Album Review

Chip Taylor Gets His Words Right

Chip Taylor - Fix Your Words

No one has had a more unlikely career in the music business than Chip Taylor. Like his contemporaries Carole King, Neil Sedaka, and Neil Diamond, he found success early on as a songwriter penning hits for others. His song “Wild Thing” became one of the original anthems for the British invasion after becoming a breakout hit for the Troggs in 1966 and later, a tune famously deconstructed by Jimi Hendrix at the Monterrey Pop Fest in 1967. And if that wasn’t enough to stake his claim to fame, his other major hit, the oft-covered “Angel of the Morning,” was clearly the clincher.

After a successful stint as a gambler, Taylor resumed his recording career, releasing albums that offer a well-seasoned perspective on the ups and downs just plain folks and families typically encounter in life’s oftentimes challenging journey. His latest, Fix Your words, is no exception, and like his last outing, A Song I Can Live With, it’s primarily autobiographical in nature. Lately, Taylor’s seemed eager to tap into his own upbringing for inspiration — the cover features a a photo of him and his brothers as children getting a reading lesson from their mother — and it’s a combination of reflection and remorse that echoes through the album.

Indeed, it’s the latter that seems to resonate with the lingering effect. With his raw weary vocals barely rising above a whisper, Taylor’s whiskey-soaked resolve makes Fix Your Words a somber affair to say the very least. The arrangements are similarly subdued, but given the tasteful participation of a tasteful team of backing musicians (including guitarist John Platania, previously with Van Morrison), the music is as tender and emotive as its sentiments suggest. While certain songs, such as “Whatever Devil Is In Me,” “If I Am,” “Love Knows the Clouds,” “A Little Bit Underground,” and the half-spoken, half gasped “The Ground Moving Around Me,” create a visceral impression with their croaked introspection, there’s not a single selection here that doesn’t beg the listener to lean in and linger. Those that worship at the altar of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Waits, and Johnny Cash will find a full measure of resilience here.

Thank you for this article Zimmerman ! I did not know chip taylor, great voice ! Do you recommand an album in particular ? 

Hi John,  Chip was on the fringes of the Outlaw Movement of the 70s. His essential album is Last Chance.  "The Real Thing" perfectly describes his affection for roots music.  I also recommend Some of Us and Big River from the same period. He was signed to Warners and recorded Last Chance, but Warners didn't have a country division at the time.  These three albums are excellent starters.  He did several albums in the 90s with Carrie Rodriguez.  Excellent.   He's also, parenthetically, Jon Voight's brother.  

Thank's Terry ! "I read it in Rolling Stone" is great ! Sounds outlaw like I like it !

Terry is correct - can't go wrong with that one! Thanks you for your comments, gentlemen!

Terry is correct - can't go wrong with that one! Thanks you for your comments, gentlemen!

A year or two ago I was having dinner and a friend at the next table asked if I was going to see Chip Taylor at the adjacent music room. I asked who that was, was told he wrote Wild Thing. So I went knowing only that and learned much of what Lee has explained during intermission on google. John Platania was with Chip. You never know who’s playing for $15 on a snowy January evening in a small club. 

15 bucks for Chip Taylor and guitar by John Platania...I'd call that getting your money's worth and then some...Chip's written a few other big songs too..."Angel of the Morning" was a big hit at least twice, and tons of artists have recorded "I Can't Let Go"...

I knew the doorman, so it was $0.  It was Juice Newton’s version of Angel that I had remembered. I never would’ve guessed the same guy wrote both songs.

I enjoy you guys...Unfortunatly Country singers rarely come to France ...

Bonjour/Bonsoir mon ami!   (not sure what time it is there...it's daytime here)...

That's interesting...are there a lot of country/roots music fans there?  

Some of us enjoy almost anyone who participates in the conversation out here...I'm not sure how the ownners of the site feel about it...but they haven't shut it down yet...

One of my favorite country music artists, Eric Brace, has done a record of French songs...Cartes Postales...here's a video link, see what you think...

https://youtu.be/kxZ-1xvm4wQ

 

Hahah Nice Jim ! Well no it's really hard to find people here that like country music specially when you're 21. My favorite artists are Waylon, Cash, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank, Dolly, Kris, Charlie Rich, Merle Haggard, Lee Hazlewood, Gram....gosh so many !!! But in France people don't get it and it's also du to the fact that french people don't get the lyrics ...and because we're stupid ! haha

Hahah Nice Jim ! Well no it's really hard to find people here that like country music specially when you're 21. My favorite artists are Waylon, Cash, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank, Dolly, Kris, Charlie Rich, Merle Haggard, Lee Hazlewood, Gram....gosh so many !!! But in France people don't get it and it's also du to the fact that french people don't get the lyrics ...and because we're stupid ! haha

Those are all great artists!!  Charlie Rich was incredible, and under-appreciated here in the states...he did some easy listening stuff later in his career that was very popular, but his early records and Sun Sessions are just fantastic...

The French are not stupid Jole...you have had some interesting political figures in your time, but at least you can say you never elected Mr. Trump...alas, we cannot say that...

Hahahah that's true ! Anyway this sharing is nice !

I agree...the sharing is nice!

The other version was a one hit wonder, Merilee Rush was her name I think...Juice was a 3 hit wonder...

Well this posted way down here, but it was to you Jack 11.0

WEll, Jim, your comments are always at the top ofmy list of postive reaction - so thank you. And yes, Eric's album is wonderful. I had the opportunity to review thatone as well!

Thanks Lee...and I saw the review of Eric's record, and if I didn't comment that surprises me...I bought that one from Red Beet the second I got the e-mail from the label...interesting record...quite good, songs sung with reverence (minus any affectation) by Eric, and Rory Hoffman, the multi instrumentalist who plays almost all of the music, is unbelievable...incredible musician...

I'm not sure how the general public would view it, as it's an unusual record...but high quality for sure...

I think you did commnet Jim... Thank you for sharing your time and your thoughts - much,much appreciated!!!

Chip is great and I'd highly recommend those albums he made with Carrie Rodriguez that Terry mentioned.

Thanks Jim for posting the Eric Brace French song. It kind of reminded me of Gypsy swing.

And thanks for the review Lee. Given the album cover I wonder if any of the songs address his relationship wuith brother John who has turned so conservsative. I would think there would be a lot of disagreement between them.

The Eric Brace is a really good album, it's a lot of different styles of music...his father was French and the older songs are for the most part songs he sang to the kids or made them familiar with, but there's more current material too, all of French origin...there's an incredible musician on the record named Rory Hoffman...he plays almost all the instruments...amazing...virtuoso soloing...that song I posted does have a swing feel to it...the terrific Thomm Jutz produced it...Thomm is a flatpicking marvel and songwriter who has his own studio outside Nashville proper...he's one of those people where if you see his name on the record anywhere, it's worth buying...

Lee's been hot with the reviews lately...he had a review that posted earlier this week and I really liked some of the tracks I pulled up by him too...Patterson Barrett...going to follow up more on that guy...I can listen while I'm working on some things in my office, but it's not a good place to really listen...