The first time I saw Chip Taylor live, I didn’t know much about him. He’d just got back to music after his gambling years. Of course I knew of his huge hits “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning”, but what impressed me the most that first time was that he played with one of my all time favorite guitarists John Platania. The guy who played on Van Morrison’s “It’s Too Late To Stop Now”. Wow!
Later I’ve learned that rock and country aficionados held the Chip Taylor solo albums from the 70’s in very high regard, but at the time I didn’t have a clue. Despite this lack of education on my part, I’ve had the privilege not only to work with Chip, but we have also become close friends. At a hotel room in Austin I was probably the first “outsider” to hear his masterpiece “Black and Blue America”. I was there when Chip met Carrie Rodriguez for the first time. We’ve spent hours in tour buses. Over the years we’ve had many good talks (and quite a few good single malts along the way).
Thanks to one of Chip’s hardcore fans, I now have copies of all his solo albums from the old days. And they are good. No doubt about it. But for me, the really important songs are the ones written and recorded since Chip got back into music in the late 90’s, the period covered by this compilation. These are the songs that really struck a chord inside me. Songs of joy and sorrow, of deep emotions and everyday life. Pure poetry with a great sense of humor.
It’s been an honor to select the tracks for “James Wesley Days”, the first compilation of Chip Taylor’s post-gambling days. It was also very difficult. When you listen I’m sure you will miss one or two favorites. So do I. It was necessary to kill a few darlings in the process. The hits are here of course, and perhaps a few songs you didn’t expect. Some obscure album tracks and three previously unreleased gems. Enjoy!
- Håkan Olsson, Rootsy.nu