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Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

The Trouble With Humans – 2003 (Train Wreck)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

It reveals something of a generational divide if you ask someone, "Who had a hit recording of 'Angel Of The Morning'"? For those who came of age in the '70s, it's the Juice Newton version, while for those of us a few years, it's still Merrilee Rush's 1968 version that rings through the years. Either way, it's still a Chip Taylor song. Now in his 60s, Taylor (who happens to be the younger brother of actor Jon Voigt), continues to be prominent among those writers and singers who hover around the edges of "mainstream" success, though that may be at least partly by his own design.

In 2001, he teamed up with Carrie Rodriguez, up till then known mostly as a fiddler, but who turns out to be a singer of attention-arresting talent, and this is their second recorded collaboration. By way of comparison, it's the sort of direct, earthy and completely engrossing songwriting (all songs either written by Taylor or co-written with Rodriguez) and singing that might be expected if, say, Ray Wylie Hubbard teamed up with Iris DeMent. Not to say it sounds exactly like that, but it's certainly at least that interesting.

With all-acoustic arrangements, Taylor's keen eye and ear for telling a good story like, well, "Dirty Little Texas Story," and Rodriguez' unaffected and completely natural twang, this disc won't take long to grow on you.