Tales From The Woods' raises a glass also to Jesse "Guitar" Taylor who died of liver cirrhosis on 7th March 2006, aged 55.
Born on Christmas Day 1950 in Lubbock, Texas, the son of a labourer, it would not be many years before the music of local hero Buddy Holly would be filling the ears of the youngster and he'd be dreaming of one day, when grown, of being in a band just like Buddy or The Ventures, another bunch of heroes to the lad.
By the time he was 15 Jesse was playing guitar in Jimmie Dale Gilmore's first group the T Nickel House Band followed by a residency at Lubbock's renowned venue, Stubb's Bar B Que, allegedly the first white musician to do so.
Back then Joe Ely was the musician who had shown the most promise in Lubbock since Holly, and Taylor played a crucial role in his albums "Joe Ely" (1977) and "Honkeytonk Masquerade" (1978). He was soon to hit the UK/Europe market as opening act for Merle Haggard, just as new wave/alternative country, call it what you will, was becoming fashionable, now of course settled in off-centre mainstream, generally regarded as Americana.
Not content with being leaders in the new wave country stakes, pushing their street credibility to the limit they toured with The Clash in both 1979 and 1980. Marginally less controversial, they also worked with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.
Taylor left the Joe Ely Band in 1982 settling in Austin but still worked with his old boss on various projects, also working with Billy Joe Shaver, Butch Hancock, Townes Van Zandt and country singer, author and wit, the Jewish Cowboy Kinky Friedman. Sadly his lifestyle got the better of him and he had to seek treatment in rehab although putting this period to good use by developing his artistic skills as a painter; at one point an exhibition of his work was held in Austin.
He released the solo alburn "Texas Tattoo" (1998) and "South Side Guitar" (2001) with fellow guitarist John X. Reed. The latter contained a song entitled "Don't Give Up" which confronted head on his cirrhosis problem.
Tales From The Woods' would catch Jesse in action a few times during the mid to late eighties and into the early nineties when he was a regular visitor to these shores at the now long gone and sadly missed Weavers in Stoke Newington, the spiritual home of roots music, for many years in company of Butch Hancock over the other side of the river at the thankfully still very much with us Half Moon, Putney playing alongside California - KW