Sunday, 4 November 2012

Tommy Talton is one of the best songwriters and guitarists of our time. He is a founding member of Capricorn Records group Cowboy. While in Macon, GA through most of the 70s, Talton was a studio musician recording with artists such as Gregg Allman, The Allman Brothers Band, Bonnie Bramlett, Martin Mull, Corky Lang (West, Bruce and Lang, Mountain, Dickey Betts, Clarence Carter, country legend Kitty Wells, Alex and Livingston Taylor, Arthur Conley of Sweet Soul Music fame, and more. He toured extensively throughout the U.S. with Cowboy and with the Gregg Allman tour, from Carnegie Hall (as special guests) to Fillmore West in San Francisco and most cities in between. Talton was also the guitarist on Gregg Allman's "Laid Back" album.


We the People were an American garage rock band from Orlando, Florida that were formed in late 1965 and professionally active between 1966 and 1970 Although none of their singles charted nationally in the U.S., a number of them did reach the Top 10 of the local Orlando charts The band are perhaps best remembered for their song "Mirror of Your Mind" which reached the Top 10 in a number of regional singles charts across the U.S. during 1966 The song has subsequently been included on several compilation albums over
We the People consisted of musicians drawn from a number of different Orlando based garage bands. In the early 1960s, The Coachmen, a frat rock band who were a popular fixture at local college parties, merged with members of another local group, the Nation Rocking Shadows, to form The Trademarks. Then, in late 1965, Ron Dillman, a writer for the Orlando Sentinel, brought together members of The Trademarks and members of another local group, The Offbeets (formerly known as The Nonchalants), to form a garage rocksupergroup of sorts named We the People. The band were notable for having two talented and prolific songwriters, Tommy Talton and Wayne Proctor, with the latter writing most of the band's most popular songs.
With Dillman in place as the band's manager, We the People quickly released "My Brother, the Man" in early 1966 on the local record label, Hotline. The single was a Top 10 hit locally and gained enough airplay to enable the band to sign a publishing deal with Nashville-based producerTony Moon, which, in turn, led to a recording contract with Challenge Records.[2] The band's second single, "Mirror of Your Mind" (b/w "The Color of Love"), was released on the label in June 1966. The song is marked by the pounding drums, wailing harmonica, raucous vocals, and crazedfuzz guitar that characterized the band's signature sound. Although the single failed to reach the national charts, it was a big regional hit in a number of locations across the United States, most notably in Nashville and Orlando During the 1980s, the song was also responsible for posthumously bringing We the People to the attention of music fans all over the world, when it was included on Nuggets, Volume 6: Punk Part Two, the sixth volume of the Nuggets series of albums.
"Mirror of Your Mind" was followed in September 1966 by "He Doesn't Go About It Right", which included "You Burn Me Up and Down" on the B-side. Like "Mirror of Your Mind", "You Burn Me Up and Down" has gone on to become one of the band's most famous songs, due to its inclusion on various garage rock compilation albums. We the People's fourth single, "In the Past" (b/w "St. John's Shop"), was released in late 1966 and featured the sound of a locally made musical instrument that the band used instead of the sitar, which was becoming popular on records at that time. The eight-stringed instrument, dubbed the "octachord" by the band, had been made by a friend's grandfather and looked like a large mandolin.[4] The octachord was played on the record and at live concert appearances by the band's lead guitarist, Wayne Proctor, who still has the instrument in his possession today. Despite "In the Past" being released as the band's fourth single, local radio stations preferred to play the softer B-side over the more psychedelic sounding A-side, which resulted in "St. John's Shop" reaching No. 2 on the local Orlando charts. "In the Past" was later covered in 1968 by The Chocolate Watch Band on their second albumThe Inner Mystique.[1][8]
We the People suffered a major setback in early 1967 when songwriter and lead guitarist Wayne Proctor left the band and returned to college in an attempt to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War.[4] The band issued a further three singles on RCA Records throughout 1967 and 1968 before the band's second songwriter, Tommy Talton, left in mid-1968. This departure, coupled with the expiration of their RCA recording contract, effectively ended the band's recording career. We the People limped on throughout 1969 and into 1970, until Ron Dillman decided to disband the group following a Halloween concert on October 31, 1970. After leaving the band, Proctor went on to write the minor hit, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" for The Lemonade Charade and today plays with local bands in South Carolina. Tommy Talton went on to form the country rock band Cowboy with Scott Boyer and was consequently the only member of We the People to have a professional music career after the 1960s.

