Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon

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Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
James Taylor - Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 16, 1971 (1971-03-16)
RecordedJanuary 3 – February 28, 1971 (1971-01-03 – 1971-02-28)
StudioCrystal Sound Studios, Los Angeles
GenrePop rock[1]
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerPeter Asher
James Taylor chronology
James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine
Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
One Man Dog
Singles from Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
  1. "You've Got a Friend"
    Released: May 1971
  2. "Long Ago and Far Away"
    Released: 1971

Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter James Taylor, recorded and released in 1971.

Release and promotion[edit]

Released on March 16, 1971, the album 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. 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"; the song later earned Grammy Awards both for Taylor (Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male) and King (Song of the Year). Mud Slide Slim 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".

Critical reception[edit]

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[3]
MusicHound Rock3/5[4]
Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[5]

Reviewing for Rolling Stone in 1971, Ben Gerson found the album to be a "dull listening" the first few times: "Once the melodies begin to sink in, and the LP's raison d'etre is discovered, the album's subtle tensions begin to appear. And while the album at this point makes for pleasant, absorbing listening, there is a terrible weariness to it which is part of its artistic statement."[6]

Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was more critical of Taylor's songwriting. "Having squandered most of the songs on his big success, he's concentrating on the intricate music", Christgau wrote, finding the lyrics "more onanistic than ever, escapist as a matter of conscious thematic decision. From what? you well may wonder. From success, poor fella. Blues singers lived on the road out of economic necessity, although they often got into it; Taylor is an addict, pure and simple. A born-rich nouveau star who veers between a 'homestead on the farm' (what does he raise there, hopes?) and the Holiday Inn his mean old existential dilemma compels him to call home deserves the conniving, self-pitying voice that is his curse. Interesting, intricate, unlistenable."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by James Taylor unless otherwise noted.

Side one
  1. "Love Has Brought Me Around" – 2:41
  2. "You've Got a Friend" (Carole King) – 4:28
  3. "Places in My Past" – 2:01
  4. "Riding on a Railroad" – 2:41
  5. "Soldiers" – 1:13
  6. "Mud Slide Slim" – 5:20
Side two
  1. "Hey Mister, That's Me up on the Jukebox" – 3:46
  2. "You Can Close Your Eyes" – 2:31
  3. "Machine Gun Kelly" (Danny Kortchmar) – 2:37
  4. "Long Ago and Far Away" – 2:20
  5. "Let Me Ride" – 2:42
  6. "Highway Song" – 3:51
  7. "Isn't It Nice to Be Home Again" – 0:55



  • Producer – Peter Asher
  • Engineer – Richard Sanford Orshoff
  • Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
  • Liner Artwork – Laurie Miller
  • Cover Photography – Ethan Russell


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1971) Position
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[7] 4
Norwegian Albums Chart[8] 17
UK Albums Chart[9] 4
U.S. Billboard Top LPs & Tapes[10] 2

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1971) Position
U.S. Billboard Pop Albums[11] 27


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[12] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon - James Taylor | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2004.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via
  4. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 1125. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Coleman, Mark; Edmonds, Ben (2004). "James Taylor". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 804–805. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Portions posted at "James Taylor > Album Guide". Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  6. ^ Gerson, Ben (June 24, 1971). "James Taylor Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon > Album Review". Rolling Stone (85). Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2006.
  7. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 15, No. 18" (PHP). RPM. June 19, 1971. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  8. ^ " James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim". Archived from the original (ASP) on May 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  9. ^ "James Taylor > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  10. ^ "AllMusic: Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1971". Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-17.
  12. ^ "American album certifications – James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]