New in the collection: James Taylor benefit pinback

Pinback button with image of a sheep with green wool and the words "Keep the Sheep Meadow Green, The James Taylor Concert.'

“He endured his share of critical and commercial setbacks during a fallow stretch in the middle of the decade, but by the end of the ’70s James Taylor was undeniably one of the biggest rock stars on the planet – and he capped his remarkable run on July 31, 1979, when he played to a packed crowd during a free concert in New York City’s Central Park.

“The show, held to help raise funds and awareness for a campaign to restore the park’s Sheep Meadow to its former glory, came in the midst of a summer tour to promote Taylor’s ninth LP, Flag….”

— From “When James Taylor Played to 250,000 in Central Park” by Jeff Giles at (July 31, 2014)

New in the collection: James Taylor concert for Clinton

Poster for James Taylor concert showing a red, white and blue butterfly

“In the waning days of the presidential campaign, surrogates for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have fanned out all over. One is troubadour James Taylor, who, with his wife, Kim, has made over 60 appearances for Clinton….”
— From “James Taylor still on campaign trail” by Mark Shanahan in the Boston Globe (Nov. 3, 2016)

For an “intimate performance” at a Clinton supporter’s home this was a typical tab:

Fighter: $2,700 (includes ticket to the show).

Champion: $10,000 (includes photo with James Taylor).

Host: $27,000 (must contribute or raise that much, includes reception and photo with Taylor).

This poster, 12 by 17 inches, was issued for two California performances.

Taking a look at James Taylor’s Jewish influences

“While [James] Taylor is known mostly for writing his own songs… he has turned to numerous Jewish songwriting duos for material, including Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (‘My Romance’), Burt Bacharach and Hal David (‘[The Man Who Shot] Liberty Valance’) and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (‘Hound Dog’).

“Of Scottish heritage himself, and a native New Englander who grew up mostly in North Carolina, Taylor… has surrounded himself in his adult life with Jewish musicians, friends and collaborators, most notably his first wife, Carly Simon….”

— From “The Secret Jewish History of James Taylor” by


Not all 66-year-olds depend on Social Security check

“How Much Does It Cost to Book Your Favorite Band?” asks Priceonomics (May 16) — and by golly it has the answers, thanks to a booking-agency list provided by an anonymous source. These numbers don’t include expenses and seem only ballpark-reliable, but of course the North Carolinians caught my eye….

James Taylor:  $1 million plus

Avett Brothers:  $175,000 to $250,000

Clay Aiken:  $85,000 to $100,000 plus [stump speech included?]

Kellie Pickler: $60,000 to $80,000

Ben Folds: $40,000 to $50,000

Charlie Daniels Band: $40,000 to $50,000

George Clinton:  $20,000 to $25,000

Tallying Tar Heels on Time covers (cont.)

In addition to the previously mentioned  “Uncle Joe” Cannon (1923), Henry L. Stevens Jr. (1932) and Frank McNinch (1938), these Time magazine cover subjects are among those with various degrees of rootedness in North Carolina:

Wallace Wade, Duke football coach (1937). The cover line, noting the South’s newfound football prowess, was classic Timespeak: “Southward the course of history takes its way.”

Ava Gardner (1951).

Billy Graham (1954). Graham would repeat in 1993 (“A Christian in Winter: Billy Graham at 75”), in 1996 with son Franklin Graham (“The Prodigal Son”) and in 2007 (“The Political Confessions of Billy Graham”).

Althea Gibson, tennis player born in Silver, S.C., and reared as a teenager in Wilmington (1957).

Bowman Gray, chairman of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (1960). Check out the illustration.

James Taylor (1971).

Sam Ervin (1973). The first of more than two dozen Watergate covers in coming months.

Jesse Helms (1981). “To the right, march!”

Stanley Pons of Valdese, supposed “cold fusion” discoverer, with colleague Martin Fleischmann (1989). “Fusion or illusion?”

Elizabeth Dole with Hillary Clinton (1996). “Who would be better First Lady?”

Michael Jordan (1998). “We may never see his likes again” — followed a year later by “The world’s biggest superstar calls it quits.”

John Edwards with John Kerry (2004).


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.

Link dump survives another week on ‘Idol’

— “Like no-one else’s, Mr. Taylor’s music distills a primal American yearning that can never be completely satisfied….”

Descendant adds color to “Arrangement in Black and White.”

— “He will not be hanged until the mail train comes through tomorrow.”

Lost Cause was lost on W. J. Cash.

— “We left Wilmington… to witness and, if allowed, to participate in the bombardment of Fort Sumter”….  Road trip!