This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Even to music obsessives like me, CHIP TAYLOR isn’t exactly a household name. There are a few of us who appreciate his work and I hope that after today that number will increase.
Chip is probably best known, by those who know about him, as a songwriter However, he is also a performer and recording artist as well. We’ll play some of his well known songs as well as some of the others.
Probably Chip’s most famous song is Angel of the Morning. It was recorded by several people until MERRILEE RUSH got a hold of it and made it a hit.
It was later a bigger hit for Juice Newton, but I prefer Merrilee’s version. Many others have had a go at it as well, from Nina Simone to The Pretenders. Dusty Springfield to Bonnie Tyler, and many more. Here’s the pick of them.
Chip was born James Voight and is the youngest of three brothers. The oldest is Barry Voight, who is a geologist and a world-renowned vulcanologist and has been professor of geology at several universities throughout his life. However, when they were young, not yet teenagers, Barry liked to lead the others astray, especially Chip (or James as he was), as you will hear in Barry Go On.
The middle brother is Jon Voight. If that name seems familiar, you’re right: he is the actor and Academy Award winner. That also means that Chip and Barry are Angelina Jolie’s uncles.
Jon was mentioned in the previous song as well as this one, Hey Jonny. The song sounds like an extension of that previous one, as well as another more famous song. It’s really more a tribute to Bill Haley than to his brother.
I’ll continue the story of sibling rivalry, and this should be familiar to all those out there with brothers and sisters. The song claims to be about how Chip got into the music biz, but perhaps not the way he wanted. Here is Bastard Brothers.
The song Wild Thing was a big hit for THE TROGGS in the sixties.
It gained even more fame when Jimi Hendrix performed it at the Monterey Pop Festival and set fire to his guitar and parts of the stage. The song has also appeared in films and, well, just about everywhere.
For 20 years Chip gave up the music industry and became a professional gambler and a professional golfer. I assume he was successful as 20 years is a long time.
Since his return he has recorded a number of well regarded albums. Some of those were in partnership with CARRIE RODRIGUEZ.
They also toured and performed together. One of the albums they recorded is “Red Dog Tracks”. From that we have Private Thoughts.
From really early in his career, before the Black Jack and the golf, Chip was essentially a country performer (in spite of being born and raised in Yonkers, New York). His main gig was writing songs for others and he was very successful at that.
The song Getting Older, Lookin' Back sounds as if it could have been a hit for many singers, but as far as I know it wasn’t. I can see Merle Haggard nailing this one.
The same could be said for Clean Your Own Tables. I’m surprised that these songs weren’t covered more extensively. Another one for Merle, I think, but here’s Chip.
From the album “Cimarron”, an excellent but underrated album, EMMYLOU HARRIS gives us Son of a Rotten Gambler.
I don’t know if the song is biographical (Chip’s biography, that is) or not, but it’s a really nice song.
Coming right up to date with his latest album, released quite recently, Chip performs the song, The Light in Your Eyes.
I’ll end with another song about sibling rivalry and respect. It’s obvious that the brothers still like each other and get along but, of course, there’s always that brother thing. The song is Little Brothers from Chip’s album of the same name. I think it should have been called Little Brother, but that’s just me.
That wasn’t actually the end. I thought you might like to hear what Chip does with his two most famous songs. First, Angel of the Morning.
And Wild Thing. Chip and Carrie have recorded a live version that owes much to Hendrix, but this is the way Chip first recorded it.