Carolina In My Mind.
Caroling In My Mind was first released on Jame’s self-titled debut album in 1968. My recording of the tune is from my copy of the his 1976 Greatest Hits album. Taylor started working on the track while overseas, first while in London recording for Apple Records, and then continuing to record in various locations abroad. The tune reflects the homesickness that James was feeling at the time, and also sheds light on his struggle with drug addiction. This struggle was the ultimate reason the song did not get as much recognition as it should have when it debuted. Taylor could not focus on promoting the album as he continued to battle personal demons. The 1976 version is actually a re-recording as it was too difficult to get the licensing rights from Apple, as Taylor was now under the Warner Bros. umbrella.
The beauty of the song can be best defined by the words of James himself:
“Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people.” – taken from James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away by Timothy White
So while he may not be 100% pure Bostonian ( although he did attend boarding school in Milton and vacationed for years on Martha’s Vineyard, and then there was the stint at McLean’s…) we the people of the finest city in the North East ( I would say anywhere, but then again I haven’t traveled much) will not fault him for desiring a more temperate climate.