Top 10 Southern Classic Rock Guitarists - by The Society of Rock

He (Tommy Talton) began playing the guitar at 13 years old and with every recording he participated in he showcased his immense talent. He was friends with Duane Allman and he even joined Gregg Allman on his first solo tour.

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The Village Voice - The Gregg Allman tour Laid Back '74 

Gregg Allman's tour in support of his debut solo LP, Laid Back, led to the recording of this album (originally two LPs) at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ.  It's a match for Laid Back in musical value and then some, with a good, wide range of repertory and great performances throughout by all concerned, plunging head-first and deep into blues, R&B, honky tonk, and gospel.  Strangely enough, the album contains only three of Laid Back's songs — "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing" opens the show in a properly spirited, earthy manner, but it's the second song, "Queen of Hearts," in a soaring rendition, with gorgeous backing by Annie Sutton, Erin Dickins, and Lynn Rubin, and superb sax work by Randall Bramblett and David Brown, that shows Allman in his glory as a singer and bandleader. Allman gives a lively, raucous, honky tonk-style rendition of the Elvis Presley hit "I Feel So Bad," complete with a killer guitar solo by Tommy Talton, and "Turn on Your Lovelight" gets an extended treatment worthy of the Allman Brothers Band.  One would expect that, with Chuck Leavell and Jaimoe present in the band, there were be more similarity to the Allmans' sound, and that they'd be prominently featured, but Tommy Talton and bassist Kenny Tibbetts get more of a spotlight. Several Allman Brothers songs are present here, in more laid-back and lyrical versions, and the Capricorn Records band Cowboy — essentially serving as the core of Allman's touring band — gets a featured spot with two songs, "Time Will Take Us" and "Where Can You Go," that leave one wanting to hear a lot more concert material from them, and from Talton as a singer. The Gregg Allman Tour was reissued on CD in late 2001 by Polydor in a clearer, sharper remastered edition that contains Martin Mull's complete introduction of the band. ---by Bruce Eder

Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock Until After Then review

 Six decades in, it’s clear that guitarist and songwriter Tommy Talton is still making music for the sheer joy of it.  Until After Then, his fourth album for Hittin’ the Note Records, is a breezy romp through Talton’s wide-ranging musical interests. He manages to perform with both the energy of a music-obsessed kid and the restraint of a seasoned veteran – because, at heart, he is both. 

   Unlike many veterans whose best years of making music are well behind them, Talton continues to be consistently engaging. Do yourself a favor and explore any part of his vast catalog. Until After Then is a great place to get started.   ~Scott Bomar

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Hittin' The Note feature, The Tommy Talton Story

Rhythm & Blues is not a complex musical style. Nobody understands this better than vocalist & master guitarist, Tommy Talton. Like other veteran R & B musicians, Talton is not about how fast he can play, nor is he about how many chord changes fit into a measure, or how many tempo changes can be built into a song. What Talton does care about is touch,  restraint, texture, and feel. He cares most about those notes that remain, as yet, unplayed. 

Singer/songwriter Tommy Talton has spent an entire career searching out just these essential notes. Never showboating or grandstanding, Talton ‘lays back’, allowing a refined flair for lyrical melodies, and velvety guitar hooks to speak for him. 

It is this ‘laid back’ technique which catapulted Talton from Macon, GA to sold-out dates at Carnegie Hall with the Gregg Allman Band and ultimately out-drawing ex-Beatle, George Harrison at the Fillmore West. Listening to a Talton finely crafted song is like watching a lathe-smith turn wood into finely sculpted art. Talton’s extraordinary songwriting abilities deliver material with ‘texture and theme’, resonating freshness no matter where, or when his music is played. You would expect this magnitude of talent coming from a musician that grew up in New York City, LA, or Chicago, but not in the uncontrived, pre-Walt Disney World, of Central Florida. 

