Talbert, Wayne (and the Melting Pot)
Band members Related acts
Talbert - vocals, keyboards
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Title: Dues To Pay
Country/State: Houston, Texas
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Catalog ID: 4512
Price: SOLD $25.00
I've known about keyboardist Wayne Talbert for years. The funny thing is I knew him through his work as they keyboard player in the Sir Douglas Quintet. Until I stumbled across this LP, I didn't know he'd recorded any solo material. Doing a little research I was even more amazed to discover that Talbert has been recording since the early 1960s. In fact he made his solo debut with a 1962 single for the obscure New Orleans-based Venus Records - 'Two Hearts In Love' b/w 'all of Me' (Venus catalog number 1442).
From what I can piece together, Talbert's early 1960s work found him working with Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack) and producer Huey P. Meaux. The mid-1960s saw him doing prison time on drug charges in an Alabama jail (must have been a fun experience). Released in 1967, he followed half of the country in moving to Los Angeles where he renewed his working relationship with Rebennack. With support from Rebennack he landed a job with Irving Garr's Mercury Records' affiliated Pulsar subsidiary.
Talbert's tenure with Pulsar led to the release of his first album - 1969's "Dues To Pay". Produced by Rebennack (who also contributed the closing track 'The United State of Mind'), the LP sports one of the year's most depressing album covers; Talbert posed in an L.A. alley looking like a homeless wino, complete with tattoos and don't fu*k with me expression (albeit wearing what look like expensive boots). Musically material such as the title track, 'What More Can I Say' and '' featured an interesting mix of blue-eyed soul, downbeat bluesy moves and a mild jazzy vibe. In spite of some truly downbeat lyrics ('Schizophrenic Susan Minnick' and the oddly MOR-ish 'Hell of a World') the results are actually much better than you'd anticipate. Interestingly, Talbert's keyboard moves and his rough hewn and slurred voice actually bare a mild resemblance to that of Dr John, or even Delbert McClinton on the funkier tracks ('Love Ain't What It Used To Be'). Mind you the set's far from perfect. Talbert's voice certainly won't appeal to everyone and the horn arrangements (and strident female backing vocals) will certainly turn off quite a few folks. In my simplistic rating scale, the horns caused the album to lose a star.
"Dues To Pay" track listing:
1.) Dues To Pay (Wayne Talbert - Ira Kamin) - 6:19
2.) What More Can I Say (Wayne Talbert) - 4:00
3.) Schizophrenic Susan Minnick (Wayne Talbert) - 3:15
4.) Love Ain't What It Used To Be (King Floyd - Little Milton) - 3:03
1.) Hell of a World (Wayne Talbert) - 3:54
2.) Suddenly (Wayne Talbert) - 3:23
3.) Funky Ellis Farm (Wayne Talbert) - 3:06
4.) Cryin' Bag (Wayne Talbert - Powell St. John) - 3:12
5.) The United State of Mind (Mac Rebennack) - 3:15
I've never heard them, but Talbert recorded at least two other albums: 1969's 'Lord Have Mercy On My Soul' (Pulsar catalog number AR-10607 ) and 1970's 'Houston Nickel Kicks' (Mercury catalog number SR-61259). As mentioned earlier, in addition to his solo work he's best known for his work as a sessions player (James Cotton, Dr. John, Mother Earth, etc.) and as a member of Doug Sahm's early-to-mid 1970s Sir Douglas Quintet line up.
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