James Talley was born in Oklahoma in 1944. He moved with his family first to Washington State and then Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he studied fine art at the University of New Mexico. He started writing songs, encouraged by a meeting with folk singer Pete Seeger and drawing on the culture of the Southwest for inspiration. In 1968 he made the move to Nashville to try and get his songs recorded. He had a supporter in John Hammond Sr., who tried but didn't succeed in getting him signed to Columbia Records. In 1972 he was briefly signed to a new Nashville branch of the Atlantic label, but it did not do well and the Nashville office was closed after he had just recorded one single.
He eventually got to record his debut album by taking things into his own hands, and paying for it out of his own pocket. With 1000 copies pressed to distribute to radio stations and record labels, it was soon taken up by Capitol Records and saw release in 1975. It was a fantastic collection of original songs in a laid-back, country-flavoured style, and it proved his worth as a talented new songwriter. It did not sell well, but was very popular with the critics, and still sounds fresh today.
|> Tryin' Like The Devil (1976)
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