Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Chip Taylor - Whiskey Salesman, album review

Selling Whiskey's Wonderful Wisdom

Sometimes an attempt is more meaningful than result: I’m not sure if the ‘romantic’ simile hold her like a drunk holds his whiskey with no chaser at the bar of second track Hold Her is wholly graspable [ok, my pun in mimetic mode] and it is likely the compulsion to get its beverage into an album so named rather than a thorough consideration of emotive impact. Musically, the song has two wonderful George Jones Why Baby Why breaks within, reminding I can't help but love you 'til the day that I die.

Oh but yes, I still like it.

Like I like the grizzled, simply honest narratives of these songs which are signature for Chip Taylor [read my review of his album Song I Can Live With here], who finishes the opener title track with a much more apt line talk and talk and talk, for hours – a song ostensibly about the expertise of judging and betting on horses, but more-so about listening and learning and looking for truth: these simple ambitions/achievements in life that allow him to talk with authority, and why we listen so intently to his storytelling on this album.

The writer of Wild Thing and Angel of the Morning, Taylor has a wide musical authority, and his palpable if straightforward wisdom is enticing. So when we listen to the I Love You Today refrain I love you today as much as anybody could love somebody, could love somebody; and I love you today as much as anybody, could love somebody, I love you any nit-pick about a metaphor is the most irrelevant observation I am happier to make than I did at the beginning.

The songs continue with these honest narratives, spoken with a warm and measured grasp of moment and meaning, and then break into their equally measured and memorable melodies, sometimes harmonised and, as with Naples and its descriptions, accompanied with unobtrusive but soothing strings.

More drinking songs are narrated and sung, those like A Sip or Two of Good Scotch that capture, without allusion, the essence and impact of drinking, here intoning one of his many musician friends and peers – with ol’ John Prine, blow you mind, and just remember he was drinking in heaven after time, smoking mile-long cigarettes if that’s what you need to get, ask Jesus, Jesus and John.

This is a wonderful record. More about and get it here.

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