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Chip Taylor

Chip Taylor's Last Chance – 1997 (Gadfly)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Chip Taylor

Chip Taylor has written dozens of hit songs. Two - "Wild Thing" and "Angel of The Morning" - would be enough to provide him with a good income. As a recording artist, Taylor has had much less success. "Last Chance," originally issued in 1973, was a commercial flop but artistically his crowning achievement. (His next album, "Big River," gave Taylor his only country hit single).

Only one of these songs ("Son Of A Rotten Gambler," covered by Anne Murray) ever became a hit, but these clever ditties all fit Taylor's laconic vocal style beautifully. Lyrically, the album seems almost prescient at times. "(I Want) The Real Thing" is about the watering down of rock 'n' roll (and other things). "I Read It In Rolling Stone" may have been the first song to touch on the celebrity gossip mentality. Likewise, the music-industry inside joke "101 in Cashbox" is outdated in its details but the idea behind it is truer than ever.

"Last Chance" is an underappreciated classic. The caveat is that a 34-minute album is too short for a full-priced reissue. The entire "Big River" album would have fit on the disc as well and made the disc an absolute must.