Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon is James Taylor's third album. Released in March 1971 as the follow-up to his commercial breakthrough and critical triumph, Sweet Baby James, it almost equaled the acclaim and surpassed the success of its predecessor at the time of its release. It contains Taylor's biggest hit single in the US, a version of the Carole King standard "You've Got a Friend", which became his only #1 on the Billboard charts on July 31, 1971. The week before, the album itself reached its peak position of #2 in the Billboard album charts (the highest position achieved by Taylor in this list during his career). It was held off the top spot by King, then ruling the charts with the blockbuster Tapestry album, which contained her version of "You've Got a Friend". (Taylor also worked with King on her album and appears on several tracks performing acoustic guitar and backing vocals.)
Months later, the album managed to generate another Top 40 hit, "Long Ago and Far Away", which reached #31 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other songs became standards in concert, particularly "You Can Close Your Eyes".