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James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?

DigiTrad:
CAROLINA ON MY MIND
CLOSE YOUR EYES
FIRE AND RAIN
MILL WORKER
SHOWER THE PEOPLE
SIMON SLICK
THAT LONESOME ROAD
THAT LONESOME ROAD


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Jazzyjack 02 Dec 02 - 02:46 AM
Amos 02 Dec 02 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,misophist 02 Dec 02 - 10:22 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Dec 02 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Les B. 02 Dec 02 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,Jim 02 Dec 02 - 06:39 PM
X 02 Dec 02 - 06:43 PM
Amos 02 Dec 02 - 07:17 PM
Dani 02 Dec 02 - 07:25 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Dec 02 - 07:30 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Dec 02 - 07:42 PM
Les B 02 Dec 02 - 07:49 PM
X 02 Dec 02 - 08:02 PM
Cluin 03 Dec 02 - 12:53 AM
Cluin 03 Dec 02 - 01:13 AM
Cluin 03 Dec 02 - 01:23 AM
X 03 Dec 02 - 11:30 AM
Jazzyjack 03 Dec 02 - 02:38 PM
catspaw49 03 Dec 02 - 03:13 PM
Cluin 03 Dec 02 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,scro 30 Oct 10 - 04:26 AM
olddude 30 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,jas 31 Jul 12 - 09:59 AM
Arkie 01 Aug 12 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Aug 12 - 09:35 AM
catspaw49 01 Aug 12 - 11:12 AM
GUEST 28 Jun 14 - 10:21 PM
nigelgatherer 29 Jun 14 - 03:35 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 16 - 07:03 PM
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Subject: Copperline
From: Jazzyjack
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 02:46 AM

What the hell is this James Taylor song about ? It obviously concerns some backwoods experience growing up but what is a Hercules and a hog-nosed snake ? Does it have something to do with copper mines or am I missing something here? I do like the images in this song and like to sing it but damned if I'll perform it without uderstanding what it's all about. Help ! !


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Amos
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:52 AM

Well, there are a number of snakes which have blunted noses something like a hog. I don't know the lyrics to the song, but if post them I might be able to help.

A


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: GUEST,misophist
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 10:22 AM

A hog nosed snake is just that. As far as I know, that's always been the official name. It's a non-poisonous snake with a nose that, from the side, resembles a sled. Like the opossum, they're known for 'playing dead'. They turn on their backs to convince you they're harmless. If you turn one right side up, he;ll turn back over.

As for hercules; there's a demi-god, a missle, and a helicopter. I don't think that's it, though.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:27 PM

There is (or was, way back in the old days when I was a kid) a monster of a bike which bore the label Hercules in huge letters on the sprocket-guard. One of my friends reckoned it was because that's who you had to be to get the thing to MOVE.

Hey Jazzer - if you post the words we could all have a lot of fun trying to figure them out...


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:50 PM

I'm not sure, but I suspect a Hercules might be an ore hauling truck ?


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Subject: Lyr Add: COPPERLINE (from James Taylor)
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 06:39 PM

Copied from http://www.james-taylor.com/albums/coppline.shtml
(That page also has chords and a guitar tab.)

COPPERLINE
(R. Price, J. Taylor)

Even the old folks never knew
Why they call it like they do.
I was wondering since the age of two,
    Down on Copperline.
Copper head, copper beech,
Copper kettles sitting side by each,
Copper coil, cup o' Georgia peach,
    Down on Copperline.
Half a mile down to Morgan Creek,
Leaning heavy on the end of the week,
Hercules and a hog-nosed snake,
    Down on Copperline.
    We were down on Copperline.

One summer night on the Copperline,
Slip away past suppertime,
Wood smoke and moonshine,
    Down on Copperline.
One time I saw my daddy dance.
Watched him moving like a man in a trance.
He bought it back from the war in France,
    Down onto Copperline.
Branch water and tomato wine,
Creosote and turpentine,
Sour mash and new moonshine,
    Down on Copperline,
    Down on Copperline.

First kiss ever I took,
Like a page from a romance book.
The sky opened and the earth shook,
    Down on Copperline,
    Down on Copperline.
Took a fall from a windy height.
I only knew how to hold on tight.
And pray for love enough to last all night,
    Down on Copperline.
Day breaks and the boys wakes up,
And the dog barks and the bird sings,
And the sap rises and the angels sigh, yeah.

I tried to go back, as if I could
All spec house and plywood,
Tore up and tore up good,
    Down on Copperline.
It doesn't come as a surprise to me.
It doesn't touch my memory.
Man, I'm lifting up and rising free,
    Down on over Copperline.
Half a mile down to Morgan Creek,
I'm only living for the end of the week,
Hercules and a hog-nosed snake,
    Down on Copperline, yeah.
    Take me down on Copperline,
    Oh, down on Copperline.
    Take me down on Copperline.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: X
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 06:43 PM

Hercules is the name of a company that manufactures explosives like dynamite, which is used in copper mines.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Amos
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:17 PM

That makes sense, Hugh!! Way ta go!! The things ya learn on the Cat never fail to amaze me.


A


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Dani
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:25 PM

Well, I know he spent a lot of time growing up in Chapel Hill, NC, near where I am. There's a Morgan Creek here. I've always kind of wondered about the Copperline-line myself!

I think where'd I'd look if I were you is one of those fan pages where they analyze the hell out of their idols' songs, and someone eventually gets it right.

