Bill Taylor

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Bill Taylor, whose later songwriting credits sometimes appear with a more formal first name, has deep roots in country and rockabilly music going back to the early Sun record company days. His efforts…
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Bill Taylor, whose later songwriting credits sometimes appear with a more formal first name, has deep roots in country and rockabilly music going back to the early Sun record company days. His efforts as a performing recording artist in his own right were linked to a group called the Snearly Ranch Boys, a name that sounds weird enough even without knowing that one of the members was a woman, Barbara Pittman.

Another member of this outfit was steel guitarist Stan Kesler, with whom Taylor wrote the multidirectional "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone," another hit song idea that supposedly came to its author whilst splish-splashing around in the bathtub. Elvis Presley recorded the song once it was dry, then Jerry Lee Lewis. It is with the latter artist that Taylor forged his most enduring relationship, especially when writing as a duo with Thomas LaVerne. The demanding "There Must Be More to Love Than This" and the egocentric "I Am What I Am" are among the titles Taylor and LaVerne handed over to Lewis, "I Am What I Am" referencing the popular Popeye philosophy as well as Taylor's most famous recording on his own, "Split Personality."

"No Honky Tonk in Heaven" was a sign that Taylor himself was looking for gospel real estate and The Killer was happy to oblige by cutting versions of "I Need to Pray" as well as "My God's Not Dead." The songwriter's feel for the gospel genre has also been explored in his production work for the Wilburn Brothers and the Homeland Quartet.