Later releases

Although We the People did not release an album during the 1960s, a handful of compilations by the band have appeared over the years. The first of these, Declaration of Independence, was issued in 1983 by Eva Records and later re-released on CD by Collectables Records in 1993. Declaration of Independence consists of tracks that originally appeared on the band's singles. In 1998 Sundazed Records released an exhaustive 2 CD retrospective titled Mirror of Our Minds, which again featured the band's singles along with previously unreleased material and songs by other related bands. This was followed in 2007 by a limited edition vinyl only LP release, titled In the Past, which appeared on the Spanish label, Wohn Records. In 2008, Sundazed issued a second compilation, titled Too Much Noise, which brought together tracks from the band's Challenge Records era in an approximation of an official album, as it might have appeared had the band released one during the 1960s.

Band members

§  Randy Boyte - Organ (1966–1970)
§  David Duff - Bass (1966–1970)
§  Tommy Talton - Guitar (1966–1968)
§  Wayne Proctor - Lead Guitar (1966–1967)
§  Tom Wynn - Drums (1966)
§  Lee Ferguson - Drums (1966–1967)
§  Terry Cox - Drums (1967–1970)
§  Carl Chambers - Guitar (1968–1969)
§  Skip Skinner - Guitar (1969–1970)



§  "My Brother, the Man"/"Proceed with Caution" (Hotline 3680) 1966
§  "Mirror of Your Mind"/"The Color of Love" (Challenge 59333) 1966
§  "He Doesn't Go About It Right"/"You Burn Me Up and Down" (Challenge 59340) 1966
§  "In The Past"/"St. John's Shop" (Challenge 59351) 1966
§  "Follow Me Back to Louisville"/"Fluorescent Hearts" (RCA Victor 47-9292) 1967
§  "Love Is a Beautiful Thing"/"The Day She Dies" (RCA Victor 47-9393) 1967
§  "Ain't Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You)"/"When I Arrive" (RCA Victor 47-9498) 1968

Compilation albums

§  Declaration of Independence (Eva 12009) 1983
§  Declaration of Independence [Reissue] (Collectibles COL-CD-0532) 1993
§  Mirror of Our Minds (Sundazed SC 11056) 1998
§  In the Past (Wohn WHNLP009) 2007
§  Too Much Noise (Sundazed SC 6258) 2008
From Wikidepia, the free Encyclopedia


Cowboy was a country/southern rock band from Jacksonville, Florida who released four albums through legendary Capricorn Records label in 1970´s. They are probably best remembered from the song “Please Be With Me” which Eric Clapton covered in his 461 Ocean Boulevard album. 

Cowboys were put together in 1969 by Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton. After getting Taltons old friend, Tom Wynn to play drums, George Clark on bass and Bill Pillmore on keyboards they were all soon living in a house together in Jacksonville, practicing day and night.

Duane Allman recommended the band to Phil Walden, who signed them to his legendary Capricorn Records label. Cowboy released their debut album "Reach for the Sky" in 1970 and soon after they headed to Muscle Shoals studios to work on their sophomore album, Five'll Getcha Ten. In 1973 Cowboy released Why Quit When You're Losing?, toured with the Allman Brothers Band with new drummer, Bill Stewart, after which, Boyer, along with Talton, was recruited as members of the Capricorn rhythm section. Cowboy was also the backup band for Gregg Allman's 1974 On Tour album.Cowboys got briefly back together in 2007 and recorded a new album, which has not been released yet. In these days Tommy Talton has his own The Tommy Talton Band and he also plays in The Capricorn Rhythm Section along side with Scott Boyer.

Cowboy is one of those bands that brings back strong memories of the 70s heyday of Capricorn Records.  From playing on Gregg Allman's classic Laid Back and the follow-up live CD, The Gregg Allman Tour to creating masterpieces like "Please Be With Me," "Time Will Take Us,"and "All My Friends," they defined the laid-back, country soul of that time and place. Cowboy influenced everyone from Eric Clapton and Bonnie Bramblett to the Marshall Tucker Band, and the Southern Rock movement wouldn't have been the same without them.  They not only recorded four albums for Capricorn, they also played on numerous other releases for other artists on the label.

