Chip Taylor: “I Know Dark”
Songwriters are more often than not obscured by the artists that make their songs famous, but that’s not the case with Chip Taylor. You know him as the writer of “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” and his songs have been recorded by Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, and Frank Sinatra. Yet Taylor has become a household name not just through his songwriting, but also as a singer and performer himself.
Taylor grew up in Yonkers, New York and got his musical start as a teenager with the band Town and Country Brothers. The ’60s and ’70s were spent writing songs for others, though he did try his hand as a country singer with a trio of fan-favorite albums in the mid-’70s. Taylor took a twenty-year break from the music business as others capitalized on his songs, returning in 1993, but it was a chance encounter with Austinite Carrie Rodriguez at SXSW 2001 that reignited Taylor’s career. The duo have released three critically-acclaimed albums since then, and Taylor has added a few of his own as well.
His latest release finds the “Wild Thing” songwriter no less fiery in his old age. F**k All The Perfect People is less a rant than a cheeky ode to the characters Taylor likes to write about, people who have made repeated mistakes but aren’t afraid to admit it. The record was recorded in Halden, Norway with his Scandinavian backing band, the New Ukrainians. While the title track is certainly tongue-in-cheek, other songs are much more sober, like today’s song of the day. “I Know Dark” was written for the Mean Bastard Day in Kiruna, Sweden, a festival that celebrates the long, dark winter days in Scandinavia. Taylor sings alongside Tony Björkenvall, and Audrey Martels and Zhana Suanders provide the rich harmonies in the background. It could be a purely grim song, but Taylor and the musicians turn the natural phenomenon into a joyous triumph.