Videos by American Songwriter
We’re excited to bring you an exclusive preview of “Golden Kids Rules,” the title track to singer-songwriter Chip Taylor’s upcoming album on Smithsonian Folkways (due 10/18.)
As you may have guessed, Taylor recorded the record with his granddaughters (Riley, Kate and Sam), resulting in an “all in the family” vibe. Says Taylor’s brother, veteran actor Jon Voight: “Charm is an ingredient we seem to have lost in music over the years…and purity. To me, this album is a treasure that comes just at the right time to lift us to a reminder of the power of family and the majesty of children.”
Listen to the track, and read our interview with Chip Taylor, below, and see if it brings out the kid in you.
How would you describe the song?
It’s a charming song from a kid’s point of view about some good rules to follow – like doing your homework and saying stuff that you mean, as well as eating ice cream (“it’s good to have a little ice cream”), which is rule #2, a very important rule.
Later it says we appreciate kids, “even when they’re breaking some rules.” We believe kids should break rules sometimes. We think it’s good to do that.
Did the song come to you quickly, or did it take a lot of time?
It came rather quickly. I started it one evening just before I went to bed. I’m a stream of consciousness type of writer. I don’t think of what anything means until it flies out. If it gives me a bit of a chill, I try to identify it. I just started singing “Always say stuff that you mean, that’s golden kids rule #1”. It gave me a bit of a chill. Then I quickly said, “It’s okay to have a little ice cream, that’s rule # 2, for you.” I loved it! Just before I went to sleep I recorded that into my mini-disc player and went to sleep.
The next day, when the band was on a lunch break, I listened back to those couple of lines with their precious little melody. It felt good. I finished the rest of the song in about ten minutes. When the band came back from lunch we interrupted recording Rock & Roll Joe [Taylor’s tribute to the unsung heroes of rock & roll] for a few minutes and recorded the track of “Golden Kids Rules” with me singing vocals. The next week I played it for the girls and they loved it. A few weeks later we overdubbed them singing the song at my little studio in Mamaroneck, New York.
How was it recording with your grandkids?
It wasn’t always simple and easy but it was always rewarding. We recorded the girls one at a time and took our time to get the notes in tune and the words clear. Their mother (and my daughter) Kelly and my wife Joan were always there to cheer them on and keep them focused. They were a huge help in that regard! Sometimes their dad Frank was there as well. I loved watching the girl’s faces when they came into the control room and started smiling during the playback. It doesn’t get better than that – watching a kid feeling joy from his or her own efforts.