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(Chip Taylor)

Bell 705

No. 7   June 29, 1968



“The day I wrote Angel, I was fooling around with some chords for about three or four hours,” Chip Tay­

lor told Bob Shannon  and John Javna in Behind the Hits.   “But nothing came out.   So I took a little

break, and still nothing came out.   Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, came ‘There’ll be no strings to

bind your hands, not if my love can’t bind your heart.’   I said, ‘What the hell is that?   That is beautiful’…

Within 10 minutes I’d written the whole song.”


Chip is legendary for his oddball C & W solo albums; for compositions like “Wild Thing,” “I Can’t Let Go,”

and “Step Out of Your Mind”; and for his part in the folk-rock duo JUST Us. Taylor had penned “Angel of

the Morning” for Evie Sands, one of rock’n’roll’s unsung singing sensations. “Angel,” issued on the Cameo

label, was going to make her a star.   The record company, however, went bankrupt, and Evie’s single

died along with it.


Seattle-born Merrilee Rush had been taking piano lessons since she was knee-high.   After 10 years of

classical training, the 13-year-old joined a local band called the Aztecs, then assembled the first of her

bands, Mer­rilee & Her Men, a year later.   “She played piano and sang like wild,” hometown DJ Pat

O’Day wrote in the liner notes to her first solo album in 1968.   In 1962, Mer­rilee joined Tiny Tony & The

Statics, recording for the Seafair/Bolo labels and playing clubs, hops, and dives.


Merrilee was soon fronting a new group, the Turn­abouts, which consisted of bassist Terry Craig, drum­

mer Pete Sack, guitarist Carl Wilson, and saxophonist Neil Rush.   After catching one of their perform-

ances, Paul Revere set up a managerial relationship with Mer­rilee and company; featured them on

Raiders’ tours; had them booked as a semi-regular act on Dick Clark’s “Happening ’68” TV program; and

secured a produc­tion deal for them with Tommy Cogbill and Chips Moman.   Bell Records issued “Angel

of the Morning,” and it became that million-seller Evie Sands would never see; though sure shoulda.


Despite two fine follow-ups–“That Kind of Woman” (#76, 1968) and “Reach Out” (#79, 1968) Merrilee

was unable to consolidate a high-profile career.   Recordings bearing her name surfaced sporadi­cally;

she returned to the Hot 100 in 1971 with “Save Me” (#54).   In 1982, the resurrected Liberty label issued

a long-overdue solo album.


As for the Turnabouts:  Carl–lucking out, bigtime–formed White Heart (later shortened to “Heart”) with

sisters Anne and Nancy Wilson.    Pete became a real estate broker and currently resides in Tacoma,

Washington.   Neil lives in the Portland area and runs a floor-covering company; Terry lives and works in

L.A. as a studio musician.


In 1981 country-pop singer–the HOMBRES’ B.B. Cunningham “discoveree”–Juice Newton returned

Chip’s eerie tune to Billboard’s Hot 100, where it peaked at number four.