N.p. N.p., 1966. Original manuscript for a draft of legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor's early song, "Knockin' Around the Zoo," composed shortly after his stay at the Belmont Psychiatric Hospital for severe depression when he was 17 years old. To the best of our knowledge, this is the earliest known handwritten Taylor lyric to have ever appeared for sale.
The lyric was written out by Taylor for John Herald, who was playing in Taylor's early, short-lived band, The Flying Machine, during recording sessions for Euphoria Records. The unfinished tracks from those sessions, little more than demos, were shelved until 1971, when they were released by Euphoria as "James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine," after the success of Taylor’s 1970 solo album "Sweet Baby James." “Knockin' Around the Zoo" is a droll but angry look at Taylor's depression and subsequent hospitalization at a mental institution, a theme later made poignant in Taylor’s breakout hit "Fire and Rain" from that album. The holograph additions made in this particular manuscript are present in both recorded versions of the song, which also appears on Taylor's first solo record, "James Taylor" (Apple Records, 1968). Other lines in this draft do not appear on either version of the song, and are unique to this manuscript. A historically important and unique piece from one of the greatest and most influential singer-songwriters in rock history.
John Herald is a legendary folk musician whose roots go back to the late 1950s bluegrass scene. He was a major player in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s, where he attended jam sessions with the likes of Bob Dylan, Rory Block and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. In addition to the long-term association with his band The Greenbriar Boys, he has recorded with Jack Elliott and Doc Watson, managed bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, and written songs recorded by Linda Rondstadt, Jonathan Edwards, Maria Muldaur and Joan Baez.
8 x10 inches, somewhat worn and slightly foxed manuscript lyric sheet hand-printed in lined paper in bold pencil, with several holograph corrections. Letter of provenance from John Herald included. In a custom quarter-leather clamshell box.