SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Carolina in My Mind

The prompt from Jim:

This week we are back to something more normal, with the prompt being City, Country, County, State, Town.


James Taylor was the first non-Beatles performer to have a contract with Apple records however short-lived it would be. After the death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, the role was assumed by Allen Klein who dropped most if not all of the non-Beatles performers from the label.

“Carolina in My Mind” was recorded in 1968 and released in 1969. In this original recording, Paul McCartney played bass with the band and both Paul McCartney and George Harrison sang background vocals as well. This version is not the most familiar version of the song to most people.

Background: While the Beatles were on a recording break, the studio was shutdown and James Taylor went to a small island off the coast of Spain – Formentera. There he met a Swedish girl named Karen. They took a ferry to the island of Ibiza to explore and unfortunately missed the last ferry back to Formentera that evening. They spent the night wandering the streets and sat outside a closed cafe until the sun came up.

James Taylor said he felt a strong pull to his home of North Carolina and started writing “Carolina in My Mind” while watching the sun rise the following morning.

Here is an interview between James Taylor and Seth Meyers where he talks about how the song came to be.

My youth was split between Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Ohio, but I always think of Virginia as home. When we made the decision to retire, we ended up in a small town in North Carolina that shares many of the landscape features I enjoyed as a child growing up in Virginia.

James Taylor’s father taught at The University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They lived outside Chapel Hill which I am sure was much more rural than it is now. In this song, he writes about being homesick and missing the familiarity of his north Carolina home. He said he felt a strong pull to return.

One of the lines in the song is said to refer to the Beatles “With a holy host of others standing ’round me”. He also mentions the woman he met on the island, Karen. She must have had a great impact on him although they never met again.

The song was re-recorded in 1976 for inclusion on Taylor’s greatest hits album. In this recording, the tempo is much slower and has become the most familiar version of the song.

“Carolina in My Mind”
Lyrics from bluegrass.net

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Maybe just like a friend of mine
It 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 shinin’
Watch her watch the mornin’ come
A silver tear appearing now I’m cryin’
Ain’t I goin’ to Carolina in my mind

There ain’t no doubt it no ones mind
That loves the finest thing around
Whisper something warm and kind
And hey babe the sky’s on fire, I’m dyin’
Ain’t I 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
Maybe just like a friend of mine
It hit me from behind
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent last night
I think I might have heard the highway calling
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Signs that might be omens say I going, going
I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

With a holy host of others standing ’round me
Still I’m on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me
If I’m up and gone 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
Maybe just like a friend of mine
It hit me from behind
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.

16 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – Carolina in My Mind”

  1. He was very popular here at that time.
    Being a Londoner (originally), I suppose I should choose a song featuring that city. And one with the name in the title too.

    The Lyrics.
    London calling to the faraway towns
    Now war is declared and battle come down
    London calling to the underworld
    Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
    London calling, now don’t look to us
    Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
    London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
    Except for the ring of the truncheon thing
    The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
    Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
    Engines stop running, but I have no fear
    ‘Cause London is drowning
    I live by the river
    London calling to the imitation zone
    Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
    London calling to the zombies of death
    Quit holding out and draw another breath
    London calling and I don’t want to shout
    But while we were talking, I saw you nodding out
    London calling, see we ain’t got no high
    Except for that one with the yellowy eye
    The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
    Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
    A nuclear era, but I have no fear
    ‘Cause London is drowning
    I, I live by the river
    The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
    Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
    A nuclear era, but I have no fear
    ‘Cause London is drowning
    I, I live by the river
    Now get this
    London calling, yes, I was there, too
    And you know what they said? Well, some of it was true
    London calling at the top of the dial
    And after all this, won’t you give me a smile?
    I never felt so much alike, alike, alike, alike
    Source: LyricFind
    Songwriters: Joe Strummer / Mick Jones / Paul Simonon / Topper Headon
    London Calling lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. James was so nice to work. When he first started he was a front act at the Guthrie several times. H appreciated getting help starting and promised if he ever made it big he would come back to the G. He made it big and kept his promise. Instead of playing a big arena he did 2 shows at the much smaller G. And brought along Carly Simon. The same happened with Jim Croce, but a month before his shows at the Guthrie, he was killed in a plane crash.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James Taylor is my favorite singer/songwriter. He’s such a gentleman. Thanks for featuring this sweet song about what has become my home state.

    Like

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