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Chip Taylor



Chip Taylor will probably always be known as the songwriter who wrote "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning." Born James Wesley Voight (actor Jon Voight is his older brother), Taylor began playing country music while still in high school in Yonkers, New York. After finishing high school, he briefly took up his father's occupation, becoming a professional golfer. But he suffered a wrist injury and turned back to music. In 1962, he signed to Warner Bros., and his single "Here I Am" bubbled just under the Billboard Hot 100 in November. He became more successful, however, as a songwriter, scoring his first hit with "I Can't Let Go" (co-written with Al Gorgoni), which was recorded by the Hollies for a chart entry in March 1966. (Linda Ronstadt revived the song for a Top 40 hit in 1980.) Then came the simplistic but unforgettable "Wild Thing," recorded by another British group, the Troggs, who topped the charts with it in July, creating a much-covered standard. A parody by "Senator Bobby" (comedian Bill Minkin) hit the Top 40 in January 1967, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience performed the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in June. Meanwhile, Taylor continued to write hits: "Make Me Belong to You" (co-written with Billy Vera) hit the Top 40 for Barbara Lewis in August 1966; "I Can Make It with You" was cut by both the Pozo-Seco Singers and Jackie DeShannon, with the Pozo-Seco Singers' version winning out and hitting the Top 40 in October 1966; the American Breed recorded "Step Out of Your Mind" for a Top 40 hit in July 1967; and Billy Vera & Judy Clay hit the Top 40 with "Country Girl City Man" (co-written with Ted Daryll) in March 1968. But Taylor's second standard was "Angel of the Morning," a ballad about premarital sex that pushed the boundaries of acceptable subject matter in pop music. Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts recorded the song, and it reached the Top Ten in June 1968; Juice Newton revived it in 1981 for a second Top Ten hit and a gold record. With Gorgoni, Taylor wrote "I'll Hold Out My Hand," recorded by the Clique for a Top 40 hit in December 1969. Also in 1969, Janis Joplin recorded Taylor and Jerry Ragavoy's "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" and released it as the lead track on her debut solo album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Taylor had not given up his ambition to be a recording artist himself. He and Gorgoni recorded together under the name Just Us, then Taylor cut a series of solo albums in the '70s, including This Side of the Big River, which reached the country charts in 1975, as did five Taylor singles between 1975 and 1977. His songwriting efforts also found favor in Nashville, with "Sweet Dream Woman" (co-written with Gorgoni) reaching the country Top Ten for Waylon Jennings in 1972 and Anne Murray's recording of "Son of a Rotten Gambler" hitting the country Top Ten in 1974. Nevertheless, Taylor gave up the music business and became a professional gambler, not returning to music until 1993 when he joined a national songwriters' tour. He released a new album, The Living Room Tapes, in 1997, followed by Seven Days in May in 1998, The London Sessions Bootleg in 2000, Black and Blue America in 2001, and a collaboration with Carrie Rodriguez, Let's Leave This Town, in 2002. A sampler mini-album drawing tracks from several ongoing recording projects, New Songs of Freedom appeared in 2008. Also appearing in 2008 was the ornately packaged Songs from a Dutch Tour, which featured both an autobiographically themed trade paperback book and a new CD of recorded material. The autobiographical tenet was followed by the release of Taylor's 2009 album Yonkers, NY, an earthy collection of new songs and stories about his hometown and family. In 2011, Taylor resurfaced with Rock and Roll Joe: A Tribute to the Unsung Heroes of Rock n' Roll, a collection of covers with John Platania and Kendel Carson. Taylor has always been mercurial, and he shifted gears yet again in 2011. He released his first children's album on Smithsonian Folkways, Golden Kids Rules, accompanied by his three granddaughters. Becoming increasingly more prolific, Taylor managed to deliver five new albums over the next five years, including 2012's wry F**k All the Perfect People, 2014's The Little Prayers Trilogy, and 2016's Little Brothers, all on his Train Wreck label. The hot streak continued in February 2017 with A Song I Can Live With, which featured contributions from multi-instrumentalist Goran Grini, guitarist and longtime associate John Platania, and pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
  2.   Funny Songs
  3.   Holding Me Together
  4.   Clean Your Own Tables
  5.   Too Dynamic
  6.   Unglorious Hallelujah by Carrie Rodriguez
  7.   The Light in Your Eyes
  8.   Love Knows the Clouds
  9.   Family of One
  10.   What Would Townes Say About That
  11.   It's Different Now
  12.   When He Goes ... He Goes by John Wesley Voight
