Joni and JT: “You can close your eyes”

October 31, 2023 • 1:25 pm

I found the blurb below on Facebook, with a link, and how could I resist listening to a duet by two of my favorite singers?  Well, if you follow the link you can hear part of the song “You Can Close Your Eyes“, a lullaby written by James Taylor and released in 1971, the year I graduated from college. There’s a long Wikipedia entry on it which notes this:

 It was initially recorded by his sister Kate Taylor for her 1971 album Sister Kate. The song has been covered by many artists, including Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Maureen McGovern, Richie Havens, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Eddie Vedder with Natalie Maines, and the King’s Singers.


Here’s a rare live duet between Taylor and Carly Simon (you might remember that they were married for a while—9 years—but are no longer speaking):


But you can hear the whole Mitchell/Taylor duet below, with the notes and a place to buy the well-known Joni Mitchell archives, which are coming out gradually:

. . . . recorded on In Concert, BBC at the Paris Theatre in London in 1970. “You Can Close Your Eyes” along with the entire BBC performance will be available on November 12 as part of JONI MITCHELL ARCHIVES VOL. 2: THE REPRISE YEARS (1968-1971). Pre-order your copy here

BBC live recordings are always the best. And I find this version much better than the one above; for one thing, Joni harmonizes better with JT than Carly.  Also, there’s some nice patter and tuning-up before this one. It’s lovely: two great singer/songwriters/instrumentalists at their best (Joni doesn’t play guitar on this one).  The song has melodic echoes of “Carolina On My Mind.”

You can see Taylor singing it solo in 1971, also for the BBC, here.

8 thoughts on “Joni and JT: “You can close your eyes”

  1. OMG. I love that song. We heard James Taylor and Carole King perform it live in Seattle a few years ago. Brings tears to my eyes.

  2. OMG, Ceiling Cat. Thank you for sharing this song. I’ve downloaded some of the versions on Spotify and am listening with my headphones on repeat! LOVE THIS SONG! (Carly Simon looks like she’s completely in love in the video, BTW.)

  3. This is one of the the greatest songs of that era. Note though: except for when they riff a little right at the end, it’s JT doing the harmonies. Joni is singing the melody.

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