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March 19, 2013 8:01 PM   Subscribe

"The Allman Brothers Band produced the sound at the heart of Southern rock. At Fillmore East, the live double album that launched Duane and Gregg Allman into the rock stratosphere, was recorded 42 years ago this month. But on Oct. 29, 1971, just days after the record was certified gold, 24-year-old Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident. He left behind a wife and a 2-year-old daughter, Galadrielle. Now, Galadrielle Allman has helped produce a compendium of her father's work. Skydog, titled after his nickname, is a seven-CD box set tracing his slide guitar virtuosity from his earliest days to his last. Here, Galadrielle Allman speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about the role that music played in her father's life — and her own."
posted by HuronBob (45 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Duane's death at such a young age was one of the big tragedies of American rock history. I was very, very sad when I heard the news of his dying many years ago. I was then and still am a big Allman Brothers Band fan. The group, of course, was never the same without him.

Many are unaware that in addition to his playing with the fantastic Allman Brothers Band, the young Duane was a session musician who worked with soul legends and luminaries like Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:25 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of the most eerie aspects of that is that Berry Oakley, their bass player, died just a year later, 3 blocks away, in a similar motorcycle accident.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:35 PM on March 19, 2013


On hearing the session, people at Pickett's label (Atlantic Records) asked who had played the guitar solos. Hall responded with a hand-written note that read "some hippie cat who's been living in our parking lot."

I love that so so much.
posted by thelonius at 8:45 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks for this.

The ABB formed part of the soundtrack of my earliest memories - me and my sister hanging on for dear life in back seat of my uncles jeep as we were mudbogging our way to some campsite or swimming hole or other in rural Mississippi.

It's a stupid memory, but I still recall one discussion among my uncles and parents and whatever about how Duane had died at age 24 - and at the time, that was incomprehensibly old to me.

Now that seems incomprehensibly young. And those memories seem like a fever dream.

And Blue Sky has always been one of my favorite songs.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:46 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I used to have a professional connection with Galadrielle Allman and her mom, Donna--they had a company that used vintage art to create buttons, drawer pulls, and other little round things. Hands down a couple of the very nicest people I ever worked with in kind of a mean and gossipy industry.
posted by padraigin at 8:50 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


a little bit of that magic in action ...
1970 - Fillmore East
posted by philip-random at 9:00 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the most eerie aspects of that is that Berry Oakley, their bass player, died just a year later, 3 blocks away, in a similar motorcycle accident.

Gregg Allman's account of this (in a recent Rolling Stone interview) made it sound like he felt it was deliberate, a suicide.
posted by philip-random at 9:05 PM on March 19, 2013


Add Otis Rush's Mourning in the Morning to the list of must-hear records Duane played on. The first side is absolutely devastating, and I'm almost sorry to mention it without being able to provide a link but ... take my word for it.

Whoops, I spoke too soon: here's the first cut.
posted by Lorin at 9:06 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Random trivia - the current Allman Brothers bassist, Oteil Burbridge, played one of the street toughs in the "message for Raphael" scene in the film "Being There".
posted by thelonius at 9:10 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much for this post. I grew up listening to the Allman's Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshal Tucker, et al. While the ABB was often lumped in with other so called Southern Rock groups, it was clear from the get go that Duane, Dickey Betts, Gregg and the entire band really had chops and could play the blues like few others.

I was also a born Deadhead. Around the time of the ABB recording Live at the Fillmore East with its 20 (?) minute Whipping Post, Duane and Gregg got on stage with the Dead for a few songs. Listen to Jerry and Duane play the blues classic Hurts Me too. Soulful blues guitar at its best. Pigpen singing is also terrific.

February 11, 1970, The Grateful Dead with Duane & Gregg Allman, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and Danny Kirwan. Here is a link to Lovelight.

