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Chip Taylor Chip Taylor
Album: A Song I Can Live With
Label: Train Wreck
Tracks: 12

Chip Taylor - a giant amongst his peers, yet perversely little known outside of the tight-knit americana / country / singer-songwriter scene. Oddly, those people with scant knowledge of the man will in all probability know his two most-played tunes - "Wild Thing" and "Angel Of The Morning". What they are also unlikely to know is that he was inducted into the prestigious Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2016 (along with Marvin Gaye, Elvis Costello and Tom Petty), which should give the casual listener some idea of the high esteem in which he is held.

"A Song I Can Live With" continues Taylor's remarkable run of nearly and album every year since his return to the music scene (following a lengthy hiatus as a professional gambler!) in 1996, and what it proves conclusively is that he really does have nothing to prove! Here is a songwriter that literally has been there, done it and, hell, he even made the T Shirt himself!

Taylor has a uniquely distinctive vocal style - if you're looking for contemporary comparisons then I guess you'd be edging deep into Sam Baker territory - and that tone is inevitably tempered by age (the man is 77 now!), but that longevity also brings with it experience, awareness, and a very real and touchable wisdom and this is exactly what Chip Taylor brings to the listener on this album.

He readily admits that his songs are very much "streams of consciousness", and it's that remarkable ability to set those thoughts to beautiful acoustic-based music that ensures that "A Song I Can Live With" is such a deeply personal piece of work, but that also demands attention.

The album isn't always an easy listen in terms of emotions, as songs like "Until It Hurts" and "Little Angel Wings" almost feel like your intruding upon a private moment. And of course that is exactly what you ARE doing, and that's just what Chip intended.

Sonically, the songs are based around acoustic guitar, keyboards and THE voice, and these are complemented on occasions by understated pedal steel, but the simplicity of the listening experience is all part of the package. There is little ebb and flow it has to be said, most of the songs varying little in pace or feel, but I'm guessing that's not really the point.

"A Song I Can Live With" is Chip Taylor being Chip Taylor - it's that simple. A songwriter with an innate ability to open himself up and draw his audience deep into his own intimate musical microcosm. This is where he lives, breathes and creates and this is where he'll more likely end his days too.

Ken Brown