It wasn’t just Carolina in James Taylor’s mind

“When [James] Taylor was three, in 1951, his family — led by his father, Isaac, a doctor educated in Boston, and his mother, Trudy — had returned to the state where Isaac was born, North Carolina. Isaac had accepted a job as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

“On the surface, their new home in Chapel Hill was idyllic: eight rooms, 25 acres, a hammock in the backyard. Music was everywhere. An upright piano took up residence in the living room; in the kitchen, the Taylor kids — oldest brother Alex, followed by James, Livingston, Hugh, and Kate — would pull out cans from the cupboards and break spontaneously into the jingles for each product. The chil­dren would sing sea shanties, Woody Guthrie songs and sing-along favorites like ‘On Top of Old Smoky’ …  James took cello lessons, briefly played in Chapel Hill’s first Young People’s Orchestra and performed once with the North Carolina Symphony, playing the ballad ‘Blue Bells of Scotland’….

“The sense that they were in the South but ‘of the North,’ as James recalled, led him to feel isolated early; summers in Massachusetts only intensified those feelings.

“Even a hundred years after the Civil War, Taylor felt in his bones the difference between Southerners and, he re­called, ‘Yankees and outsiders,’ and he was caught between them.”

— From “Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970” by David Browne (2012) Hat tip, delanceyplacecom

Taylor is scheduled for two performances during Democratic National Convention week, the latter as President Obama’s warmup act at Bank of America Stadium.


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