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Singer-songwriter Chip Taylor combined country with R&B to write songs, like Wild Thing, that remain a staple in the American music diet.
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He released six solo albums in the 70s and 80s, including Chip Taylor's Last Chance. Rolling Stone magazine acclaimed this work as one of the best country albums of 1973. This album was one of the forerunners of the renegade cowboy movement containing several hit songs. One such song, "The Coalfields of Schickshinny", commemorates the lives of Taylor's grandparents,
refugees who had worked the hard coal mines of Eastern Pennsylvania at the turn of the century.
His family has played an important part of his songwriting process. He has written several songs for them throughout the years including Anne Murray's version of "Son Of A Rotten Gambler", a song written for his son, Kristian, that went to the top of the country charts. The song is particularly poignant as it speaks of his other great talent -- gambling -- that he explored extensively during a break from his recording career in the early 80s.
As a professional gambler, he was one of the foremost thoroughbred horse race handicappers on the East Coast. When Taylor turned his sights on the gaming tables, he quickly gained notoriety with his black jack prowess; finishing third in the World Black Jack Championship in Las Vegas. Taylor became one of the most feared card counters in the land and was ultimately banned from every casino in Atlantic City. In the late 80s, along with friend, partner, and renowned handicapper, Ernest Dahlman, he garnered enormous winnings through his horse racing exploits, specifically in the form of massive pick six scores (wagers where often times you get paid enormous sums for picking six winners in a row). These windfalls are known throughout the gambling world and well documented by the I.R.S..
In 1993, Taylor went on a national songwriters tour with Midge Ure, Darden Smith, Rosie Flores and Don Henry. As a direct result, his creative juices started to flow again. Bonnie Raitt recorded his "Poppa Come Quick" on her Luck of the Draw album and several other artists started recording his new material. Taylor released his retrospective collection, Hit Man (Gadfly Records), containing his versions of 13 of his most successful songs.
In 1997, The Living Room Tapes was released. Presented with an autobiographical honesty, it is an intimate look at Taylor's life and relationships. Taylor's next album, Seven Days In May (released April 1999 in the US), is a love story that includes two duets with Grammy winner Lucinda Williams and one duet with the legendary singer, Guy Clark. Taylor released the live album The London Sessions Bootleg + in 2000.
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