With all of their original Capricorn albums out of print, for many years Cowboy fans had nothing but memories of the original band and their scratchy old vinyl LPs to remind them of this underrated supergroup. However, on December 17th, 2010, that all changed when Cowboy played their first show in years at the Capitol Theater in Macon, Georgia.  It was an extraordinary night full of love and laughter and memories with this wonderful band as they played at a level that few achieve.  The set list flowed from one hit into the next and the playing and singing was heartfelt and passionate - as homecomings should be.
From Hittin' The Note


Tommy Talton was born too late to be a fan of rock & roll's first wave -- opening his eyes to the world in the early '50s, he should have missed Elvis Presley's pre-Army days, but he didn't mostly thanks to his sister, five years his senior, who went around the family's Orlando, FL-area home singing the Memphis Flash's early records, along with those of Nat King Cole and others. His interest in the guitar began at age eight when he saw an instrument owned by one of his uncles and plucked one of the strings, and saw it vibrate and heard the sound it made, and by the time he was 13 he was pursuing the learning of the instrument in earnest.

That coincided just about perfectly with the arrival of the British Invasion, and he became a fan of a local band called the Nonchalants, who eventually became the Offbeets and whose ranks included David Duff on bass, guitar, and vocals; drummer Tomm Wynn; and guitarist Dennis Messimer. It was Messimer's departure for military service in 1966 that left an opening, and an offer to the 16-year-old Talton -- who was still a fan of the group -- to join the Offbeets, who had already made some professional recordings.

Later in 1966, the Offbeets merged with a group from Leesburg called the Trademarks, and formed We the People. This put Talton into harness alongside that group's lead guitarist, Wayne Proctor, two years older than Talton. They inspired each other with their virtuosity, not only in their playing (where they would switch off between lead and rhythm guitar and bass with Duff) but also their songwriting, and their differences enhanced each other's work, Talton into more straight-ahead rock & roll with a high level of sophistication while Proctor had a penchant for the angular and unexpected. Working both in collaboration and parallel to each other, they generated a strong array of original material, of which the highlights included Talton's "Mirror of Your Mind" and "Lovin' Son of a Gun."

We the People made a decent attempt to break out of central Florida to national recognition but never quite made the leap, instead leaving behind an impressive array of singles for the Challenge and RCA labels. In 1967 Proctor left owing to worries about the military draft, but Talton kept up the quality of his work, turning in "The Day She Dies," an exceptionally beautiful rock ballad that ended up as the B-side of their second RCA single, "Love Is a Beautiful Thing," while his next B-side, "When I Arrive," was a piece of snarling garage punk.

He basically aged out of the group, and ended up leaving at 18, after nearly three years with the Offbeets or We the People. Talton headed to Nashville (where We the People had worked for a time), and then to California, where he turned most of his attention to songwriting. Eventually, he linked up professionally with Scott Boyer, Chuck Leavell, and Bill Stewart to form Cowboy, a country-rock outfit that became a mainstay of Phil Walden's Capricorn Records, and enjoyed an especially close association with Gregg Allman when the latter embarked on his solo career, backing him on his first national tour and the perennially popular live album that resulted.

Talton was also closely associated for a time with Livingston Taylor, and eventually Talton and Boyer became the only two members of Cowboy to stay for the duration, releasing records together until 1977 and the collapse of Capricorn. He also worked with Bill Stewart in Talton Stewart Sandlin, along with Capricorn mainstay Johnny Sandlin and singer Bonnie Bramlett, releasing one album in 1976. As a session player -- on guitar, mandolin, and Dobro -- he also recorded with such diverse figures as Kitty Wells, Dickey Betts, Martin Mull, Johnny Rivers, Sea Level, and Corky Laing during the 1970s. As of the early 21st century, Talton was living in Luxembourg, far from the Southern rock music scene of which he was a part during the 1960s and 1970s.

