Chip Taylor's Road Journal

Read Chip's words about life on the road, recording in the studio and much more...
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Feb 20, 23 & 24 2010 – Houston and Austin, TX

Feb 23, 2010 – KUT RADIO – 1:00 PM

This was a half hour plus LIVE radio show at one of THE great college supported stations in the country. Good to see my friend Jay Trachtenberg, who did a very relaxed in-depth interview in between YONKERS songs and Kendel’s OH BABY LIE DOWN. Loved this Jay.. great to see you.

Big thanks to soundman Cliff – thanks for being so ready and making it so comfortable for all of us.

Feb 23 – 8:30 – THE CACTUS CAFÉ

This is going to be a special night. First, because I simply love returning to this place (I always felt it sort of inherited the soul of The ARMADILLO, which was the most soulful venue on the planet back in the day). Secondly, as there is a huge controversy going on in town as to the possible closing of this legendary place (due to budget problems of UT, which owns the CACTUS), I want to be here to lend my support in person. The rank & file local music lovers are up in arm.

We arrived at 6:00 for a smooth sound check with great engineer Joe. So great to see old friend – bartender/ mgr Chris. Also .. Dave Jacques wife Lemesa & son (2 year old Henry) stopped by – great to see those guys. Lemesa is so nice & lovely & Henry.. well he’s GREAT & quite a character. He’s shy but has a wonderful little back & forth with his dad.. & that’s so great to see.

In minutes Joe had us sounding good so we had plenty of time to head across the street for a damn good simple Mexican dinner. Big thanks Joe.


It was great to see so many friendly faces as we headed for the stage. We divided the show into two parts at old-friend & mgr Griff’s request. I liked that as we could take some chances & perform more songs.


After THE REAL THING, a couple of Kendel gems & a very off-the-cuff DANCE WITH A HOLE IN YOUR SHOE, we got into the beginning of my YONKERS NY theme.. with the stories & songs of BARRY GO ON, BASTARD BROTHERS & HEY JONNY All of those connected big time with this warm, wonderful group of folks. We saved the rest of YONKERS for the second set, ending the first with Kendel’s AWESOME performance of SEVEN SHADOWS ON YOUR GOLDEN ROSES (the audience LOVED THIS!) and finally a beautiful/ chilling (at least for me) version of Angel Of The Morning.

I felt a kind of magic on stage – Kendel, John & David were awesome and I was very loose & comfortable. As I left the stage I couldn’t wait to get back up & see where this good vibe would take us.


After a fun YONKERS NY & a very spirited fiddle tune by Kendel – so appreciated by the audience – we went back to the stories & songs of Yonkers. The stories & songs of Gin Rummy Rules, SAW MILL RIVER ROAD & CHARCOAL SKY all connected with this nice group of folks – as did Kendel’s awesome/ fun performance of I LIKE TRUCKS

We slipped in a new tribute to the “Brill Building ” era. 1650 BROADWAY, which folks seemed to like a lot. THEN WE BLASTED OFF WITH AN AWESOME WILD THING. Then came the most chilling part of the night. I had just (that day) finished writing a tribute song for the Cactus. I decided to take a chance & perform it. The audience seemed so glad that I did. It was received as it was intended – with total reverence.

Here are the lyrics:

Jesus Christ – Don’t Let The Cactus Fall

Like an old man with hollowed eyes – that stoops to hear a baby cry
Or his old lady – that runs to help him – each time he calls
Will we not walk with heads bowed down – in the UT side of town
Oh Jesus Christ – don’t let the Cactus fall

Some will say – who gives a damn – for this sacrificial lamb
Well Townes and Lu and Guy & Joe & Ray(& Griff) have answered that call
Texas poets and some friends – and I am proud to stand with them
(Singin’) Jesus Christ – don’t let the Cactus fall

The Armadillo may be dead & gone – but Armadillo spirit lives in this room
And how I love to hear the sound – of my voice off these walls
My boots cross these floors

Like an old man with hollowed eyes – that stoops to hear a baby cry
Oh Jesus Christ – don’t let the Cactus fall
Oh Jesus Christ – don’t let the Cactus fall

(In the spirit of Joe Gracey – & passion of Eddie Wilson
Oh Jesus Christ – don’t let the Cactus fall)

Performing this song here for the first time tonight certainly will be a treasured moment for me. This was magic!

We ended with a rockin’ I WASN’T BORN IN TENNESSEE & a reverent HOLY SHIT, which ended up being another chill-time event! I just loved this show & this entire night!

Great to say hello to special folks including:

Rick & Bobby .. great to see you guys at sound check. Rick.. thanks for selling the CDs & all the kind words! Hope you enjoy the CDs

Hey Sonny (old friend) .. so great to see you. Thanks for bringing the crew.. golf pro J.L., wife Dawn & their son, Cole & all the rest. J.L.- big thanks for little “how to” book I’ll glance & pass it on to my boy, Kristian.. he’ll love it!

Hi to my GREAT friends Pat & Terry (I just love seeing you every time!) – & friend Rush (LAST CHANCE FAN) – thanks for the kind words. Hi to Dean & Lynn from Toronto.. so good seeing you both after the show. I was so glad you stopped to say hello.

Hi to new bartender Andrew & songwriter Pablo – so happy to hear the show might have got you back on track with your own work. All the best with that.

HI MEREDITH (MONA) – my new friend & Roller Derby girl. I’m so glad you made it!!! It was so good to see you & April later!

Big thanks to all for a very special night!

Feb 24, 2010 11:00 AM – KXAN TV

What a nice thing. This NEWS station is big time in Austin & yet all the staff were so kind & warm. It felt like you were in the living room of a bunch of friends.

Big hi to switchboard ladies, Suzanne & Carolyn.. so nice to see you.. LANEY (host/producer) – BIG THANKS FOR THE CORDIAL WELCOME. We all just loved this!!

ON AIR – 12:20

Chris ( a proud dad with two little kids .. 2 & 4) was a terrific host ..…so simple & solid… well done Chris!! After a short interview, we played CHARCOAL SKY & at the end of the show we ended with a rockin’ HEY JONNY.

Hi to: great staffers Kip & Easy (EZ??). Great meeting you guys! Big hi to my friend & legendary reporter, Jim Swift. So great to see you at the end, Jim, hope Katy makes it to WATERLOO.

Hope to see all you guys soon. What a nice way to spend a couple of hours!

Feb 24 – RECORDING SESSION.. 3:30 – Ryan Joseph’s place near WATERLOO RECORDS – thanks for the invite, Ryan!

For the purpose of recording our CACTUS CAFÉ tribute song, “JESUS CHRIST, DON’T LET THE CACTUS FALL”

Big thanks to Randy from the Texas Music Group for suggesting this place! And HUGE THANKS TO ENGINEER NICK for recording the song – well done my friend! What a wonderful blessing to be able to get this song recorded at the last minute!

And big thanks to John, Dave & Kendel.. for putting off breakfast & LUNCH to help document this song!


What an event!! I was so surprised that there were so many people here. I’m guessing the TV show helped! Absolutley LOVED THIS!!!

Playing the Waterloo when so many people attend is like playing one of the coolest venues on the planet. From the beginning I could see smiling/ friendly faces throughout the store.

We played several from YONKERS N.Y. The audience was way into that!! HEY JONNY, BASTARD BROTHERS & CHARCOAL SKY all connected. Then we played the hits, ANGEL OF THE MORNING & WILD THING. The audience was so totally into those as well. Leaving a monster chorus of WILD THING on these walls seems like a yearly jolt of therapy for many – including me! This was totally an “in it together” thing.

Then came the show stopper. When we played JESUS CHRIST – DON’T LET THE CACTUS FALL you could hear a pin drop. I got such a chill. There was total reverence in this room. Folks simply love this song. Hopefully we can release the recording soon.

Hi to:

Great to see Leslie, Katey & Carol.. Love you guys.. big thanks for the support ALWAYS!! good to see you.. wonderful work gathering signatures for saving the Cactus!!! – hi Vincent .. great to see you again & again!!!.. hope the retirement treats you OK.. on second thought… GET BACK TO WORK!!… hi to Dennis from Yonkers & Sunningdale.. great memories… Hi Earl .. loved talking to you .. thanks for the great words!!..

Hi Craig… hi Kate & John .. so good to see you again & again… hi Kevin.. thanks for the kind words!! .. hi Scott .. great to see you… hi to my old Columbia records cohort, Roger & lovely wife, Dorothy. Roger, big thanks for the support from the past & now .. between you & me.. HELLO ATLANTA was one of my favorites as well. Hope to see you soon again.

ALAN .. huge thanks for ALL the support .. see you next time!! … Hi Maria .. tell David I hope to see him next time!!!! .. hi DORA .. big thanks for attending your yearly WILD THING therapy sing-a-long!!.. hi Erick.. see you next time!! .. hi John & Pete & Penny & all the rest… GOD BLESS .. WHAT A DAY!!

ALSO!!! – Great to see my ROLLER DERBY GIRLS new friends, Meredith & April (Mona-Littlemore & APE SHIT… really! .. that’s their Roller Derby names!!) .. hope to see you guys very soon!! If you don’t have my email, contact me through the TRAIN WRECK RECORDS site. I get those emails!

Feb 24 – 7:00 PM – TV – CHANNEL 8 TV

– on a rooftop of LONG CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS .. overlooking the city

We filmed a very cool spot for now & for SXSW. Big thanks to host & good friend, ANDY LANGER (great job always Andy!!). Hi & thanks to all the staff .. Eddie, Jennifer & all – what a GREAT bunch. And what a terrific way to end the day.. & our Austin visit!!

The good news is we’ll be back soon for SXSW. Can’t wait!

Feb 20 – 2010 – HOUSTON

3:00 PM – John Platania and I arrived yesterday – had a good dinner, talk … rehearsed a bit. We’re ready for Kendel Carson & David Jacques when they arrive at our hotel – Kendel in from Vancouver.. Dave from a John Prine show in New Jersey. We kept one room for the band – to shower & change etc.

note: it’s a special thing for us to be with David Jacques.. friend John Prine’s awesome bassist for many years.

4:00 PM – THE MUCKY DUCK – we arrive at the venue for sound check. My friend & owner, Rusty Andrews, is there waiting for us. Rusty will double as bartender/ soundman, as my friend Shane is taking the night off. Once Rusty gets the monitors & mikes ready .. we check in minute – in time for a nice meal – ready for our early evening (6:00 PM) show.

Great to see Rusty’s better half, Theresa & the lovely, great staff; COURTNEY, LONNIE, TIFFANY & MELISSA.. big thanks girls – see you soon!

Big thanks to friend (singer/songwriter/bassist) Jack for hauling his bass over for the show. And thanks Jack for staying and being part of the great vibe tonight.

6:00 PM – THE SHOW

This is the first time we’ve played this Sunday/ early show, so we didn’t know what to expect. It wasn’t as full as normal, but these were great folks to play for – and we saw many new faces.

After THE REAL THING & two great Kendel songs (Oh Baby Lie Down & Ribbons & Bows) .. we started on the YONKERS NY songs & stories. As we got going, this was as magic as YONKERS gets. I could feel right away that the audience was way into the story. And that resulted in telling parts of the story for the first time. The band was awesome – and much appreciated by this great group of folks – and, as usual, they stayed with me at every turn.

Some highlights for me: BASTARD BROTHERS (told more of that story tonight), a requested GIN RUMMY RULES .. again this was a more in-depth look at the gambling stuff than I’ve told before.. CHARCOAL SKY .. this story & song gave me total chills tonight from beginning to end. And the band totally rocked on HEY JONNY.. JP & Kendel solos were AWESOME .. as was Dave’s solo on WILD THING! – which totally rocked as well.

We ended with a great – off-the-cuff HOLY SHIT.. with all the folks singing along. This was a special evening – one I won’t forget.

Said hi to some great folks, including:

Special hi to my friend Andrew Danzig, who a few years ago, interviewed me for Rolling Stone in New York .. & now works for the Houston Chronicle. ANDREW WAS THERE WITH HIS GREAT DAUGHTER (3?), HAZEL.. who helped me re-write HOLY SHIT – to get rid of the bad word.. so now it goes

“HOLY COW – here & now

I love my new friend Hazel…. BOW WOW!”

Which Hazel & I WILL sing together next time I’m in town!!

Big hello to my old friend Kyle Rhodes & a friend of Kyle’s dad, Sonny.. Jim Woodson. Also hi to another Sonny friend, Jim Hard. Hi Gary .. who’s dad is from YONKERS .. nice talking to you guys. Thanks for the kind words.

Big hello to my new friends at the center round table – Ruonda, Gerard, Martha & son Austin .. & opera singer/pastor Steven. It was wonderful meeting & talking to you all. Hope you liked the CD.. hope to see you all next time!

Hi Payton.. great to see you.. & Ken .. great to see you again & again. Big hi to Jason & Robert, who first saw Carrie & I with Robert Earl Keen years ago. Big hello to Clifton NJ friends John & Kate .. who have spent lots of time in the Westchester County White Plains area.. where I went to high school .. great to talk to you both. Hi Martin & Kent.. thanks for the kind words.. see you soon. Big Hi Dave.. say hi to my friends at THE CACTUS (record store) .. great talking to you.

Finally.. GREAT to see my old friend SHANE, who sopped by with his lovely friend Zena after the show. I’ll forgive you this time Shane.. but next time I play here – you bartend!! None this “day off” BS.

Rusty/ Theresa.. BIG THANKS!!! .. I can’t wait to come back – & Theresa/Andrew .. yes I will sing. “SON OF A ROTTEN GAMBLER” for you next time/

Anyway.. this was one to remember… see you all soon.