Best known for writing a bouquet of diversely distinctive 1960s hits – "I Can't Let Go", "Angel of the Morning" and "Wild Thing" – Chip Taylor has led the kind of life that usually only happens in Hollywood films, including a stint as a professional gambler ultimately banned from Las Vegas casinos.
But as this suite of autobiographical childhood reminiscences shows, he wasn't the only odd one in his family. Even before his brother Jon Voight left for Hollywood, and his other brother Barry became a "genius vulcanologist", their dad was baffling his offspring with tall tales of being an FBI agent – when he was really a golf pro.
Taylor recounts his life with this family of oddball fabulists in songs such as "Barry Go On", "Without Horses" and "Gin Rummy Rules" (wherein he admits how it was gambling that taught him mathematics), interspersing them, sometimes mid-song, with spoken recollections. It's a fascinating, entertaining ride, whose country-rock settings are flexible enough to accommodate the chunks of "Rock Around the Clock" inserted into "Hey Jonny", an account of how Blackboard Jungle hipped the brothers to rock'n'roll, and the Johnny Cash-style "chick-a-boom" groove in "Saw Mill River Road", illustrating how his youthful Johnny'n'June duo brought a touch of rural rawness to a New York suburb starved of country and race records.
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