Chip Taylor Returns to ‘Yonkers, NY’ for New Album
Chip Taylor wears many hats: prolific singer/songwriter, former professional gambler, brother to Jon Voight (and uncle to Angelina Jolie) and most notably in the music world, the writer of iconic pop hits 'Angel of the Morning' and 'Wild Thing.' His latest album, 'Yonkers, NY,' details many of his adventures with Jon and their brother Barry while growing up in New York in the 1950s.
"I was in the middle of recording another album, and one day I woke up and 'Charcoal Sky' came out," Chip tells The Boot. "I am a stream-of-consciousness writer, so I don't push to write one thing in particular, but the song flowed out of me in a few minutes. I loved the idea of going back with my dad and brothers to that train station [in the song]."
Chip says as he went about his other project, more images would come up, taking him back to a particular place and time. "It was almost the way I wrote 'Last Chance' back in the '70s," he explains, referring to an earlier album. "All the songs on 'Yonkers' were written in about a week's time frame."
The tunes on 'Yonkers, NY,' are mostly story songs, depicting a slice of American life from Chip's childhood. Whether he sings about the time his brother Barry convinced him to run away from home to ride a train, or the night he threw a party and local Mafia members showed up, the songs are vivid reminiscences, taking the listener back to that era.
"I hadn't thought about those things in years, but they were so clear in my mind [while writing the songs]," says Chip. "My brothers didn't remember my dad's gin games because he took me with him. I remember so vividly coming home from the games with him ... I'm sure that's where I started learning to gamble! It was during those evenings that I learned it was better to win than to lose."
Chip says when he sings the songs from the new album, no matter where he is in the world, the audience is always very attentive. "I played the Borderline in London, which is a rock 'n' roll club, and I was a little worried how they would react to the songs from 'Yonkers.' You could have heard a pin drop; it was unbelievable, their reaction to those songs. They do play like a slice of life from that era. You know the subjects are universal from a lot of stuff that was going on back then. It was the energy of the times, not just for my family but for families in general during that time."
In addition to his own singer-songwriter career, Chip also wears a producer's hat, working with protégé Kendel Carson on her current album, 'Alright Dynamite,' which earned her a spot as the No. 1 female artist on the Americana charts for two months earlier this year. Additionally, Chip was involved with a movie project, for which he wrote the soundtrack and has an acting role. 'Seven Heaven Loveways' will be released as an independent film in the spring of 2010.
'Yonkers', NY, is available on both CD and vinyl. The former features two versions of the album -- one in which Chip explains the story behind the songs before he performs them, the other with just the songs. It's the first vinyl release for the Train Wreck label.