Songwriters Hall of Fame 2016 inductee Chip Taylor has been writing and performing for nearly 60 years and shows no sign of slowing down. The New York Times says it best, “If you only know him as the as the guy who wrote ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Angel of the Morning” — you don’t know him! Chip Taylor is making some of the most distinctive acoustic music around today.”

Whiskey Salesman, his latest in a remarkable string of recent albums, is at once both personal and universal.  It is an album filled with timeless, intimate love songs - poignant, meditative odes to life.  And drinking (in moderation) songs.  Their spirit is perhaps best captured by the videos Taylor has created for each and every song (included on a DVD).  Filmed at hisown apartment and local bar, and starring his wife and friends, Taylor welcomes everyone in to his warm, heartfelt world.

Creating distinctive music that is also enduring and influential has been Chip Taylor’s métier over the course of what is closing in on five decades as “one of America’s finest songwriters as well as a masterful singer and performer,” says Rolling Stone. His two best-known songs are only some of the many pop, rock, country and R&B chart hits he wrote in the 1960s (Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Frank Sinatra all recorded his songs).  Taylor was then one of the pioneers of the pivotal country-rock movement as a recording artist in the 1970s.   His 1973 album, Last Chance, remains a beloved cult classic.  But after refusing to play by the Nashville establishment rules, Taylor gave up music for full-time professional gambling in 1980.
"Chip Taylor could've rested on his laurels years ago and still been way ahead of everybody else today.  Lucky for us he didn't and he's making some of the most relevant music out there," said Buddy Miller just last year. Since returning to music in 1996 he has enjoyed elder statesman stature within the Americana, contemporary folk and singer-songwriter scenes as an artist in his own right as well as in collaboration on albums and in performance with John Prine, Carrie Rodriguez, Kendel Carson and John Platania.  In a remarkable and prolific run, Taylor has released nearly an album a year since his return, each rising high on the Americana chart.  As England’s The Guardian notes, “Chip Taylor, like Johnny Cash, is well worth rediscovering by a new generation.”

Whiskey Salesman follows closely after his acclaimed Fix Your Words and A Song I Can Live, which Sweden's foremost music site, called "so powerful and packed with emotions. Joy, sadness, melancholy, a sense of humor. And an abundance of compassion and humanity. It's an album I will treasure forever. It will have a special place in my record collection, next to Bob Dylan's "Time Out Of Mind" and Leonard Cohen's "You Want It Darker". 2015's The Little Prayers Trilogy, was among the best-reviewed album of his long career.   Mojo called it "a masterpiece while Uncut said it was the ”Crowning glory of a storied career” and placed it on its Best of 2015 list. Country Music People gave it ”Five stars .. nothing comes close.” 

Taylor has been involved in a series of amazing projects in the last several years. Norway’s premier folk singer, Paal Flaata, recorded a full album of Taylor songs, Wait By The Fire, and rode it to the Top 10 and a Norwegian Grammy nomination.  He joined with Carrie Rodriguez for a reunion tour in the fall behind the 10th Anniversary deluxe reissue of their Red Dog Tracks album.  The Grammy-nominated Yonkers NY (2009) shows his facility with storytelling within songs.  Last year, a lavish reissue of his three 1970s Warner Bros albums (including Last Chance) was released to great fanfare. 2019 may also bring a new book/CD, Son Of A Golf Pro, which combines Taylor's story of growing up on the golf course with often hilarious songs about the sport. 

Fuck All The Perfect People, the title track from his 2012 album, went viral on Spotify, garnering a million streams over a couple of months. Its inclusion on the Netflix smash Sex Education in 2019 resulted in a second wave of streams recently.

As Taylor’s muse continues to fire on all pistons, musical tastemakers agree that fans and listeners should tune their ears into the continuing creativity of a true musical master. “If names like Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt mean anything to you, you should make a point of discovering Chip Taylor,” urges critic Anthony DeCurtis. “Whether you know it or not, he’s earned his way into that exalted company.

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James Wesley Days: The Best Of Chip Taylor 99-10 (2010)

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,

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