Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Allman’

reDiscover: Eat A Peach

From the opening bars of ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’, which kicks off “Eat A Peach” the Allman Brothers set out their stall on this, their third studio album. But as fans of the band know “Eat A Peach” is an album wreathed in sadness, because it was recorded between September and December 1971, and it was on 29th October that 24 year old Duane Allman was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. The album’s opening track was written for his brother by Gregg Allman.

It was originally a double LP and was a record of three distinct elements. There’s the shorter tracks that filled side 1 of the first album while sides two of both records featured the half hour live ‘Mountain Jam’ that had to be cut in this way to accommodate its length, as well as two more tracks on side one of the second LP that had been recorded live. The CD version included ‘Mountain Jam’ as one complete track and later deluxe reissues featured additional songs from the 27 June 1971 Fillmore closing night concert.

In September 1971 the band went to Miami’s Criteria Studios with producer Tom Dowd and at these sessions they cut, Blue Sky’, an instrumental they called, ‘The Road to Calico; that developed into ‘Stand Back, with the addition of vocals and Duane’s gorgeous instrumental, ‘Little Martha’. The band then went back on the road, before four of the band went to rehab to deal with their addiction problems.

Following Duane Allman’s untimely accident the band agreed they must carry on. As drummer, Butch Trucks later said, “[Duane] was the teacher and he gave something to us—his disciples—that we had to play out.” The three tracks included on the album recorded at the December Miami sessions are ‘Melissa,’ ‘Les Brers in A Minor,’ and ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’. Les Brers, as Dickey Betts, the song’s writer later said, it was bad French for “the brothers. ‘Melissa’ was written by Gregg in 1967, one of the first he wrote that he deemed worthy of saving, and it was a song that Duane always loved. Gregg Allman had always felt it wasn’t edgy enough for the Allmans and thought he might record it as a solo record someday, but decided to include it as a tribute to Duane.

The live tracks, including the extended ‘Mountain Jam’ were recorded at the Fillmore East; ‘Mountain Jam and Muddy Waters’s ‘Trouble No More’ in March 1971, while their cover of Elmore James’s ‘One Way Out’ dates from 27 June 1971.

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At the time Duane Allman was killed, the band had no title for the album, and when it was finished Atlantic Records suggested it should be called, ‘The Kind We Grow in Dixie’, but this was rejected out of hand. It was Butch Trucks that came up with the title, suggesting they call it, “Eat a Peach for Peace”, a phrase that Duane had once said in response to a question during an interview. “I’m hitting a lick for peace — and every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace. But you can’t help the revolution, because there’s just evolution. I understand the need for a lot of changes in the country, but I believe that as soon as everybody can just see a little bit better, and get a little hipper to what’s going on, they’re going to change it.” Georgia is known as “The Peach State.”

Trucks too took inspiration from the album’s artwork that was largely created while Duane was still alive. W. David Powell of Wonder Graphics had seen old postcards in an Athens, Georgia drugstore; one of which depicted a peach on a truck and the other a watermelon on a rail car. He bought them and worked up the album’s distinctive cover. Because the album had no name, it is the reason that the artwork was left title-less for its release.

Prior to the album’s release there was much speculation that without Duane the band would implode. To kick start the promotion of the record a live radio broadcast of the band’s New Year’s Eve performance at New Orleans’s Warehouse was arranged. It helped reinforce the idea that the Allman Brothers Band was still alive and well; when the record came out on 12th February 1972 it met with instant success and soon made No.4 on the American Billboard album chart.

In the words of Rolling Stones’s Tony Glover “the Allman Brothers are still the best goddamned band in the land … I hope the band keeps playing forever — how many groups can you think of who really make you believe they’re playing for the joy of it?”

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‘Melissa’ was the album’s most successful single, making #65 on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’ and ‘One Way Out’ were also released as singles, charting at numbers 77 and 86, respectively. In 1972 the Band played close to a hundred shows to support of the record, mostly as headliners, often with label mates’ Cowboy or Wet Willie as their opening act. As Trucks said, “We were playing for him and that was the way to be closest to him.

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Whipping Post” is a song by The Allman Brothers Band , Written by Gregg Allman , the five-minute studio version first appeared on their 1969 debut album The Allman Brothers Band . The song’s full power manifested itself in concert, when it was the basis for much longer and more intense performances.  This was captured in the Allman Brothers‘ classic 1971 double live album “Live At the Fillmore East” where a 22-minute rendition of the song takes up the entire final side.  

