James Vernon Taylor was born in BostonMarch 12, 1948, where his father, Isaac_M.Taylor worked as a resident physician. His mother, the former Gertrude Woodard (1921-2015), studied singing with Marie Sundelius at the New_England_Conservatory_of_Music and was an aspiring opera singer. James was the second of five children. In 1951, his family moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They built a house in the Morgan Creek area off the present Morgan Creek Road.
James first learned to play the cello as a child in North Carolina and switched to the guitar in 1960. His guitar style evolved, influenced by hymns and carols and the music of Woody Guthrie, and his technique derived from his bass clef oriented cello training and from experimenting on his sister Kate's keyboards: "My style was a finger-picking style that was meant to be like a piano, as if my thumb were my left hand, and my first, second, and third fingers were my right hand."
He started going to school at Milton Academy in Massachusetts in fall 1961. Summering before then with his family on Martha's Vineyard where he met Danny Kortchmar, an aspiring teenage guitarist from Larchmont, New York. The two began listening to and playing blues and folk music together.Taylor wrote his first song on guitar at 14, and he continued to learn the instrument effortlessly. By the summer of 1963, he and Kortchmar were playing coffeehouses around the Vineyard, billed as "Jamie & Kootch". The rest is history.
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Don't Let me be Lonely Tonight
Carolina on my Mind
Sweet Baby James
You've Got a Friend
Up on the Roof
Shower the People
Everybody has the Blues