F**k All the Perfect People

by: Chip Taylor & the New Ukrainians

Chip Taylor has done a lot of things in his life. He's been a professional golfer, a professional gambler (black jack), and horse handicapper. He's recorded a children's album for Smithsonian Folkways and he oversees a website, Rock and Roll Joe, that features and preserves the stories of some of the unsung heroes of rock & roll. And of course, he's been a songwriter (his two biggest songs are "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning") and singer with several solo albums to his credit, which brings us to F**k All the Perfect People, an autumn-in-life release for this maverick artist. Sounding a bit like a country version of Leonard Cohen with hard-earned honky tonk lyrics, Taylor has delivered an oddly comforting album, even though the themes he touches on in these songs are for the most part dark and a little (to a lot) downcast. With a rough and hushed vocal delivery, and backed by his Scandinavian touring band the New Ukrainians, Taylor dispenses ragged wisdom on tracks like "F**k All the Perfect People" (a strangely comforting song somehow), the narrative "Me and Rohillio," and a pair of bleak monologues, "I Know Dark" and "Nothin' (I Suppose)," that are also kind of redemptive, being dark, yes, but not desperate. Then there's "Phoned in Dead," which contains the fantastic line "I used up all my sick days so I just phoned in dead," and could be a huge contemporary country hit if it were covered by the right hunky hat act. Chip Taylor may not come up with another "Wild Thing," and Lord knows, he isn't trying to, but he has found the perfect voice and tone for his cranky but still warm and assuring songs about dealing with age, time, and darkness in an impatient, rushing world that doesn't seem to want to bother with any of it. ~ Steve Leggett

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