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Gene Watson's peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers who were contacted during 2006 were most gracious with their time and words. It is here, within this special part of the Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from James Talley, which he submitted to this site on Sunday 2 July 2006.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to James Talley who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Sunday 2 July 2006.
'Gene Watson was always grounded in the true country music of working people. I remember one time in Atlanta, early in Gene's career; he was at the Great Southeast Music Hall in Atlanta.
Gene was taking his equipment out of the trunk of his car. There were all these body-working tools in the trunk that you would use to repair automobiles. The proprietor of the Music Hall asked Gene why he still carried all his body-working tools around with him, and he said, 'Well, in this business, you never know when I might have to go back to them'.
He had a wonderful voice and wonderful phrasing in his songs from the outset'.
Thank you, James Talley, for your support of Gene Watson.
About James Talley...
James Talley is an Oklahoma born folk-country-blues singer/songwriter, whose career now spans nearly forty years. His name has been mentioned alongside Woody Guthrie, Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan and he has been praised for the quality of his song-writing and wise, expressive voice.
As a youth, his family moved from their home state of Oklahoma to the state of Washington, where his father worked as a chemical operator in the now infamous Hanford plutonium factory. After five years in Richland, Washington, and realising the hazards his father's employment presented, the family relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico and the rich tri-cultured environment of the Southwest.
After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a degree in fine arts, James Talley, after encouragement from Pete Seeger, began to write songs that drew upon the culture of the Southwest that he experienced growing up.
These early songs eventually became 'The Road To Torreòn', a saga of life and death in the Chicano villages of northern New Mexico. These powerful songs sat on the shelf in Nashville until Germany-based Bear Family Records finally released the project in a beautiful box set edition in 1992, over twenty years after it was originally written.
In 1968, James Talley moved from New Mexico to Nashville to try and get his songs recorded. The late John Hammond Sr. at Columbia Records in New York was his first mentor and championed his writing in the early 1970s, as he had the careers of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen.
When Hammond could not get James' more country-flavoured sound signed at Columbia Records in New York, he sent him to Jerry Wexler, whose Atlantic Records was starting a new country division in Nashville at the time. Wexler signed James Talley to his first recording contract at Atlantic Records in 1972 along with Doug Sahm and Willie Nelson. Atlantic Records' Nashville operation, however, did not do well at the time and Atlantic closed its Nashville office.
James Talley then moved to Capitol Records where he released four now legendary albums during the mid-1970s:
'Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got a Lot of Love' (Capitol Records, 1975)
'Tryin' Like the Devil' (Capitol Records, 1976)
'Blackjack Choir' (Capitol Records, 1977)
'Ain't It Something' (Capitol Records, 1977)
Rolling Stone and other music publications declared these albums American classics.
During the 1980s, James Talley recorded two albums that were released by Germany-based Bear Family Records; 'American Originals' (Bear Family Records, 1985) and 'Love Songs And The Blues' (Bear Family Records, 1989).
During the 1990s, James finally released 'The Road To Torreòn' (1992), 'James Talley: Live' (1994) and 'Woody Guthrie And Songs of My Oklahoma Home' (2000). James Talley also saw the release of 'Nashville City Blues' in July 2000 and was named Amazon's 'Folk Artist of the Year' in 2000.
In 2002, James Talley released 'Touchstones', a re-recording of some of the classic songs from his four 1970s Capitol Records albums and in 2004, James saw the release of 'Journey', a live in-concert project recorded while on a tour of Italy.
In 2006, James Talley's acclaimed first Capitol album, 'Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got A Lot of Love', was reissued in a 30th Anniversary edition and was named in the Top 10 reissues of 2006 by No Depression magazine and The Nashville Scene.
James Talley performed twice at the White House for President Jimmy Carter and at the Smithsonian Institution; he has also performed in other concert venues around the United States and in Europe.
B.B. King played guitar on James Talley's third album, 'Blackjack Choir', in 1976, marking the first time the legendary bluesman had ever recorded in Nashville.
Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 - Friday 12 September 2003), Johnny Paycheck (Tuesday 31 May 1938 - Wednesday 19 February 2003), Alan Jackson, Hazel Dickens, Gene Clark & Moby, among others, have recorded James Talley's songs.
James Talley resides in Nashville.