VARIOUS : Wild Thing, The Songs Of Chip Taylor (Label: Ace)

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VARIOUS : Wild Thing, The Songs Of Chip Taylor

Chip Taylor is the subject of the latest album in Ace’s excellent ‘Songwriter’ series. That series, you’ll recall, pulls together varied material penned by key American songwriters in the 60s, and like all the other albums in the series ‘Wild Thing’ isn’t a soul collection per se, but it’s stuffed with some fabulous soul – much of which is hard to track down in any format. Rarest cut on offer here is the demo version of ‘Storybook Children’ – a big hit of course for Billy Vera and Judy Clay. Here, Vera demos the male part while the distaff section is down to Nona Hendryx and it’s hard to pick between this and the better known take for soulfulness. To compound that comparison, Clay and Vera’s ‘Country Girl – City Man’ is also included but those two cuts aren’t the only soul highlights… with tunes from Walter Jackson (‘Welcome Home’), Dusty Springfield (the hard-to-find ‘Don’t Say It Baby’) and Barbara Lewis (‘Make Me Belong To You’) there’s plenty of competition for that accolade. Then, there are tracks from Patti Austin, Aretha Franklin, Lorraine Ellison and a rare combination of Arthur Adams and Mary Love. That duo’s cut is the rare ’67 track, ‘Is That You’; Lorraine Ellison’s is the equally collectable ‘Try’; while Aretha offers the familiar ‘I Can’t Wait Until See My Baby’s Face’ (a pre-Atlantic recording) and Patti has the Curtis Mayfield-flavoured ‘A Most Unusual Boy’. Add to those, inclusions from Evie Sands, Madeline Bell, Al McCarther and Little Eva and you have a great 60s soul compilation. The non-soul specific material features lots of variety – including country from Stoney Edwards, pop from the Hollies and lounge jazz from Peggy Lee – along with the two songs whose royalties keep Mr Taylor’s bank manager more than happy – The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’ and Merrilee Rush’s ‘Angel Of The Morning’. The usual thorough Ace sleeve notes also offer up a host of fascinating facts. Most importantly, that Chip Taylor was born James Wesley Voight – brother of actor Jon and thereby the uncle of Angelina Jolie. Plenty, then, for the trivia freaks – and more than plenty for the soul collectors.
(BB) 4/5