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New Songs of Freedom

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Album Review

Venerable Texas songwriter Chip Taylor, who penned such enduring classics as the primal garage punk prototype "Wild Thing" and the sublime and sensual "Angel of the Morning," has had a renaissance of sorts in the past couple of years, emerging as a sort of wise country philosopher whose hushed, unhurried vocal style gives his frequently politically poignant songs a kind of back porch élan. New Songs of Freedom isn't a new album exactly, but more like a sampler, including tracks from various upcoming projects Taylor is currently working on along with a handful of tracks from his now out of print Black and Blue America album from 2001. It all adheres pretty well, though, and works as a coherent sequence in spite of its varied sources. The opener, "Dance with a Hole in Your Shoe," has the feel of a '50s beat poem, albeit recited by a wizened country cowboy after a long day riding fences, and it probably shouldn't work, but it does. Another striking track here is "Former American Soldier," which recounts the forgotten story of the Lao soldiers of Vientiane who fought alongside the U.S. in Laos during the Vietnam War and then were unceremoniously abandoned. It's a powerful, chilling song and underscores Taylor's belief that songs should be more than casual entertainment. All in all, this "mini-album" has its own internal logic, and while it might be a placeholder for projects Taylor has in the pipeline, it still manages to speak with a voice of its own.


Born: 01 January 1940 in New York, NY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Chip Taylor will probably always be known as the songwriter who wrote "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning." Born John Wesley Voight (the actor Jon Voight is his older brother), Taylor began playing country music while still in high school in Yonkers, New York. After finishing high school, he briefly took up his father's occupation, becoming a professional golfer. But he suffered a wrist injury and turned back to music. In 1962, he signed to Warner Bros., and his single "Here I Am" bubbled just...
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New Songs of Freedom, Chip Taylor
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