Just down the street from the Village Playhouse is a local restaurant known for its flavored chicken wings. That eatery’s radio commercial uses a modified version of the tune “Wild Thing” to advertise its goods. One has to wonder what Chip Taylor, who wrote that rock classic, would think of his material being used to sell Buffalo wings.
Taylor has not been content to coast on the immense success of that one great song. Taylor and his current playing partner, Austin-born fiddle player Carrie Rodriguez, kicked things off with “The Real Thing”, a Taylor song made popular by George Strait. From there, the band, which also featured bassist Kyle Kegerreis and guitarist Hans Holzen, bounced around material from Taylor and Rodriguez’s three albums together, performing the title track from 2002′s Let’s Leave This Town as well as songs from their recent Red Dog Tracks, including “Keep Your Hat On Jenny”, “Must Be The Whiskey” and “Oh Set A Light”. (On that last song, the crowd sang along, prompting Taylor to remark, “Damn, that’s pretty.”)
One of the evening’s more beautiful moments came with Taylor and Rodriguez harmonizing on the mournful “Once Again, One Day…Will You Be Mine”, while Kegerreis bowed his upright bass. Rodriguez has such a lovely voice, it’s difficult to believe that early on in their collaborating, it took a considerable amount of coaxing from Taylor to get her to sing.
Aside from the excellent musical performances, the show also benefited from Taylor’s anecdotes between songs, including tales of how he almost didn’t record “Wild Thing”, and his reaction to reggae artist Shaggy’s reinterpretation of another one of his hits, “Angel Of The Morning”. (“That cover sold 14 million copies,” marveled Taylor, adding with a grin, “Yes, I took the money.”)
Taylor performed satisfying acoustic renditions of those two classic songs (“Wild Thing” benefited from Rodriguez’s fiddle playing), as well as a cover of “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It”, before sending the crowd home.