Or, you could ask the guy.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:30 PM

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names, which is usually pretty reliable and thorough, lists nothing called Copperline or Copper Line. Several states (but not Georgia) have a creek named Morgan Creek, so that's not much help.

Google gives about 2000 hits on "Copperline". I found several copies of the lyrics, other references to the song, a couple of bands named Copperline (named after the song, I'll bet), people with the surname Copperline, and several businesses named Copperline. But not a single place called Copperline. Did JT make it up?


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:42 PM

Hercules, Inc., formerly known as the Hercules Powder Company (click for a "collectible" reproduction advertising sign), seems to be known primarily for making gunpowder, though they also made dynamite. Click here for a history of the company.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Les B
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:49 PM

Sounds to me, from scanning the lyrics, that the song is about moonshining. I'm as puzzled by the Hog Nosed snake (although I know what they are) and the Hercules reference as Jazzyjack. I figure it's just the writer's artistic license ??


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: X
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 08:02 PM

I wonder if "Copperline" is in reference to the cooling coil on a still?


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 12:53 AM

Could be the name of his dog when he was a kid. JT's been known to pen a "personal song or two in his time.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:13 AM

Ha! It was his pooch.

See here.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:23 AM

Ah, since the link is to a Google cached page, it might disappear from their server soon, so here is the relevant paragraph:

Arriving in Chapel Hill with his family in 1951 at age three, James Taylor spent his Carolina boyhood wandering the woods along Morgan Creek, fishing from a homemade skiff his father built, and playing with his black dog, Hercules (who appeared 40 years later in "Copperline," his ode to life at Morgan Creek).


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: X
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:30 AM

Cool Cluin,

But I'd bet you already knew that bit of info before you posted it. ;o)


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Jazzyjack
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:38 PM

Wow. Thanks guys. What a great response. Taylor sure left us guessing here before we got the info about his childhood and dog. I wonder if the Copperline is part of the still ?


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 03:13 PM

JT keeps a lot of people guessing because he's mainly comatose. Thankfully, his money has enabled him to seek treatment and eventually fund a new wing at the Neil Young Center for the Terminally Screwed. Several years ago we at the Center were proud to break ground and quickly erect the the rehabilitation wing that JT himself uses as do many of his fans. As a Mudcatter you are entitled to two weeks of free treatment at anytime at both the NYCFTTS or the new wing, the James Taylor Catatonic Blandness Rehab Unit.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 08:32 PM

Banjoest.... don't bet. You'd lose. ;)


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: GUEST,scro
Date: 30 Oct 10 - 04:26 AM

'Hercules' was the name of his dog, y'all.


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Subject: RE: Copperline
From: olddude
Date: 30 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM

Taylor said himself in one interview that there is no place really he knows called copperline, just a name. I remember he did the song on a talk show and said, well there maybe a place by that name but I don't know where it could be ... it is just a song .


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: GUEST,jas
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 09:59 AM

Hercules is the name of his dog.


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: Arkie
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 09:28 AM

While I suppose that one should take James Taylor's word for there being no such place as Copperline, it has also been suggested that Copperline was a name given to a stretch along Morgan Creek by oldltimers, who I would imagine are now long gone to where ever oldtimers go. In red clay country creeks do become a little muddy after a big rain, and one might even say take on a coppery color, and if there had once been a still or two along the creek, oh well.


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 09:35 AM

The song keeps using 'on Copperline'. That means Copperline isn't a town, it's a road.

People, and especially media people, ignore how much German culture there was in America. Copperline was probably a family name that ended in 'lein'. 'Lein' is a common German ending which means 'small,' and it's prounounced just like 'line.'
===========
Spaw, thank you for the public service announcement. The NYCFTS sounds like a good place for a writer who would use a word that many times and then not remember where he got it from.


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 11:12 AM

And to answer the real question of, "What's it about?"

Differs from time to time but it's about 4 minutes and 38 seconds........................



Spaw


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 14 - 10:21 PM

Hercules was the name of James's dog.


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: nigelgatherer
Date: 29 Jun 14 - 03:35 PM

==================
I used to wander down Copperline on Fridays towards Morgan Creek with my dog Hercules chasing snakes. Why'd they call it the Copperline? I dunno - even the old folks round there never knew. Copper head? Copper beech? Copper kettles, copper coil? I really don't know.

I remember one summer night I slipped out down to the woods after supper. I smelled all this woodsmoke and turpentine. Saw my daddy moving strangely like he was in a trance; he was never the same after he came back from the war. Reckon the moonshine helped him forget. I dunno.

I think about the first time I kissed a girl. That was down on the Copperline too - just like out of a romance book and I felt that the sky opened. I fell hard for that girl, and all I knew was I wanted it to last all night. I woke the next morning with Hercules barking, and heard the brids sing, and I knew that life would never be the same again.

Man, if I could go back to these days of innocence and freedom. We can't, of course. My area of Morgan Creek has been torn down and down the Copperline it's all spec houses and plywood. Back then I lived in the moment; couldn't see past the end of the week. Me 'n' Hercules.
==================

I don't know what the song is about, but I do know that it's a beautiful song, and the imagery contained within takes me to places I like going.


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Subject: RE: James Taylor's 'Copperline' - what's it about?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 07:03 PM

Love the response form Nigelgatherer.

That's how I hear it too.


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