Chip Taylor “Chip Taylor’s Last Chance”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#426 in the Series) is Chip Taylor, Chip Taylor’s Last Chance

Every single person that I’ve mentioned this album to has invariable replied: “Chip Taylor? Never heard of him ”

Of course you have, you just don’t know it yet! That’s because:

Chip Taylor wrote a little song that became a big hit in the 60’s – “Wild Thing” as recorded by The Troggs. He then had another top effort with “Angel Of The Morning”, a smash for Merrilee Rush. Plus many more, he’s been a busy fella over the years, “Try (just a little bit harder) by Janis Joplin? Chip again.

And I suppose i really should mention that his real name is James Wesley Voight, brother of the famous actor Jon Voight, which also makes him Angelina Jolie’s uncle!

Right that’s the trivia taken care of, now on to the main stuff.

Chip started his career as a songwriter in the early 60’s but he soon moved on to performing and released a couple of albums which didn’t really get much attention. In 1973 he signed with Warner Brothers and his first release for them was “Last Chance”.

It’s an album that has, over the years, been hailed in some quarters as a Country -Rock masterpiece which isn’t really true, to these ears. The “masterpiece” part is true but it’s not really a Country- Rock album, more like a singer-songwriter one with a kind of gentle Country influence to it. At no discernible point does it “rock” !

Absolutely nothing wrong with that of course, especially when you’re releasing such high quality material. And that’s what makes this one stand out, the sheer quality of the songwriting which is exemplary throughout. Every single track comes complete with a melody that’s as fresh as the morning breeze on a summer morning and lyrics of real emotion and depth. You’re drawn in initially by how lush and lovely it all sounds but it’s what Chip’s singing about that lingers.

Which is , mainly, stories and memories from his own life, it’s a very personal record, little fictionalized “character” based stuff here. Just a man pouring his heart out on disc. Having said that, it’s also no bitter, broken-hearted lament either, more like a guy just telling us all about what’s been happening in his life for the last few years!

And it’s all sung in the laid back style of someone like Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson (who Chip can sound very like at times). Given how popular those two artists were at the time of this release, it really is a mystery as to why such a superb album never really garnered much attention. Guess we’ll never know.

After this Chip made another two albums for Warner’s (the last of which “The Other Side Of The Big River” is almost as good as this one) then moved on. In a short while he gave music up and became a professional gambler for the best part of 20 years, it was probably less risky than the music biz ! He made a sterling comeback in the mid-90’s though and has put out a good few albums since, notably with singer/violinist Carrie Rodriguez.

His masterpiece “Last Chance” was given a re-release in 1997 but has since become (yet again) very hard to find. Six tracks from it appear on a lovely compilation called “Angels & Gamblers ; Best of Chip Taylor” but how they managed to pick which ones to include is beyond me, the full record has such an amazing strength and consistency to it. Maybe one day he’ll get round to putting it out again and , hopefully, it will finally receive the recognition and praise it so deserves……….

— Stephen Dalrymple, Glasgow, Scotland

Track Listing

Side One

  1. (I Want) The Real Thing (3:21)
  2. Son Of A Rotten Gambler (4:20)
  3. I Read It In Rolling Stone (3:39)
  4. The Coal Fields Of Shikshinny (3:34)
  5. I Wasn’t Born In Tennessee (3:14)

Side Two

  1. (The Likes Of ) Louise (3:29)
  2. It’s Still The Same (2:10)
  3. 101 In Cashbox (4;57)
  4. Family Of One (2:44)
  5. Clean Your Own Tables (3:24)
  6. Last Chance (2:35)

All songs written by Chip Taylor except Side One , Track 4 which is by Chip Taylor and Barry Voight.
Excerpt of Side One, Track 5 written by Merle Haggard.

Personnel

  • John Platania / Lead electric guitar and acoustic guitar
  • Joe Renda / Keyboards
  • George Kiriakis / Lead rhythm guitar
  • Chip Taylor / Vocals, rhythm guitar and fiddle
  • Dave Kapell / Bass
  • Rick Nelson / Drums
  • Pete Drake / Steel guitar
  • John Nagy / Mando-guitar
  • The Jordanaires / Backing vocals

I’ve added two sets of videos below. The first contains studio versions of songs from this album. The second includes a feature on Chip that originally ran on a CBS Sunday Morning News program. I also included some live videos of Chip performing his well know tune such as “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning.” Check them out please!!


Posted by Stephen Dalrymple
I was so much older then , i'm younger than that now.........


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