  13.   Wild Thing
  14.   Circle of Tears
  15.   Bride in Pink
  16.   Sleepy Eyes
  17.   Whiskey Salesman
  18.   See the Good Side of the Guy
  19.   May God Be with Me
  20.   Malmo Nights featuring John Platania
  21.   Live and Die for Rock and Roll featuring John Platania
  22.   You Just Think You Changed Your Mind by John Wesley Voight
  23.   Norrtälje Prison
  24.   I'll Only Be Me Once
  25.   Solitary
  26.   Michael's Song
  27.   In the Stillness of the Night
  28.   F**k All the Perfect People
  29.   Bardot
  30.   Bracelet
  31.   Could You Be a Little Less Supportive
  32.   I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You) by Carrie Rodriguez
  33.   I Love You Today
  34.   (The Likes Of) Louise
  35.   The Van Song featuring John Platania
  36.   R&R Joe Reprise featuring John Platania
  37.   The Savoy Files featuring John Platania
  38.   Comin' from Behind
  39.   Phoned in Dead
  40.   Intro to Measurin' featuring John Platania
  41.   If I Can't Be In Austin
  42.   If You're Ever In Warsaw
  43.   Joan's Song
  44.   Hallelujah Boys
  45.   Son of Man by Carrie Rodriguez
  46.   If I Am by John Wesley Voight
  47.   Lady Lisa
  48.   A Little Bit of Underground by John Wesley Voight
  49.   I Read It in Rolling Stones
  50.   End of Part One
  51.   It's Not Fair
  52.   Ontario Crimes
  53.   You Didn't Get Here Last Night
  54.   Fix Your Words by John Wesley Voight
  55.   Intro to the Van Song featuring John Platania
  56.   Love Knows the Clouds by John Wesley Voight
  57.   I Don't Know Why I Love You (I Just Do)
  58.   Little Bit of Love
  59.   (I Want) The Real Thing
  60.   Nine Soldiers In Baltimore
  61.   You're Alright, Charlie
  62.   Big River
  63.   Willow Garden by Carrie Rodriguez
  64.   Nothin' (I Suppose)
  65.   Red Dog Tracks by Carrie Rodriguez
  66.   Martha, Martha
  67.   Reprise (Elmer's White Boy)
  68.   Used To Be A White Boy
  69.   Czechoslovakian Heaven
  70.   God Bless Norwegians
  71.   The Baby
  72.   This Old Town
  73.   Christmas in Jail
  74.   Hot Rod Carson featuring John Platania
  75.   (The Coal Fields of) Shikshinny
  76.   That's Not the Way It Is
  77.   Be Kind
  78.   Whiskey Dreams
  79.   Londonerry Company
  80.   North Caucasus Fight Club
  81.   Hey Vinnie
  82.   Sleep With Open Windows
  83.   Somewhere in Some Town
  84.   John Tucker's on the Wagon Again
  85.   Hold It Right There
  86.   Home Again
  87.   Some of Us
  88.   Me and Rohillio
  89.   Wish I Could Die Just One More Time
  90.   It's Still the Same
  91.   The Wonder of You by Carrie Rodriguez
  92.   Oh My Marie
  93.   Measurin' featuring John Platania
  94.   My Bucket's Got a Hole in It by Carrie Rodriguez
  95.   Merry F'n Christmas
  96.   Thursday Night Las Vegas Airport
  97.   Whose Side Are You On
  98.   Ted Williams
  99.   Once Again, One Day...Will You Be Mine by Carrie Rodriguez
  100.   Passport Blues
  101.   Same Ol' Story
  102.   I'm the Law in This Old Town featuring John Platania
  103.   Tryin' To Let The Angels Know
  104.   Son of a Rotten Gambler
  105.   Darker Side of You
  106.   Daddy, Why'd You Take My Guitar Away
  107.   Something 'Bout the Way This Story Ends
  108.   Little Darts
  109.   Last Chance
  110.   Whatever Devil Is in Me
  111.   A Sip or Two of Good Scotch
  112.   When I Was a Kid by John Wesley Voight
  113.   New Things
  114.   That's How I Love You Tonight
  115.   Here Again
  116.   I Like Ridin'
  117.   Early Sunday Morning
  118.   Spoken Intro To Last Song
  119.   Rock and Roll Joe featuring John Platania
  120.   James Wesley Days
  121.   On Hold
  122.   I Can't Let Go featuring John Platania
  123.   Henry Kissinger's Heart
  124.   Girl & Boy Thing
  125.   Monica (These Fingers Move for You) featuring John Platania
  126.   The Union Song (We Just Got Screwed and It Keeps Getting Better) featuring John Platania
  127.   If I Stop Loving You
  128.   Whatever Devil Is in Me by John Wesley Voight
  129.   Must Be the Whiskey by Carrie Rodriguez
  130.   The Ground Moving Around Me by John Wesley Voight
  131.   Jenny (Reprise) by Carrie Rodriguez
  132.   Red, Red Rose
  133.   Queen Of The World
  134.   Bippity Boo
  135.   Little Prayers
  136.   Jackknife
  137.   I've Been Tied
  138.   Block Out the Sirens of This Lonely World
  139.   (It's a Long Way) Back to the Heart
  140.   Sugar Sugaree featuring John Platania
  141.   One More Lousy Picture Show
  142.   Big Moon Shinin' by Carrie Rodriguez
  143.   Sir Walter
  144.   Lord What Are You Giving Me Now
  145.   Some Hearts
  146.   Nothin' Comin' Out Of Me That I Like
  147.   I Wasn't Born in Tennessee
  148.   The Same Way
  149.   Me As I Am
  150.   Hold Her
  151.   Gettin' Older, Lookin' Back
  152.   Weaker Moments
  153.   Magic Girl
  154.   Turn the Clock Back Again
  155.   He's A Good Guy (As Well You Know)
  156.   German Times
  157.   Unglorious Hallelujah
  158.   Dreams of Anna Lai
  159.   Couldn't We Use Some of That Now featuring John Platania
  160.   Angel of the Morning
  161.   Never Said Goodbye