The late sixties and early seventies were the golden years for the independent record labels. This was long, long before the entire music industry was swallowed up and controlled by three or four giant conglomerates. Like many record aficionados I had my favorite indie record labels. Asylum was my very favorite. In the mid-seventies they seemed like the label that was releasing everything I loved: Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, John David Souther, Linda Ronstadt, Souther-Hilllman-Furay Band, Tom Waits, etc. There were also some lesser known, but still very good artists I liked such as Dick Feller, Andrew Gold, David Blue and Dennis Linde. And, of course, they had two Bob Dylan albums (Planet Waves and Before The Flood) and the Byrds reunion album. It got to the point where I knew every album on the Asylum label by the catalog number (For Everyman was 5067, Desperado was 5068, etc.). Other favorite labels included Elektra (which later merged with Asylum), Island, Capricorn and Arista. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I would buy anything on one of these labels, but I would certainly consider it. If there was a band or an artist I’d never heard of before I’d pay more attention simply because they were on one of these labels. Due to their excellent track record, labels like these had credibility with me (and lots of others). Sure there were some misfires now and then, but that’s to be expected. But these were the days when indie labels like this were really run by music lovers, music fans. Sadly, they would all be swallowed up at some point by major label greed and all that credibility would slowly run down the drain. There are still excellent indie labels around (there will always be) but they don’t have the standing, power and marketshare that these labels had back in the day.
Capricorn was the home to “southern-rock,” mainly The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop and more. They also released a couple of fantastic albums by Livingston Taylor (brother of James). One of my favorite releases on Capricorn is a very hard to find album by Tommy Talton, Bill Stewart and Johnny Sandlin (listed on the album as T. Talton / B. Stewart / J. Sandlin) called Happy To Be Alive released in 1976. It’s never been released on CD (of course) and to be truthful I’ve never even found anyone else who’s heard it. It’s a real shame, because this is a great album. It’s very unique album, quite unlike anything else ever released on Capricorn.
Tommy Talton was a member of Cowboy, another Capricorn band who released four albums in the seventies (Reach For The Sky, 5'll Get You Ten, Boyer & Talton and Cowboy). The band made some fine albums (none of which are available on CD), but never really garnered much of a following outside of their home base in Macon, GA, though they did tour with Gregg Allman and had two songs featured on his 1974 live album The Gregg Allman Tour (which is also, unfortunately, no longer available on CD, though it is available as an MP3 download at Amazon and iTunes). Talton plays all the guitars and handles all the vocals. Bill Stewart, a well known rock drummer, plays drums on the album. Stewart worked with folks like Roy Buchanan, Cowboy, Bonnie Bramlett, Greg Allman, The Allman Brothers, Tim Hardin, The New Riders Of The Purple Sage and lots of others. Johnny Sandlin was a very in-demand producer and engineer for the Capricorn stable of artists as well as the head of A&R for the label. He produced records by Cowboy, Alex Taylor (another James Taylor brother), Duane Allman, Wet Willie, White Witch, The Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop and a whole lot more. He was the drummer for Hourglass, the band led by Duane and Gregg Allman before the Allman Brothers. He also plays drums, guitar, bass and probably a few other instruments. Sandlin produced this album and plays bass (and guitar on two songs).
I have no idea how this album came about. It looks, sounds and feels like a one-off project, though I’m sure if it had seen some success those involved would have been happy to continue on. This is not a “big” album. It’s not a grand statement. It’s really just three friends (with a little help from a few guest musicians) hanging out, recording some songs and basically just doing what they do best, making music. But don’t let that fool you. It’s honest, heartfelt music that really stands up remarkably well over thirty years later.
Tommy Talton wrote nine of the ten songs on the album (one is a co-write with Art Schilling and one is an Allen Toussaint cover).  ”Don’t Ride Away” opens the album and sets the mood. It’s an distinctive mix of southern-rock and singer-s0ngwiter with just a touch of reggae. The acoustic based ballad “Never In My Life” features a unique arrangement that gives it a nice feel (again with a very slight reggae feel on the choruses). “Baby Could We Be Alone?” takes the reggae up a step or two. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a reggae album. But the influences are undeniable and very cleverly woven into a southern-rock sound. “Stalemate Blues” is a straight ahead, direct, standard blues work out with everyone locking together in a nice solid groove. Some great keyboard work from Chuck Leavell. “It Might Be The Rain” is a slow, moody, slinky piece of southern blues.
The band works through several more fine songs (especially “Strong And Weak” the closest thing to a “single” on the album), including a fun rendition of Allen Toussaint’s “Workin’ In A Coal Mine” (where they sound as if they are just having a ball), but the highlight of the album is the title track, the last song on the album. “Happy To Be Alive” is a minor masterpiece of a song: moving, infectious and altogether impossible to get out of your head. A poignant ode to coming of age, changing, growing and loving life throughout it all.
Happy To Be Alive is one of those albums that I hold near and dear, in part because it seems like my own little private secret. I’d love to see it released on CD, but that seems very unlikely. I’ve transferred by vinyl copy to CDR (it sounds great) and listen to it on a regular basis. I never get tired of it.


