Volume 94, Issue 88
Thursday, March 8, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Talley returns to get paid
Nashville City Blues
The music business is brutal.
James Talley released four critically acclaimed albums for Capitol Records in the mid-70s. He played at President Jimmy Carter's Inauguration in 1977 and is considered one of the finest folk/country songwriters of the seventies.
Rolling Stone magazine named his debut album one of the essential records of the decade. Why then, did James Talley disappear from the music world after 1978?
Unable to sign with any other labels in the harsh economic environment of the late '70s, Talley became a realtor in Nashville in the 1980s and has been selling property ever since.
Luckily, for fans of great folk and country songwriting, Talley now has the funds to release new music and re-release his back catalog on his own label. In 1999, he released an excellent tribute to the music of Woody Guthrie and songs about his (and Woody's) home state of Oklahoma, entitled Woody Guthrie and Songs of My Oklahoma Home.
Now, Talley has recently issued Nashville City Blues, a laid back record of country-tinged blues songs. The title track of the new record is a caustic, plain spoken tale of the music industry in Nashville.
"They wouldn't know old Hank if he came walking down the road." Talley sings, bitingly. He is no flash-in-the-pan sensation. He's a hardworking songwriter who has tasted a little bit of mainstream success and a whole lot of hardship pursuing what he calls in the liner notes to Nashville City Blues, his "fragile little dreams."
Nashville City Blues is a delightful listen. The 13 well-crafted songs on the disc by no means surpass Talley's work from the 1970s, but they do provide a glimpse at the abilities the man possesses and whets the appetite for the re-releases of his early work.
"I have the Nashville City Blues, and I am not leaving until I get paid," Talley exclaims, on the title track.
Here's hoping the pay comes soon.
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