The beginning of 1971 saw James Taylor start work on his third album, and by now he had become very popular, having scored a Top 10 album (in both the US and UK) and a #3 hit single. He was one of the most successful of the new breed of California-based singer-songwriters, with his mellow, radio-friendly style. He even earned himself a Time magazine cover story.
Mud Slide Slim & The Blue Horizon came out in March, and became another massive critical success. Among the backing musicians featured were fiddler Richard Greene, bluegrass musician John Hartford, Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love of The Memphis Horns, bassist Leland Sklar, drummer Russ Kunkel and guitarist Danny Kortchmar. Kortchmar also contributed "Machine Gun Kelly", one of the two songs featured not penned by Taylor. The other was Carol King's "You've Got A Friend", which featured backing vocals from both King and Joni Mitchell. King's own version (with the same musicians) had been released just a month before on her Tapestry album. However it was Taylor's version that became the hit, as it got to #1 and gave both him and King a Grammy each.
A second single, "Long Ago And Far Away", got to #31. The album itself got to #2 (just held off the #1 spot by Tapestry!) and set Taylor's success in stone.
Sweet Baby James (1970) <|> One Man Dog (1972)
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