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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Cowboy - Boyer And Talton (1974 us, fantastic country southern classic rock, 2018 remaster and expanded)

Cowboy's third album, 1974's Boyer & Talton, found the Florida-bred, Georgia-based combo pared down to its original creative core of founding singer-songwriter-guitarists Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton, after the group's original six-man line-up disbanded. The duo rose to the occasion, writing an effortlessly likable set of tunes and recruiting a set of talented new players to create a consistently strong album that many fans rate as the band's best.

On its first two albums, 1970's Reach for the Sky and 1971's B'll Getcha Ten, Cowboy had introduced its gently soulful brand of country-rock songcraft, distinguished by Boyer and Talton's thoughtful, introspective songwriting and the band's easygoing instrumental rapport. Their laid-back approach allowed Cowboy to stand out from the other Southern rock acts on Capricorn Records' roster.

By the end of 1972, though. Cowboy's roster, which had originally come together casually and organically, had begun to splinter, leaving Boyer and Talton to pick up the pieces.
CD Liner Notes

It's difficult, if not impossible, to understate the distinction Cowboy brought to Capricorn Records. At the height of the Southern rock movement launched by and spurred on through the success of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Walden's artist roster, including the Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie, was also populated with bands like Grinderswitch that borrowed heavily and without reservation from ABB's style (perhaps not so surprisingly, that group was co-founded by Joe Dan Petty, one of the Allmans' roadies). 

But the ensembles led of Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton were earmarked not just by a reliance on vocal harmonies-an element of style missing from all the aforementioned groups-but also an emphasis on formal song structure that not only stood them in good stead over four albums of their own, but also in collaborations with Gregg Allman and Duane Allman: Skydog, the founder of ABB recommended the signing of Cowboy and reaffirmed his advocacy by playing slide on the original version of "Please Be With Me" (subsequently covered by Eric Clapton on 461 Ocean Blvd. 

Quotes from interviews with Tommy Talton, combined with photos from his personal archive are more value-added than the bonus tracks here, both of which also appear on The Gregg Allman Tour (Capricorn, 1974). Yet real style and substance remains in the mellifluous blend of the co-leaders' singing, which suitably decorates a dozen songs, like "Everyone Has A Chance to Feel," as unaffected as the authors' voices. Played and recorded with a crew of collaborators still within the Capricorn family-at the time of this recording prior to the dynasty's decline-there are no pretensions to profundity or innovation on this record, but only an honest reaffirmation of the natural charm of Boyer and Talton's music. 

The duo consent to honor more stylized Dixie rock overtones, but wisely relegate their act of homage to a pair of instrumentals, "Road Gravy Chase" and "Houston Vamp," the combination of which elevates the warm informality of the sessions described in Scott Schinder's liner notes; the accuracy of his essay, in conjunction with this reissue label's wise decision to replicate the original cover graphics, adds to the overall authenticity of this release. 
by Doug Collette, June 23, 2018  

1. A Patch And A Pain Killer - 3:27
2. Coming Back To You (Scott Boyer) - 3:10
3. Everyone Has A Chance To Feel (Scott Boyer) - 4:42
4. Where Can You Go? - 2:21
5. I Heard Some Man Talking - 4:04
6. Love 40 - 3:37
7. Road Gravy Chase (Chuck Leavell, Johnny Sandlin, Scott Boyer, Tommy Talton) - 3:20
8. Something To Please Us - 3:02
9. Long Ride (Scott Boyer) - 3:58
10.Message In The Wind - When I'm Listening (Scott Boyer) - 4:24
11.Houston - 3:00
12.Houston Vamp - 2:52
13.Time Will Take Us - 6:03
14.Where Can You Go? - 8:11
All songs by Tommy Talton except where indicated

*Scott Boyer - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Tommy Talton - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Bass Guitar, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Jimmy Nalls - Electric Guitar
*Paul Hornsby - Keyboards
*Chuck Leavell - Acoustic, Electric Piano
*Randall Bramblett - Soprano Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*David Brown - Tenor Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*Toy Caldwell - Pedal Steel Guitar
*John Hughey - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Johnny Sandlin - Bass, Congas
*Charlie Hayward - Bass
*Jaimoe - Drums, Congas
*Bill Stewart - Drums, Percussion
*Giggling Heap - Percussion
*Donna Hall, Ela Brown, Joyce Knight - Backing Vocals
*Georgia Allstars - Backing Vocals

1970  Cowboy - Reach For The Sky
1971  Cowboy - 5'll Getcha Ten (2014 remaster)
Related Acts
1968  The 31st Of February - The 31st Of February
1973  Gregg Allman - Laid Back (2016 japan SHM remaster) 
1974  Gregg Allman - The Gregg Allman Tour (2008 japan SHM remaster)

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