Jesse Winchester – Talk Memphis (1981)
James Ridout “Jesse” Winchester (May 17, 1944 – April 11, 2014) was an American-Canadian musician and songwriter. He was born and raised in the southern United States. Opposed to the Vietnam War, he moved to Canada in 1967 to avoid military service and began his career as a solo artist.
Artist: Jesse Winchester
Title: Talk Memphis
Label: Bearsville Records
Jesse Winchester is a sort of folk/rock, singer/songwriter who issued numerous albums for the Bearsville label throughtout the 70’s & early 80’s. “Talk Memphis” he released in 1981.
By the 1980s, plagued by flagging album sales, Jesse Winchester was evolving from his rootsy, country-rock leanings towards a softer approach, as evidenced by this Willie Mitchell-helmed album.
Having rushed to make Nothing but a Breeze and A Touch on the Rainy Side and getting his two least impressive albums for his trouble, Jesse Winchester spent two and a half years woodshedding before returning to the record racks with “Talk Memphis”. For the album, he returned to his hometown and worked with producer Willie Mitchell, best known for his Al Green records. It wasn’t as unlikely a matching as might be imagined; Winchester had always had a soulful, flexible voice as ready as Green’s to take off into the upper registers to express emotion.
And Memphis-style R&B had always been an element, along with country, folk, pop, and gospel, in Winchester’s sound.
On his early albums, his lighthearted style had been in the service of an embattled vision, but gradually that darkness gave way, to the point that he began to seem lightweight.
“Talk Memphis” put his effervescence and musicality to good use, resulting in his first Top 40 hit, the catchy “Say What,” and the rest of the album was just as easy on the ears, with the title track providing a suitably gritty Memphis-soul sendoff.
“Talk Memphis” album Here, the hints of country funk displayed in the “Mystery Train”-like “Hoot and Holler,” the soulful “Sure Enough,” and the title track are balanced by the easy-on-the-ear hymn to underage love “Baby Blue,” the pretty, folksy “Leslie,”
and the regretful “I Love You No End,” while Mitchell’s sympathetic production steers the sound towards Dobie Gray country soul territory.
1. Say What (3:08)
2. Baby Blue (3:26)
3. Leslie (2:47)
4. Hoot And Holle (3:39)
5. If Only (3:47)
1. Sure Enough (3:19)
2. I Love You No End (3:30)
3. Let Go (4:29)
4. Reckon On Me (2:49)
5. Talk Memphis (3:12)