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James Talley - Got No Bread, Got No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got A Lot Of Love – 30th Anniversary Edition
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

If music is your passion, and I’m not talking hats, hair and navels or the twang of the latest CMT wannabee, I’m talking real, heartfelt and revealing music that’s strung with vision, depth and humanity, then, if your answer is yes, remember this name: James Talley.  The sensitive troubadour is celebrating the re-issue of Got No Bread… on Cimarron Records. It marks the 30th anniversary of the original release. At the time, it was an album that claimed wide critical interest for its lyrical honesty and life-worn observations.  It deserves the title of classic album; one listen and you’ll easily hear why. And despite the time travel, it still holds strong.

Now repackaged into a two-CD set, it’s a collector’s gem. Talley is a crafted songwriter, who despite a rich catalogue, remains just off the radar. Yet his work and his history, as well proven by this release, show that good music, like fine wine, ages well. Before getting to the music, you’re encouraged to listen to the second disc. It’s a one-hour radio interview where Tally, in a modest and self-effacing style, shares a bit about himself, his life and his driving passion, the music. It’s an honest piece of audio that sets the mood for this now-dated but highly rewarding debut.  Also, check the liner booklet with its engaging essay, dated photos and song lyrics. It offers a historic context that’s both interesting and revealing.     

The history of the album is a story in itself. The Oklahoma-born Talley believed strongly in the value of his songs. Arriving in Nashville in ‘68, as he shares on the album with not even a phone number to call, the singer and songwriter with a degree in fine arts set about a recording contract. Undeterred when it didn’t come as expected, he did the next best thing -- he made his own record. Hiring a band of top session players, and armed with 12 crafted and rural-shaped tunes, Talley invested some of the dollars he made as a daytime health and welfare worker and produced 1000 copies. The album attracted fans and wide and varied favorable reviews. Capitol Records eventually picked up the album. Time has proven it was a wise decision.   

Tally’s style is simple, honest and no-frills. He writes from his heart. He takes his inspiration from life. He taps into the social, the rural, the forgotten, and a myriad of other humanitarian matters and issues, circumstances and situations that hallmark a gifted and creative writer.

When asked about his particular gift, Tally has said: “I’m not a missionary. I’m just someone that tells stories about our culture and tries to put them together in a craftsman-like fashion.”    

Well, there’s no doubt. He succeeds. On an album laced with swing, shades of Guthrie, blues and country, he shares rich tales of lost love, the everyday existence of ordinary lives, all peppered with sharp social observation. It shows someone who’s spent the time to look, reflect, and, then when the picture’s captured and understood, meld it into music.  

Listen out for standout out tracks like the spirited ode to Saturday night on “W.Lee O’Daniel and The Light Crust Dough Boys”. It’s packed with steel, fiddle and traditional country music leanings. Another prime choice is the loving sentiment of “Got No Bread…” telling of a man who doesn’t like to brag, about a woman who can make his dinner from an old dishrag. Then there’s the honky-tonk revelry of “Give Him Another Bottle,” while “Blue Eyed Ruth And My Sunday Suit” is a joyous feel about a guy with a gal, a pressed suit and a longed-for Saturday night. These tracks are personal likes, but, and as you’ll keenly hear, every track here is a winner.

“These songs,” tells Talley,” have brought me some of my greatest joys in life as well as some of the greatest sorrows. They are my dreams, my creations, my children. To this day, I still believe in the power of these dreams. Dreams are our light, dreams are the impossible, dreams are our desire and our longing. Dreams are reaching for something beyond, something around the bend and over the hill. They propel us into the future. They sustain us and give us hope. I still have many dreams left to dream…and many songs left to sing.“  

James Talley is a musical poet, a visionary and a lyricist with a honed heart. His double-CD, which hits the shelves on February 21, proves it. His varied and rich back catalogue confirms it.


Got No Bread, Got No Milk, No Money, But We Sure 
Got A Lot Of Love
song list:

To purchase the CD online just click on the album cover on the left. 
1. W.Lee O’Daniel & The Light Crust Doughboys
2. Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got A Lot Of Love
3. Red River Memory 
4. Give Him Another Bottle 
5. Calico Gypsy 
6. To Get Back Home 
7. Big Taters In The Sandy Land
8. No opener Needed 
9. Blue Eyed Ruth And My Sunday Suit 
10. Mehan, Oklahoma 
11. Daddy’s Song 
12. Take Me To The Country 
13. Red River Reprise

Related Links:
www.jamestalley.com - Official Site

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