Gregg Allman was 21 years old when the song was first recorded. Its writing dates back to late March 1969, when The Allman Brothers Band was first formed. Gregg showed the band 22 songs he had written, but only “Dreams” and “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” were deemed usable.  Gregg, the group’s only songwriter at the time, was commissioned to create additional songs that would fit into the context of the new band, and in the next five days he wrote several, including “Whipping Post”.

Gregg’s travails in the music business would provide the thematic inspiration for the new song,  which was written quickly on an ironing board cover . He later said: “It came so fast. I didn’t even have a chance to get the paper out. That’s the way the good songs come—they just hit you like a ton of bricks

The Allman Brothers Band – Whipping Post, originally recorded 7th August 1969 Recorded Live: 9/23/1970 Fillmore East – New York, NY

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Gregg Allman, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and one of the citadels of Southern rock music, died at the age 69 due to complications from liver cancer. “Melissa” is a song by American rock band The Allman Brothers Band released in August 1972 as the second single from the group’s third studio album, Eat A Peach

Following the untimely death of Duane Allman, their founder and resident guitar hero, in 1971, the Allman Brothers Band easily could have crumbled beneath the weight of such a tragedy. The road beckoned, however. As a matter of fact, that road, with all of its heady highs and desolate lows, informed one of the first and most enduring triumphs of their post-Duane career.

“Melissa” actually dates back to a time before there was an Allman Brothers Band, back when Duane and brother Gregg were in a band called The 31st of February and the latter was still trying to find his songwriting touch. As he recalled to the San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune in a 2006 interview, Gregg struggled mightily to write something worthy.

“I wrote that song in 1967 in a place called the Evergreen Hotel in Pensacola, Florida,” he recalled. “By that time I got so sick of playing other people’s material that I just sat down and said, ‘Okay, here we go. One, two, three – we’re going to try to write songs.’ And about 200 songs later – much garbage to take out – I wrote this song called ‘Melissa”

The song’s namesake was almost settled as Delilah before Melissa came to Allman at a grocery store where he was buying milk late one night, as he told the story in his memoir, My Cross to Bear:

It was my turn to get the coffee and juice for everyone, and I went to this twenty-four-hour grocery store, one of the few in town. There were two people at the cash registers, but only one other customer besides myself. She was an older Spanish lady, wearing the colorful shawls, with her hair all stacked up on her head. And she had what seemed to be her granddaughter with her, who was at the age when kids discover they have legs that will run. She was jumping and dancing; she looked like a little puppet. I went around getting my stuff, and at one point she was the next aisle over, and I heard her little feet run all the way down the aisle. And the woman said, “No, wait, Melissa. Come back—don’t run away, Melissa!” I went, “Sweet Melissa.” I could’ve gone over there and kissed that woman. As a matter of fact, we came down and met each other at the end of the aisle, and I looked at her and said, “Thank you so much.” She probably went straight home and said, “I met a crazy man at the fucking grocery.” 

Gregg Allman rushed home and incorporated the name into the partially completed song, later introducing it to his brother: “[I] played it for my brother and he said, ‘It’s pretty good—for a love song.

The 31st of February fell apart before they could release “Melissa,” but a demo from that time period eventually surfaced in May of 1972 on a collection of the brothers’ early recordings. In the meantime, Duane and Gregg had moved onto superstardom with The Allman Brothers Band on the strength of two scorching studio albums and the stunning live document Live At Fillmore East, which showcased the band’s instrumental virtuosity as they straddled the realms of country, rock, and blues, creating epic jams out of that rich stew.

Everything changed on October 29th, 1971, when Duane Allman, at the age of 24, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia. At the time, the band was working on the studio follow-up to At Fillmore East. After Duane’s death, the decision was made to turn that follow-up, 1972’s Eat A Peach, into a hybrid album of sorts. It would include live material left off At Fillmore East, some studio tracks with Duane that were in the can, and a few more new recordings by the surviving members. When it came time to cut the new material, Gregg Allman remembered “Melissa,” which had always been a personal favorite of his late brother. “And my brother sometimes late at night after dinner, he’d say, ‘Man, go get your guitar and play me that song – that song about that girl,” Gregg said. “And I’d play it for him every now and then. After my brother’s accident, we had three vinyl sides done of Peach, so I thought well we’ll do that …”