By and large, it is as rare as horse feathers in a pillow to recommend musicians or artists with unbridled abandon. Typically, one person’s stack of musical CD treasure is another’s bathroom doorstop, making such recommendations, tenuous at best. In the case of Tommy Talton, however, there is almost no possible way to over-endorse him. Grab your hat, dust off your listening ears, and prepare to be impressed because you must—absolutely must—hear Tommy Talton!   ~William Thames

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Elmore Magazine 

Talton began penning clever songs over 45 years ago as the co-leader of Cowboy, the multi-faceted, country-tinged quintet; Allman really did bang on their door, demanding at the crack of dawn to hear Cowboy play. Impressed, Allman helped get Cowboy signed to Capricorn Records, the venerable institute of Southern Rock. Talton’s become steadily stronger at his craft ever since.   ~Tom Clarke

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More from Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock - Let's Get Outta Here 

   On Tommy Talton’s third release from Hittin’ the Note Records in October 2012, titled "Let’s Get Outta Here," he has written the most compelling music of his career. Always known as a gifted wordsmith and creator of authentically timeless melodies, Tommy has reached deep within his creative well to create a classic Southern masterpiece. Very special guests joined Tommy on the new release, including Chuck Leavell, Paul Hornsby, Rick Hirsch, Scott Boyer, NC Thurman, Bill Stewart, Kelvin Holly, Brandon Peeples, David Keith, Red Young and Tony Giordano. 

Having recorded with such luminaries as Gregg Allman, Billy Joe Shaver, Bonnie Bramlett and Clarence Carter, to name but a few, Tommy Talton makes 'Let's Get Outta Here' his own laying down some of his best material to date!   ~Scott Bomar

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Philly Cheeze Rock and Blues

Somewhere South of Eden”, a beautiful melancholy number flowing with soothing twangy slide, takes a hard look at mortality. This song shows without a doubt Talton belongs at the top of the list when it comes to the songwriting greats. I absolutely adore the buttery hypnotic hook in “Poblano”, a wonderful Latin-inspired instrumental with worldly beats from David Keith on congas and piano accompaniment from Chuck Leavell. It’s always a pleasure to hear the funky keyboard wizardry of John Ginty. His contribution to southern jam-friendly rocker “Waiting on the Saints” sounds fantastic amid Talton’s bodacious guitar licks. “Don’t Go Away Sore”, featuring a terrific banjo performance from Jeff Mosier is a big bowlful of bluegrass fun. It puts a grin on my face which stretches from ear to ear. The esteemed Tommy Talton has definitely crafted one hell of an album with Somewhere South of Eden. I highly recommend it.  ~Phillip Smith

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 Tommy Talton has been a professional musician since about the time he first picked up a guitar. He is perhaps best known as the lead guitarist on Gregg Allman’s 1974 landmark solo album Laid Back on Capricorn Records and Allman’s subsequent tour that also produced a live album. But his pedigree runs much deeper as a founding member of the band Cowboy, a prolific singer and songwriter and one of the most acclaimed guitarists of his era. Now living in the Atlanta area, Talton has a new solo album, Somewhere South of Eden, that harkens back to the Capricorn sound that came out of Macon during the hey-day of Southern rock. His CD release party is Saturday night at The Vista Room at Napoleon’s in Decatur. Talton recently sat down with ArtsATL to discuss Cowboy (also the Capricorn studio band), his friendship with the late Duane Allman, and his relationships with Allman, Rolling Stones keyboardist and music director Chuck Leavell, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.  ~Brenda Stepp

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No Depression

Tommy Talton never bores us with his live shows, and certainly not with his recordings. Talton is constantly striving for, and inventing new and ultimately more interesting forms of musical expression as he moves along his melodic highway. Until After Then is simply another summit on which Talton pauses, as he continues his never ending pursuit.  ~Bill Thames

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Kudzoo - The New Opus from Tommy Talton Rocks

When Tommy Talton began releasing a string of solo albums, I was always first in line to hear his new music. It was never disappointing, ever. With Somewhere South of Eden, Talton ups the ante. This is one of his best efforts yet... After half a century of playing, from We The People to Cowboy to his solo band, Tommy Talton is still making music that is both viable and extremely enjoyable. Talton continues to age like the finest wine. Drink him in.  ~Michael Buffalo Smith

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Road To Jacksonville (French Zine)

When Tommy Talton releases a new album, we rush to listen to it without asking any questions and… we are not disappointed! A record to store with those of JJ Cale, old Ry Cooder and the early Allman Brothers Band.   ~Olivier Aubry

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