james_taylor_james_taylor_1968#6 – James Taylor – “Carolina In My Mind” – (1968)

James Taylor recorded his first album on Apple Records. That means he had to audition to the Beatles to get his first record contract. No pressure. This was his first single about his homesickness (even though he is from Boston) and it has sort of become an anthem for North Carolina.

James_Taylor_-_Sweet_Baby_James#10– James Taylor – “Sweet Baby James” – (1970)

One of James Taylor’s best songs, this was also the name of his second studio album. It was the album’s first single but it never charted – yet it is still one of his most loved songs. It was not written about himself, though, but rather his nephew and it’s pretty much just straight lullaby.

James_Taylor_-_Mud_Slide_Slim_and_the_Blue_Horizon#10 – James Taylor – “You’ve Got a Friend” – (1971)

This James Taylor #1 hit was written by Carole King, who is more or less the female equivalent of James Taylor. Or is James Taylor the male equivalent of Carole King? It won two Grammy awards and remains one of James Taylor’s most popular and beloved songs. 

jt#8 – James Taylor – “Your Smiling Face” – (1977)

James Taylor: king of soft rock. But not like 1980s-kinda-sappy-soft-rock. But like actually really good music. He’s a fantastic singer. It only reached #20 on the Hot 100, but peaked at #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Fun fact: James Taylor was the first non-British singer signed to Apple Records. That’s right, to get his first record contract as a solo artist, he had to audition for The Beatles. Also: this song is lovely.

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends – Songs of Joy & Peace – (2008)

No one can sanely argue that Yo-Yo Ma isn’t one of the greatest musicians around – of any kind. This album is primarily a Christmas album but there are covers of other songs, notably Ma & James Taylor doing the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” My picks for the album are “Panxoliña: A Galician Carol” (with Cristina Pato) and “A Christmas Jig/Mouth of the Tobique Reel” (with Natalie MacMaster). The album is very interesting and incorporates sounds from all over the world and is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.