BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – In the mid-1980s, when Lewis Talley passed away, years too early, the Bakersfield Sound wasn’t exactly something that the city was proud of. Twang was for Okies.
Things have changed, at least for some.
These days Bakersfield celebrates its musical glory days about as well as it ever has, from its “Sound of Something Better” city slogan and guitar-reminiscent logo to the freeway exit signs honoring its twin towers of entertainment prominence.
Vacant lots where giants of the genre once honky-tonked are practically sacred ground.
Consider, then, 419 Hazel St., east Bakersfield.
A modest, 804 square foot two-bedroom, built-in 1948 – with a mother-in-law unit in the back that has a story to tell. It was one of three locations for the Tally Records recording studio – the music company owned by Fuzzy Owen and his cousin, Lewis Tally, namesake – with a revised spelling – of Talley Records, the first label to put out a Merle Haggard record, “Sing a Sad Song.”
Coldwell Banker Realtor Mona Pinon just listed the property. Who would be interested. Mona?
“Maybe a history buff of the Bakersfield Sound would get a kick out of owning a piece of property like this, considering that Talley Records was in the back,” she said. “But I wouldn’t say that it actually increases the value any. It’s just – the value is in the eye of whoever’s purchasing it.”
Lewis Talley and his wife lived in the main house, and the recording studio was in the mother-in-law unit in back. Legend has it the neighbors weren’t too happy about the late-night recording sessions, which were just as likely to involve 1950s rock and roll as they were country.
Tally Records was also located for a time in a microscopic building on East 18th Street, right around the corner from Woolgrowers restaurant, as well as in a nearby storefront on Baker Street, next door to Saba’s Men’s Wear.
So much of the Bakersfield Sound era is gone now, knocked down, burned out or otherwise unrecognizable. 419 Hazel St. is an exception.