Chip Taylor, Kendel Carson, John Platania – Rock and Roll Joe

January 01, 1970

(Train Wreck)


Subtitled A Tribute to
the Unsung Heroes of Rock N’ Roll, Rock and Roll Joe
is literally a love
song to the forgotten musicians and anonymous session players that have
contributed their talents to rock and pop’s musical legacy over the course of
its extended history, a trajectory that dates back to its very beginnings some
60 or so years ago. Chip Taylor may be a much-heralded hero owing to his
classic catalog (“Angel of the Morning” and “Wild Thing” being the two songs
that brought him to prominence back in the day), but he helms this heartfelt
homage with grace and finesse, maintaining authenticity in terms of both
substance and style.


Guitar, fiddle and an ace rhythm section vary the tempo
between the routine rave-ups and some ragged rumination, with Taylor, Carson
and Platania sharing the gruff, world-weary vocals. Taken in tandem, the
sixteen songs gel well, from the unabashed enthusiasm of “Measurin'” and “Sugar
Sugaree,” to the withering remorse of “Malmo Nights” and the title track. The
album is awash in personal insights, as expressed both in the liner notes and
an occasional spoken aside, although it’s “The Van Song,” a tongue in cheek
reference to the ongoing paycheck Platania’s provided by steady employer Van
Morrison, that gives the album its most humorous highlight. Inspired and
insightful, Rock and Roll Joe is a
traveler’s tale that generously credits some not-so-average Joes, while doing
justice to its storytellers too.


Sugaree,” “Malmo
Nights,” “The Van Song” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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