Gadfly Records, Inc.
PO Box 5231
Burlington, VT 05402
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jamie O'Brien
With songs like Angel of the Morning, Wild Thing, and Anyway You Want Me to his credit, Chip Taylor hardly needs introduction. Since the 1960s, he has been one of the most important, dynamic songwriters to have emerged from the world of pop music. And like some other leading composers, he has now gone on to establish himself as a strong performer.
The Living Room Tapes is a collection of a dozen new songs in which he outdoes himself, taking everyday situations and dabbing them with a touch of humanity. He sees inside people, so sometimes the songs are humorous, other times a touch absurd, occasionally a little bitter.
Arrangements are kept to a minimum, usually just acoustic guitar and voice with touches of organ, second guitar and a little fiddle well placed throughout. Taylor (guitar and organ) is joined by either David Mansfield (guitar and fiddle) or Jon Sholle (guitars) on each of the tracks, with Tony Mercadante adding organ on two songs.
The overall sound exquisitely captures a sense of spontaneity. If Taylor visited your home, this is what he would sound like - intimate and comfortable. But although it has the feeling of "at home," the unobtrusive production is studio quality.
As a singer, Taylor's voice is vaguely reminiscent of Willie Nelson. As with Nelson's albums, I have a similar problem here- it's so laid back at times that it's hard to maintain concentration for the full 45 minutes of music without being lulled off into dreams.
And as much as he is a superb writer, at times I get the feeling he is a chameleon. (Is that a Chip Taylor song or a Guy Clark song? And surely that's a Leonard Cohen piece? And that sounds like...) Regardless, this album is well-performed by a master songwriter and is definitely worth listening to.
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Edited by Henry Koretzky