Wer war/ist JOHNNY T. TALLEY ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD und mehr

The 'T' in JOHNNY T. TALLEY stands for Tennessee where he was born, specifically in Nashville, on September 12, 1924. His real name, however, is John Carroll Talley. His early interest in music was encouraged by Fred Rose, a customer on Talley's newspaper round. C&W fan magazines tell us that Rose arranged for Talley to take guitar lessons from Grady Martin though Martin was five years younger and didn't move to Nashville until Talley was in his twenties.

As a teenager, Talley played steel guitar with the Oklahoma Playboys. After three years in the Airforce (1942-1945) he joined Autry Inman's group as a rhythm guitarist on radio WLAY in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. In 1950 he hooked up with Nashville's WKDA as a dee-jay and cut his first sides with bandleader Dick Stratton for the local Jamboree and Tennessee labels. One of these, If You've Got the Money, was actually in the shops before Lefty Frizzell's original; Jamboree's owners had befriended a Chattanooga dee-jay who slipped them pre-release copies of records with hit potential and, occasionally, they'd rush out a cover version before the original got started. In this case, however, Lefty Frizzell's more accomplished record outsold Talley's imitation. But Talley didn't give up easily; his follow-up on Tennessee, Look What Thoughts Will Do, was also associated with Lefty Frizzell.

Talley subsequently joined WSM as a dee-jay and toured with Bradley Kincaid, Jam Up & Honey and, for a brief period, as bass player with Bill Monroe. There were further dee-jay assignments with WYVE in Wytheville, Virginia, KEYD (later KEVE) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, WISK in St Paul, WENO in Madison, Tennessee and WHOO in Orlando, Florida.

In 1956, while dee-jaying at KEVE, Talley and his group, the Tennesseans, recorded one session for Mercury. (I've Changed My) Wild Mind c/w Lonesome Train betray the influence of Johnny Cash who also looms large over two unissued songs, a lachrymose Heartaches, Teardrops And Sorrow and a more worthy Feelin' Called The Blues. Released in August '56 'Billboard' called Lonesome Train a "slow pulsing blues job" and a "highly commercial disking".

Talley proselytized all things country. As a dee-jay and performer he helped create a demand in areas like the Twin Cities where previous interest was only modest. Lonesome Train sold well in that region and he received a plaque honouring him as the biggest selling Mercury artist in the upper Midwest. He made at least one more record, Devil's Hot Rod, on the Ekko label. Nonetheless, he abandoned a recording career for jobs in music publishing first with the Chicago-based M.M. Cole catalogue and then with Johnny Bond's Red River Songs where he placed After Loving You with Eddy Arnold (it was also recorded by Jim Reeves as well as black singers like Joe Henderson and Little Esther Phillips). By 1963 he had joined the Nashville office of Edward B. Marks.

'Rustic Rhythm' made a big deal of Johnny's amiability ("willingness to help...", "warm qualities...", "one of the most obliging people..." etc) and this suspicious-looking puffery was supported by Cincinnati rockabilly Bill Watkins who spoke to 'Goldmine' in 1978: "I went to Nashville and met this Johnny T.Talley and he was a fantastic person. I don't know whatever happened to him. He was real big though as a disc-jockey. He got material for Patsy Cline and all the big names - he was right in there. I met him at the radio station and he liked my material so well that he took me home with him".
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