Barry Talley

b. Robert L. Talley, 1920, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, d. 1 August 1995. A Memphis pianist working in both the blues and jazz idioms, Talley was also a composer and adept at a number of different instruments…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography

b. Robert L. Talley, 1920, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, d. 1 August 1995. A Memphis pianist working in both the blues and jazz idioms, Talley was also a composer and adept at a number of different instruments in addition to keyboards. He first came to Memphis aged 16 with the express desire to become a professional musician. He initially joined Ernie Ford’s Big Band as a trumpeter in 1938, before active service in World War II intervened. However, he arranged and composed music in the army and on his return to civilian life took up the piano seriously. From 1963-65 he was musical director at Little Abner’s Rebel Room, overseeing the work of Wayne Jackson and Duck Dunn (later members of the Stax Records house band). Both musicians held him in high esteem and praised his generosity and patience, Jackson citing him as being responsible for introducing him to hundreds of ballads from the 30s that greatly influenced his later development. Other respected Memphis musicians to benefit from his tuition included Andrew Love, David Porter, Booker T. Jones and Joyce Cobb.