Paal Flaata – “Wait By The Fire”

Paal Flaata © Per Ole HagenChip Taylor is the American singer songwriter who wrote Wild Thing and Angel In The Morning before he started out as a professional gambler. Paal Flaata is the Norwegian singer songwriter who was the perfect voice in Midnight Choir before he went solo. Now Paal has made a CD with Chip Taylor’s songs and has got well deserved rave reviews.

Paal Flaata © Per Ole HagenPaal Flaata has made several CDs with some great songs without getting the success he deserves. All critics agree that he has got one of Norway’s absolutely best voices, and his concerts are always a demonstration of musical and vocal excellence. He has always chosen songs that he believes in, and this has given him one of the strongest catalogues in Norway, but without the obvious hits.

Chip Taylor © Per Ole HagendChip Taylor’s life story is a movie script in itself. He started out writing Wild Thing for The Troggs and then Angel Of The Morning, that was recorded by artists like Nina Simone, Abba, Chrissy Hynde and The Pretenders and numerous others. After this he stopped doing music and lived as a professional gambler for many years. He quit this business when his mother died, turning back to music and has since then been writing songs and performing with fellow artists like Carrie Rodriguez, Robbie Fulks, Kendel Carson and now Paal Flaata.

Paal Flaata © Per Ole Hagen

Wait By The FIre contains 10 songs by Chip Taylor, some new and some old. The last song on the album, This Darkest Day, was written in Halden, Norway the night after July 22. 2011 as a comment to the atrocities at Utoya and in Oslo that same day. It blends well with the rest of the songs, also old favorites like Angel Of the Morning, which has got a stripped down arrangement that suits Pall Flaata’s voice well.

Chip Taylor © Per Ole HagenWhen I listen to the CD, I get a strong feeling that these songs could have been written for Paal Flaata, even if they aren’t. He has a way of making them his own, and this is a compliment both to Chip Taylor and Paal Flaata. Even if Chip Taylor is a great singer and performer, his best songs have become larger than him, and work well both for The Troggs, Abba, himself and Paal Flaata.

Paal Flaata © Per Ole HagenPaal Flata is known for a melancholy way of singing and arranging his songs. This also works well for Wait For The Fire. The musicians, with his long time musical brother Goran Grini in the lead do stripped down arrangements that fits both the songs and Paal’s voice. The CD is recorded at the Athletic Sound Studio in Halden by Kai Andersen, or “Dr. Andersen”, as he is known among his many fans, and he has made a production that sounds dynamic and is full of details, even when there is only voice and piano.

Paal Flaata © Per Ole HagenMy favorite songs from the CD is Angel Of The Morning, This Darkest Day and the slightly rocked-up If I Stop Loving You.

Chip Taylor © Per Ole HagenPaal Flaata © Per Ole HagenPaal Flaata © Per Ole HagenThe pictures here are from various concerts with Paal Flaata and Chip Taylor, from Austin, Texas, Halden, Oslo and Drammen, Norway. All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used in any way without written permission.

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