Calling it “that song about that girl” was probably a bit of oversimplification on Duane’s part, because “Melissa” reveals far more about the “gypsy” whose wandering lifestyle is detailed than it does about the girl. One can read the song as a metaphor for the nomadic existence of a touring rock star, but Gregg’s lyrics are somehow more cosmic and universal than that, hinting at the innate restlessness that dwells within us all and contradicts the need for the stability and love that waits when the road finally winds down. With the mention of the “Crossroads” that exert their pull on the gypsy character, Allman could certainly have been referencing the Robert Johnson myth that fueled so many blues and rock songs. Yet the song is sturdy enough to support the interpretation of the crossroads as a crucial turning point in everyone’s life, that line of demarcation that separates the reckless adventurer from the settled homebody. Gregg’s yearning vocal evokes it all. Rather than being romanticized, the road that the gypsy wanders is portrayed as unforgiving, nearly cruel. Lasting relationships are spurned in favor of temporary dalliances (“Knowing many, loving none”), while the rewards he reaps from his peripatetic nature are minimal (“And no one knows the Gypsy’s name/ No one hears his lonely sighs/ There are no blankets where he lies.”)

In contrast to this futility, Melissa waits in the gypsy’s “deepest dreams,” his redemption and salvation all rolled up in one. The fact that there are no details yielded about her save her name leads us to wonder if she ever really existed as more than just some idealized manifestation of a weary brain. The restrained musical accompaniment, somber acoustic guitars and Dickey Betts’ guitar teardrops that are a far cry from the Fillmore East heroics, certainly doesn’t promise a happy reunion at the end of the trail.

It’s tricky to utilize real-life events as context for song meanings, but Gregg’s every last moan conjures the toll the road takes and, as a result, seems to make a subtle commentary on his brother, a gypsy in his own right who was robbed by fate of his chance to return home, at least in life. What can’t be denied is that “Melissa,” intended as a kind of tribute to Duane Allman, actually went a long way in proving that The Allman Brothers could find a way forward without him.

thanks to American Songwriter

The Allman Brothers Band hit the ground running on their self-titled 1969 debut, and never stopped. That album was a fine blend of southern rock, gritty blues with a little jazz thrown in for good measure. The following year’s Idlewild South was even better, including such immediate classics as “Midnight Rider,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Please Call Home.” The band’s third release, 1971’s Live At Fillmore East, is often regarded as a pinnacle representation of the group’s collective talents, particularly the distinctive guitar interplay between Dicky Betts and Duane Allman.

However, in the summer of 1970, when The Allman’s were still a relatively unknown act outside of Macon Georgia, the band were booked to perform at the Atlanta International Pop Festival, an event which boasted an impressive list of musical luminaries, including BB King, Procol Harum, Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix.

Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival captures two blistering sets recorded 3rd and 5th July 1970 and, if not quite as enthralling as their shows at the Fillmore East, then are certainly almost as good.

For the first time anywhere officially or not two (mostly) complete performances by The Allman Brothers Band at the Atlanta International Pop Festival over the Fourth of July weekend (they were the bookends of the fest) in 1970 have been issued with stellar sound, complete annotation and cool liner notes. The festival took place while The Allmans were in the process of recording their second album, Idlewild South , when they appeared on July 3rd as the hometown openers of the entire festival and proceeded to blow the minds of over 100,000 people — for their last set on July 5th at 3:50 a.m. they performed in front of as many as 500,000. Musically, other than a somewhat stiff version of “Statesboro Blues” the July 3rd set is magical. There is a stunning version of “Dreams” lasting almost ten minutes with beautiful Hammond/guitar interplay between Gregg and Dickey Betts . Long and ferocious versions of “Whipping Post” and “Mountain Jam” are here, but the track on the July 3rd set is Berry Oakley’s feral vocal read of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man.”  A short (5:49) version of this song, it has a rock & roll immediacy that is strained out of the longer versions to gain the improvisational edge. Disc one also restores Gregg Allman’s “Every Hungry Woman,” to its rightful place previously only having been available on an anthology. Harp player Thom Doucette, no stranger to Allman Brothers fans , is here aplenty, adding his righteous, stinging harp lines to many tracks on both nights. The way Gregg’s organ playing is recorded here offers a new view of just how integral an anchor he was for both guitarists to play off. He is a monster musician and, even at this early date, was showing off his improvisational and rhythmic skills.

Packaged in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, with detailed liner notes, Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival is essential listening for fans of the original classic line-up. Live At Fillmore might receive the majority of accolades, yet Atlanta shouldn’t be ignored. 150 minutes of pure, unadulterated blues-rock is never a bad thing.

