My Life Under the Covers – “Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor

My Life Under the Covers

By Mary Scholz


Song Two:

“Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of James Taylor is my Dad. He always loved singing along in the car wherever we were headed. Like Amy Grant, I don’t remember the first time I heard one of JT’s songs, but they are intertwined in so many of my childhood memories.


Ah, childhood memories.  This one brings me back to the summer, too.


I have various events in mind, the first one being my very first concert, which was at the E Center in Camden, New Jersey (now the Tweeter Center).  I remember sitting on a blanket on the grass enjoying our lawn seats and watching the people all around. It was most definitely the start of my insatiable need to be at big events – I love the communal feeling of hundreds of people gathering together in the name of a mutual love (usually music) and kicking back and relaxing. Or not relaxing for that matter. Dancing, laughing, protesting (depending on the large event I was attending – I just love to be amidst the power of a gathering of people.) Live 8 was incredible for me (Philadelphia, 2005) – thousands of people gathered to listen to music and raise awareness of world issues? Bring it ON.


But back to the E Center…I remember feeling bad for my Dad who shuffled off a number of times to buy food or drinks for us three kids while my Mom kept an eye on us – we were so young! I knew that he was the one who wanted to sit and listen the most, even though he never said a word of complaint.


I also remember loving to listen to him sing, and loving how my Mom’s response would be “if you had pursued singing you’d be famous like James.” People love to hear my Dad sing. He cantors at our church every Sunday and is always greeted afterword by warm comments from congregation members about how they love knowing he’ll be the one going up to lead the song.


He plays the guitar like JT too – always so protective of that beautiful old Martin he has.  Dad (and Mom) bought me my first guitar (a Takamene), taught me how to string it and tune it, and showed me some of his tricks.


The reason I selected “Carolina in My Mind” is because as a kid (from maybe the 4th to the 7th grade) we would vacation in North or South Carolina, depending on the year. We always drove, and many of those long hours were filled with sing-a-longs. Most vividly I remember singing with every James Taylor album and the soundtrack to the animated Disney movie “Tarzan.” It’s the reason for the line I wrote in my own song, “Find Myself,” which reads as follows:

“Carolina, where have you gone?

Nights when the moonbeams shined so strong

And all of my days were filled with song…”


FUN FACTS about “Carolina in My Mind”:
James Taylor wrote and recorded this song in 1968 while he was recording at Trident Studios in London for Apple Records (Label of the Beatles).  He was writing about being home sick for North Carolina.


The line “A holy host of others standing around me now” is in reference to the fact that the Beatles were recording The White Album just a few rooms over.


The original recording, released as a single and then later re-recorded for his Greatest Hits album, credits Paul McCartney on bass and George Harrison on backup vocals.




After watching the video I’m sure some of you are wondering who that other family is! Well my best friend growing up, Maggie, moved to Georgia when I was in the 5th grade. So our families would meet up in the Carolinas for vacation – it was always a total blast 🙂 Love to the Scholz and Kelly families!