Album Reviews

Chip Taylor

A Song I Can Live With

Artist:     Chip Taylor AKA James Wesley Voight

Album:     A Song I Can Live With

Label:     Train Wreck Records

Release Date:     02/17/2017


If true justice was served up correctly, Chip Taylor’s songwriting career would easily be compared to that of Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond and the other great songwriters whose efforts found ever-increasing success in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. His hit “Wild Thing” alone should have been enough to ensure his immortality given the fact that it became one of the original anthems for the British invasion. Originally recorded by an obtuse bunch by name of Jordan Christopher & The Wild Ones, the song would later go on to become the breakout hit for the Troggs in 1966. It not only helped the group become established on both sides of the Atlantic, but it also became a well-covered standard famously deconstructed by Jimi Hendrix at the Monterrey Pop Fest in 1967. And if that wasn’t enough to stake his claim, his other major hit, “Angel of the Morning,” recorded by too many people to name, should have been the clincher.

After a successful stint as a gambler (!?), Taylor resumed his own recording career, releasing any number of albums that offer a well-seasoned perspective on the trials and tribulations most folks tend to encounter as they make the journey through life. Drawn from real life encounters and sung—and also spoken—in a hushed, dusky voice, the songs are always affecting, resonating with a weariness that immediately etches its way into the consciousness. “It’s nice to have someone like you who cares,” he croons on “Little Angel Wings,” and given his tender yet tattered rumination, the sincerity of his sentiments clearly rings true. In “Until It Hurts,” he recounts a conversation with fellow songwriter Eric Andersen, giving the listeners the feeling they I are sitting in on the encounter. Like Kris Kristofferson and Leonard Cohen, Taylor has a way of making even the starkest scenario ring with an honesty and conviction that’s utterly affecting every time. Indeed, if the tender trappings of songs such as “Joan Joan Joan,” “Hey Lou” and the title track don’t entice you, then clearly you’re not listening

By the way, those wondering about the billing to one James Wesley Voight are likely not alone. Taylor is actually the real life brother of actor Jon Voight. Still, regardless of who the album is billed to, A Song I Can Live With is one that we can all live with and come away feeling both touched and enticed all at the same time.

—Lee Zimmerman


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