Gregg Allman's 'Southern Blood'

Gregg Allman’s final LP “Southern Blood” will be released posthumously on September 8th and the first track is now available to stream in the form of the song “My Only True Friend.”

Co-written with longtime musical director Scott Sharrard,  The song recalls stories from Allman’s past with brother Duane. “I never told him because I didn’t want to spook him,” Sharrard said of writing the song with Duane in mind. “Since his brother was such an important figure in his life.”

The album also includes a number of covers including the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River” along with songs from Bob Dylan, Little Feat, Jackson Browne and others. “He loved the guys in the Dead,” Sharrard said of Allman’s relationship with the band. “But I don’t know if that writing style was his bag in general. But he warmed up to the tune and in the end he thought, ‘Man, I kinda love this song.’”

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Produced by Don Was with the help of longtime friend and manager Michael Lehman, Southern Blood is the first new material from Gregg Allman, who died this May.

Gregg Allman’s final studio album “Southern Blood” – coming September 8th, 2017.

 

The Allman Brothers Band: Idlewild South: Super Deluxe Edition

September 23rd marked 45 years since the release of the Allman Brothers Band’s second studio album, “Idlewild South”, on Atco and Capricorn Records, which followed their 1969, self-titled debut. While that first album had little commercial success, the band’s relentless touring behind it led to a buzz that led Eric Clapton to enlist Duane Allman to take part on his 1970 Derek and the Dominos album which produced “Layla.” Produced by Tom Dowd, marking his first album with the band, Idlewild South was recorded in a variety of cities, including New York, Miami and Macon, GA, the band’s adopted home, because of their hectic performance schedule. Most of the songs, including two of their most iconic – Gregg Allman and Kim Payne’s “Midnight Rider” and Dickey Betts’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” – were road-tested before they were ever recorded. The album’s title comes from the group’s name for the run-down, isolated hunting cabin the band used for rehearsals and partying. The farmhouse, which they rented for the princely sum of $165 a month, was located on a manmade lake outside Macon, and people came and went with such frequency, the band compared it to New York’s airport of the same name (later changed to John F. Kennedy International). Much of the material on the album was first created in that cabin, where the band’s “brotherhood came to pass,” according to Allmans roadie (and “Midnight Rider” co-writer) Kim Payne. The album didn’t sell well at first, but eventually peaked at #38 on Billboard, setting the stage for their 1971 breakthrough, At Fillmore East.

The additional tracks include session outtakes of “Statesboro Blues” and “One More Ride,” an alternate take of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” an alternative mix of “Midnight Rider” and a mono single version of “Revival (Love Is Everywhere).” There are also nine tracks from the 1970 Live at Ludlow Garage album, remastered for the first time since 1990, including the previously unreleased song “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” now making this concert recording complete for the first time.

Idlewild South has since gone on to become one of the Allman Brothers Band’s most iconic releases. Rolling Stone named it one of the “40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time” in 2014: “The Allman Brothers transmogrified from mere blues-rockers to an assemblage creating an entirely new kind of Southern music.” Allmusic’s Bruce Eder called it “the best studio album in the group’s history, electric blues with an acoustic texture, virtuoso lead, slide and organ playing, and a killer selection of songs.”

Disc One:
1. Revival
2. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
3. Midnight Rider
4. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
5. Hoochie Coochie Man
6. Please Call Home
7. Leave My Blues at Home
Additional Material:
8. Statesboro Blues (Session Outtake) – Previously Unreleased New Mix
9. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Alternate Take) – Previously Unreleased
10. One More Ride (Session Outtake) – Previously Unreleased New Mix
11. Midnight Rider (Alternate Mix) – Previously Unreleased
12. Revival (Love Is Everywhere) (Mono Single Version)

Disc Two:
1. Dreams (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)
2. Statesboro Blues (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)
3. Trouble No More (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)
4. Dimples (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)
5. Every Hungry Woman (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)
6. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)
7. Hoochie Coochie Man (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)

Disc Three:
1. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970) – Previously Unreleased
2. Mountain Jam (Live at Ludlow Garage 1970)

Blu-Ray Pure Audio, 5.1 (96kHz 24-bit Surround & Stereo)
1. Revival
2. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
3. Midnight Rider
4. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
5. Hoochie Coochie Man
6. Please Call Home
7. Leave My Blues At Home
8. Statesboro Blues (Session Outtake)
9. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Alternate Take)
10. One More Ride (Session Outtake)
11. Midnight Rider (Alternate Mix)