Chip Taylor

Black and Blue America

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Chip Taylor has turned into the philosopher of country music, not to mention its social historian. With each track introduced by a soundbite that seems to act as a springboard for his lyrical musings, Taylor tracks the way America lost its innocence ("Black and Blue America"), relationships ("In Your Weakness"), the carefree young life ("For Worth Thursday Night," which gets extra points for a gratuitous mention of Robert Earl Keen), and alcohol and faith ("Dance With Jesus"). So, by its nature, this isn't an album for casual listening, although on one level listeners can let it float along, with a sound that ranges from alt-country to gospel. It's largely stripped-down, but that suits him. When the band swells behind him, Taylor's voice takes on neo-operatic tones that simply don't work. What's really passion sounds merely like too much effort. But the songs definitely do work, and duets with Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and former soul diva P.P. Arnold sparkle, even when they're as bleak as Williams' contribution to "The Ship." Over the years Taylor's work has turned introspective, but this might be his deepest yet, a plumbing of what life, America, and its people has become. His future releases will probably have the same warm humor, compassion, and hope for the future as Black and Blue America.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
1:06 Spotify
2 5:53 Spotify
3
0:21 Spotify
4 3:56 Spotify
5
0:14 Spotify
6 4:47 Spotify
7
0:23 Spotify
8 4:22 Spotify
9
0:18 Spotify
10 3:49 Spotify
11
0:18 Spotify
12 2:58 Spotify
13
0:37 Spotify
14 3:10 Spotify
15
0:15 Spotify
16 4:13 Spotify
17
0:29 Spotify
18 4:37 Spotify
19
0:18 Spotify
20 4:40 Spotify
21
0:28 Spotify
22 4:24 Spotify
23
0:35 Spotify
24 3:01 Spotify
25
0:26 Spotify
26 2:46 Spotify
27
0:17 Spotify
28 3:40 Spotify
29
0:27 Spotify
30
feat: John Prine
4:06 Spotify
31
0:16 Spotify
32
feat: P.P. Arnold
7:02 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick