Chip Taylor is probably best known today for his partnership with violinist Carrie Rodriguez. But his journey from writing The Troggs' garage rock hit, Wild Thing, to the Americana favorite he's become today has been a long and strange one. "Yonkers NY," with its autobiographical songs, helps tell a little of this unique man's story. For instance, the quiet Gin Rummy Rules outlines Taylor's years as a professional gambler.
The packaging for the CD makes a great case for owning physical CDs over mere MP3 files. This release comes with two CDs - one disc is interspersed with spoken word stories, the other just has the songs. There is also a lovely booklet that contains plentiful pictures of Taylor's childhood family memories. Although many of these songs are quiet and thoughtful, Hey Jonny (Did You Feel That Movie) is upbeat, with a lyrical nod to Bill Haley & His Comets Rock Around The Clock.
Taylor sings each of these 11 songs with a sandpaper rough voice. But much like Kris Kristofferson - a similarly vocally challenged singer - Taylor makes up for these deficiencies with a tone that clearly belies his voice of experience. It also doesn't hurt to have Greg Leisz - whom he even calls out by name during No Dice - playing all over this recording. Traveling down memory lane with Taylor during Yonkers NY is a trip you won't soon forget.