From: farkin drummer
Category: Other stuff
Date: 20 September 2001
My brother is a fan of Chip Taylor, and he doesn't have many. Nor is my brother a fan of many acts. Chip is a soft-spoken country artist (from the wry end of the market) who hasn't had a lot of hits. Buts he's also a songwriter, and I think he would claim he's had a lot of hits that way. My brother introduced me to the Kashmir Klub, so its literal underground ambience and slightly embarrassingly keen-on-itself patina of nervous smugness (no-one pays or is paid to play, no-one pays to listen, except with their attention) are no surprise to me. Cold Moretti is a really tasty beer and even when they have not very good acts taking turns at the mic, it's still a great place to be. However, I suspect the management force the female serving staff to wear miniskirts. Disgraceful.
My brother, as you'll be expecting by now, also introduced me to Chip's music, firstly through 'Seven Days in May', a lovely literal album based on some kind of short-lived relationship with a young French woman who nows works for his record label. So I kinda know what to expect. Sure enough, a group roll in to the club just as Earl somebody is doing his brilliant cabaret act where he plays keyboards, sings, and mimics any brass or woodwind instrument to absolute perfection using only his voice. A middle-aged portly bunch, sure of themselves, with a young Rrench woman carrying the bags. They sit at the end of our alcove, chatting while waiting patiently for their turn. My brother points out Chip. But who's that sitting next to him? Definitely a famous bloke. Excitement mounts. We look at each other quizzically. I'm sure its Reg Presley but maybe I only think that because that would be the good story? better not say anything or I'll look like a hopelessly guache enthusiast. Maybe it's a less important Trogg? He does have that great accent.
I should explain a bit of music industry, and family, folklore. Uncle Dave gace us a copy of what is universally known as The Troggs Tape. Trying to record a follow-up to Wild Thing, the studio engineer got so sick of the band moaning and arguing and wasting time while recording that he left the mics running, and recorded a classic. Hearing them trying to explain to each other, in broad West Country accents, how the drum break should go ("NO, no dubba dubba DUBba dub, dubba dubba dubba DUB!") and search for that indefinable hit quality that Chip had so generously supplied them with ("need to sprinkle some fucking FAIRY dust over the barstard") is to re-mint a derelict phrase, priceless.
Eventually, Chip and backing group take to the stage. He plays a couple of americana songs from his latest album, that bear the easy sincerity and skillful facility of the professional songwriter. He introduces PP Arnold, who sang the original UK hit, and after a long intro explaining how he came to give permission for the Shaggy version, launches into Angel of the Morning. A great song, so utterly in Chip's voice and character that it seems strange that it has been recorded by so many different people. Pat (as he refers to PP, perhaps in deference to his increasing knowldege of French), sings so powerfully that you wish she'd hold back sometimes, but it's still great. Certainly one of the greatest one-night stand songs ever written (Chelsea Hotel, anyone?). Then its time for a surprise guest. They met up for dinner tonight for the first time in 26 years, only sang their song together once on radio 27 years ago, and now on stage in this tiny club, bringing the house down - Reg Presley of The Troggs singing Wild Thing with the man who wrote it. Reg's voice is still (as I rather embarrassingly tell him while he's on his way to the bar and I'm squeezing past the stage to the toilet) fantastic - raw and expressive and sexy. He even brought his ocarina (small South American pottery flute) and plays the most famous ocarina solo in the history of music with some verve. Everyone loves it. As we leave, way past their curfew, Chip is doing Angel and Temptation all over again, only without Reg, who had to leave.
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