Chip Taylor Returns
On the first disc, Unglorious Hallelujah, Chip considers the world and his place in it. The songs are at once clear-eyed and emotional takes on big events and the small, critical moments of life. Chip addresses the history of violence in “I Don’t Believe in That,” the lead track on the album. Later, he tells the difficult story of his own drunk driving crash and arrest.
Red Red Rose presents the other side of Chip, the writer of “Wild Thing” who delivers songs straight from the heart and gut. From the straight-ahead love song “If I Stop Loving You” to the pure pleasure of ‘50s-style “Bippity Boo,” this disc is full of fun songs that were written quickly.
Both discs were performed with the same stellar band, including John Platania (Van Morrison) on guitar, Anton Fig (Late Show with David Letterman) on drums and his recording partner of recent years, Carrie Rodriguez, on backing vocals.
According to Taylor, “It’s been a great, rewarding ride with Carrie these last few years. I’ve loved every minute. But the time has come for her to make a statement with her own recording and, at the same time, for me to release some songs that I’ve been writing and recording from the duet years to present.
“Here’s how that went: whenever I’d get a group of these new songs that sounded special but didn’t fit the Taylor/Rodriguez duet thing, I would gather the great group of musicians/friends listed above at Dubway, a modest studio (no bells & whistles) on 26th St (between 6th & 7th) for a few hours of musical therapy. Unglorious Hallelujah and Red, Red, Rose & Other Songs Of Love Pain & Destruction is the result.”
Chip was born in the suburbs of New York City and had both a record deal (King Records) and a spot on the pro golf circuit while still a teenager. He became a full-time songwriter in the 1960s, penning tunes for Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Janis Joplin and Frank Sinatra among many others. In 1970s he recorded a series of critically acclaimed country-rock albums before giving up music to become one of the nation’s most successful professional gamblers. He returned to music in 1990s and later teamed up with fiddler Carrie Rodriguez for three duet albums that have all reached the Top 3 on the Americana chart and have drawn rave reviews.
In addition to preparing the world for his forthcoming 2-CD collection, Taylor began a unique series of inspiring podcasts in 2005 called Church of the Train Wreck. These 15-20 minute shows feature Chip discussing his own life, the people he meets, and the important issues of the day interspersed with songs he (or podcast announcer/co-producer Chuck) has chosen that complement the day’s topic. Many of the songs are from his personal vault and have never before been released. Church of the Train Wreck may not be religion but it has inspired faith and devotion from a following that reaches beyond Chip’s fan base.