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  • Uncle Dave Griffin

Tail of the Weak 1.6

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.

James Wesley Voight, American songwriter, music producer, and professional gambler, was born March 21, 1940 in Yonkers, New York.

A young James Wesley Voight.
A young James Wesley Voight.

The younger brother of Jon Voight, the famous actor who rose to fame in 1969's Midnight Cowboy, James Wesley attempted to follow in his daddy's footsteps as a professional golfer. After being sidelined with a wrist injury, he moved on to his other In 1961, he signed a contract with Warner Brothers Records and scored his first Top 100 single, “Here I Am”. His skills as a songwriter were noticed by record producer and country guitar whiz, Chet Atkins, who produced Bobby Bare's hit version of Voight's “Just a Little Bit Later On Down the Line”. By the mid-60s, Voight had signed on as a staff songwriter with CBS's Blackwood Music. It was here that the songwriting gods smiled down on James Wesley Voight. “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning” ensured his spot in the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

“Wild Thing”, a sexually charged garage band standard, was initially recorded by a U.S. band, Jordan Christopher and The Wild Ones. The version that we all love and remember was released by a British band, The Troggs, who took it all the way to No. 1 on Billboard's Top 100 in July 1966. Jimi Hendrix's live version of “Wild Thing” is the stuff of legend, as he sacrificed his Stratocaster in a flaming homage to Voight's song, on stage in front of a stunned audience at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. I wouldn't mind having that on my songwriting resume.

The beautiful and soulful “Angel of the Morning” became a hit in 1968, after Merrilee Rush recorded the song at American Sound Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, with Chips Moman and Tommy Cogbill producing. “Angel of the Morning” proved successful as a cross-over country hit in 1981 for Juice Newton, when it climbed the charts to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. With a track record like that, I'm not the least bit surprised that Voight tried his hand at professional gambling during a hiatus from the music business in the early Eighties. He was one of the foremost thoroughbred horse race handicappers on the East Coast and finished 3rd in the World Blackjack Championship in Las Vegas. Voight's songs have been recorded by the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Janis Joplin, and Emmylou Harris. Just this year, he was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. The roll of the dice and the draw of the card were with him throughout his career. Lady Luck smiled at him; and, he smiled back. Sometimes, all it takes is a little luck to go along with all that hard work and sincere conviction. His mama and daddy called him “Wes”. Angelina Jolie calls him “Uncle”.

The world calls him Chip Taylor, one talented songwriter from Yonkers, New York.

19th Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival Advance Weekend Passes:

REFERENCES Wikipedia Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin

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