"He wrote "Wild Thing" and "Angel Of The Morning." Those could be the words on Chip Taylor's tombstone, but he has done a lot more in his nearly 40-year music career. Taylor has written dozens of other hit songs - and the two biggest give an idea of his wide range of styles - and has made a number of interesting records, almost all of them commercial failures.
Taylor's records are always laid-back musically, and often downbeat lyrically. This concept album about a doomed whirlwind love affair, certainly fits that description. Taylor does have a gift for lyric and melody, although this record is often so languid you might overlook the latter. His only real virtue as a singer is the ability to convey emotion, and he often slips into recitation. There is a notable supporting cast along for this ride, most prominent vocally being Lucinda Williams and Guy Clark. They all work at Taylor's pace.
Like Mickey Newbury or Townes Van Zandt, Taylor is a great songwriter with a record that's too much of a downer to have mass appeal - yet one definitely deserving a cult following. (212-966-7443, TWRecords@aol.com)