b. 30 June 1866, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 16 August 1939, Ocean Park, California, USA. As a young man Tally was a member of the Empire City Quartet, a vaudeville act. His clear tenor voice attracted the attention of recording companies and from late 1902 he had a successful recording career, first for the precursor of Columbia Records. He recorded first on cylinders, later moving onto acoustic discs. In addition to Columbia, Tally’s work also appeared on the Edison and Victor Records labels as well as some small labels. His repertoire included the popular songs of the day, several of which came from musical shows of the era. Among the songs Tally recorded are ‘Honeymooning’, ‘Mister Dooley’, ‘Pinky Panky Poo’, ‘Love Me, Phoebe, Love Me’, ‘My Little Coney Isle’, ‘There’s Music In The Air’, ‘Seminole’, ‘Mandy, Won’t You Be My Beau?’, ‘Why Don’t You Try?’, ‘Egypt’, ‘Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie’, ‘Marie’, ‘My Bonnie Blue Bell’, ‘Come, Josephine, In My Flying Machine’, ‘Come Back, Let’s Be Sweethearts Once More’ and ‘Let’s Go Into A Picture Show’. The latter song, from 1909, is believed to be the first mention in popular song of the new-fangled motion pictures. Apart from his many solo recordings, Tally also performed duets, some with bass Harry Mayo, including ‘I Was Never Nearer Heaven In My Life’.
Concurrent with his recording career, Tally continued to appear in vaudeville, singing his recorded favourites. Tally’s recording career ended in 1917, the year in which he set down ‘How Can I Forget’ and ‘I’m All Bound Round With The Mason Dixon Line’. The following year he also ended his stage career and retired to California where he ran a cigar store. Tally can be heard singing ‘Daisy Donohue’, by Robert J. Adams, a track on 2003’s The Wizard of Oz - Vintage Recordings From The 1903 Broadway Musical on Original Cast Recordings.