In the past two years, Tommy Talton has stunned the Southern music scene with a new band, a new determination and a steamer trunk full of exceptional new music. Some of the new music was brought back from Europe, where Talton had lived for some time. 

The work that Talton did in the 1970s with collaborator Scott Boyer and Cowboy, Gregg Allman, Sandlin and Stewart and other artists signed to Capricorn Records, and Talton's recent work with Capricorn Rhythm Section, are appreciated widely by music aficionados, but the songs Tommy wrote over the last 15 years have gone virtually unheard – until now. Tommy Talton in Europe showcases cherry-picked recordings by the two bands that Talton has led most recently.

The 13 tracks assembled for this CD offer an insightful strut through material as complicated and sundry as Talton himself, culminating near the dusty intersection of soul, blues and Southern-tinged roots rock. From the very start, Tommy Talton in Europe ushers the listener back to a time when most believed there was a great recording for every mood and there was a mood for each recording.

The first eight tracks of Tommy Talton in Europe were recorded in 1995 in the small village of Schifflange, in the south of Luxembourg. These tunes were recorded while Talton was working with members of Albert Lee's backing band, a band Tommy dubbed the Rebelizers. A successful group of stellar musicians, the Rebelizers worked extensively in Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and France. They included Talton (all guitars/lead vocals), Peter Baron (drums/percussion/harmony vocals), Chris Janssen (fretless bass guitar) and Mike Bell (all keyboards/string arrangements).

The final five "bonus tracks" were recorded in drummer David Keith's Gintown Studios in Graysville, AL with the Tommy Talton Band in 2006 and 2007. The musicians on the "bonus tracks" are Tommy Talton (all guitars/lead vocals), David Keith (drums/percussion/harmony vocals), Brandon Peeples (bass and harmony vocals), and Tony Giordano (keyboards and harmony vocals).

Tommy Talton in Europe bolts out of the chute with "Restless," an in-your-face, relationship romp. Talton wears his attitude and feelings way out on his sleeve, and somehow balances soul, rhythm and raunchiness, while "In the Middle of the Night" brings Talton's tenacious R&B texture bubbling to the surface. "Time Will Never Change," another R&B masterpiece, begins with an inspirational piano and fretless bass intro, pushing the melody forward and beckoning the rest of the song to follow. The entire band eventually falls in with Talton, laying lyrics and stunning guitar notes over a featherbed of rhythmic comfort. Finally, like a soft summer breeze, tasteful strings gather Talton's final notes and steal them away. "Tired of Living" is an exquisite, breezy dobro and piano-driven melody that is destined to play over and over in the listener's subconscious. Talton draws heartfelt sympathy from his guitar, and leads Bell's piano deeper into a one-way melody that refuses to finish until it balances on the head of a pin.

It is hard to imagine a group of European musicians putting together a funky, barrelhouse cavort like "The Got Song" or a rollicking, slide-driven blues like "How Come People Act Like That," but the players from Luxembourg are the real deal, and they have the chops to follow Talton wherever his musical muse leads him. "God Save Everyone" is a song thick with emotion and passion that has the feel and drive of a live, orchestra-driven rock anthem. "Someone Else's Shoes" is crafted passionately and crooned with a smoky, mid-tempo, road-weary steadiness that turns richer and more resonant every time it's played.

From this point on, the musicians change, but the complexity of the music does not. Like many of the other tracks here, "Baby I'm On Your Side" and "Wake Up Ready" are vaguely reminiscent of seminal Cowboy recordings, but the similarity ends as the songs become ultimately more complex musically and lyrically. "Things" and "Sit Here In the Sun" offer Talton's lyrical aptitude and tasteful guitar licks on a fresh new platform, driven by his seemingly unending R&B sensibility. "Broken Pieces" stands as the perfect punctuation, adding a touch of refinement and sophistication to an already incredible recording.

Throughout Tommy Talton in Europe, Talton delivers a cool, genuine old school aura that is both natural and refreshing. It is nice to hear Tommy's music once again, for it is like revisiting an old friend. Talton does his own thing in his own way and at his own pace, which has been this old Cowboy's stock-and-trade all along.

Recorded at the Melting Point in Athens, GA this new live CD features 5 songs never before released!