Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

December 15, 2020

WAYNE TALBERT & The Melting Pot, “Dues To Pay” (1969 LP, Pulsar Records)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 2:50 am

WAYNE TALBERT & The Melting Pot, “Dues To Pay” (1969 LP, Pulsar Records)

Produced by Malcolm Rebennack (aka Dr. John)

Dues to Pay6:19
What More Can I Say4:00
Schizophrenic Susan Minnick3:15
Love Ain’t What It’s Supposed to Be3:03
Hell of a World3:54
Funky Ellis Farm3:06
Cryin’ Bag3:12
The United States of Mind3:15
Total length: 33:27

Keyboardist/vocalist WAYNE TALBERT I know through his work with the early 70’s Sir Douglas Quintet (enough of a pedigree, IMHO, to make anything he did worthwhile), but he also recorded three albums for Pulsar/Mercury in the 69-70 period, and appeared on a compilation of Mercury-Smash artists called ZIG ZAG FESTIVAL.

This was his first album, produced by Dr. John, and no surprise, Talbert is a New Orleans boy (he recorded a single on a local N.O. label in 1962), although for some reason I used to think of him as a Houston artist (having worked with Huey Meaux and having an album called HOUSTON NICKEL KICKS probably led to that conclusion).

There is a long history of New Orleans musical artists going out to the West Coast to seek greener pastures, going back at least to Kid Ory circa 1920, and this album is very much what you’d expect from a Nawlins-rooted bluesy pianist-singer produced by Dr. John in L.A. There are horns and female backing vocals (and some strings), but with Mac Rebennack in the producer’s chair, you know you are in good hands.

I used to own HOUSTON NICKEL KICKS (his 3rd album, from 1970) and have heard his other album, LORD HAVE MERCY ON MY FUNKY SOUL (his 2nd album, from 1969), but DUES TO PAY was new to me, and I’m glad to make its acquaintance. There is authenticity in Talbert’s voice/persona, and the production is not unlike what Rebennack might do if he’d been asked to produce an album for Roy Brown, but to exclude remakes of Brown’s earlier material and to make it “contemporary.” Coming from me, that’s quite a compliment, though I know that some of you reading this do not enjoy second-and-third generation blues records from the late 60’s and early 70’s as much as I do. Maybe that’s due to my having seen so many artists of this type live over the years in bars and small clubs and then imagining myself there when I hear an album like this (or the Don Preston album posted here recently). There were a lot of bluesy albums in the marketplace in 1969 marketplace, so a solid and soulful collection like this probably got lost in the shuffle.

If you are so inclined today, it deserves a listen. Wayne Talbert’s music takes me to a place I like to be—-thanks to Mr. Talbert and to Dr. John. Enjoy!

Should you want a hard copy of DUES TO PAY, original copies of the LP can be found for under $10. If you enjoy, say, the post-Linn County solo album by Stephen Miller, you’re going to enjoy this too.

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