From "Searching for the Sound" by Phil Lesh:
Jerry says to Phil of The Allman Brothers Band on their way to this show: "make sure you check these guys out... they're kinda like us... they jam hard."
Butch Trucks joins on drums.
Mickey Hart attacks his gigantic gong.
Mick Fleetwood and Danny Kirwan "find room to join the festivities. It's a surprisingly coherent free-for-all, with five guitarists , four drummers, organ, and -- Pigpen roaring over it all."
Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan and Duane Allman on guitars.
"Gregg takes a verse ... Sounding like a fifty-year-old black man even then."
Pig Pen and Gregg Allman trade vocals throughout, and Gregg plays organ.
Berry Oakley takes over on bass about halfway through Lovelight, as Phil just wants to listen!
After the show, "I walk outside -- it's daylight, and snow is falling gently on the streets of New York... I grab Bob and Jerry in a group embrace: This is what it's all about."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:24 PM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Doonesbury is relevant.

...although, truth be told, I found that joke to be surprisingly crass.

On a temporary break from his governorship of American Samoa, Uncle Duke (who at that early juncture was little more than a transparent pastiche of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson) returned to his job as a writer at Rolling Stone under "Yawn" Wenner, where, to his chagrin, he was made chief of the Gregg (Allman) and Cher Bureau.

Other shots at Gregg Allman (for obvious reasons, there were no others targeted at Duane) include this strip's reference to his prodigious drug use, and Uncle Duke's unflattering description of the band's music in this strip.
posted by The Confessor at 9:52 PM on March 19, 2013


Live at Fillmore East and Live at Leeds are the best rock and roll records ever in the history of the world.

Or my world anyway.
posted by jabo at 10:12 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. Brilliant trust and estate work. Uses the estate to give a beneficiary a producer credit on the box set and some continuing checks.

Seriously genius. Good for them.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 PM on March 19, 2013


Wow, this is fantastic.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:48 PM on March 19, 2013


24. Jesus.
posted by Wolof at 3:36 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back in the '70s you could walk into any party - full of rednecks, hippies, bikers, jocks or any mixture of those - put some Allmans on the stereo and everyone was happy.
posted by tommyD at 4:16 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


One other point certainly worth noting is that the Allman Brothers were, with the inclusion of African-American founding member Jai Johanny Johnson, one of a very, very select group of rock bands in America that were "mixed". Off the top of my head, I can only think of a few other bands of the 60s/70s you could say that about: Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, the Jimi Hendrix Experience... there weren't many.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:26 AM on March 20, 2013


I hate that the Allmans were pigeonholed as "southern rock" due mostly to their geographic roots. Sure, they were bluesy but they stand musically so far above anything else you might give the same label to. Duane & Barry's influence on my young mind, as I learned to appreciate & understand what music meant to me, is immeasurable. Fillmore is a watershed album that I really consider more proto jazz/rock fusion than anything. So much of it compares more closely to Miles' 70's experimentation than "ordinary" rock. It's spiritual for me in the way they all gathered together in that place and pulled those pieces of art down from the skies.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:31 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


flapjax, CSNY was mixed, with Greg Reeves on bass during the 1969-70 tours. Stills' Manassas was also, a few years later. Also, of course, Springsteen's bands around that period.

The Stones namecheck Duane Allman in the lyrics of Brown Sugar, which they recorded at Muscle Shoals. I guess Allman's nickname popped up in studio chatter enough to make it into Jagger's subconscious: "Skydog slaver, know he's doing all right, hear him whip the women, just around midnight.." (ugh)

I wore out my copy of Anthology in high school, the first blues I ever really got into and a nice entree into Duane Allman's work, for the uninitiated.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:34 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The opening riff to Statesboro Blues is my cell phone ringtone. 'Nuff said.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:36 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate that the Allmans were pigeonholed as "southern rock" due mostly to their geographic roots. Sure, they were bluesy but they stand musically so far above anything else you might give the same label to.

Agreed 100%. Coming from Alabama and all, I always *wanted* to really like a lot of the "southern rock" bands, but in point of fact they were pretty much all kinda lame. I mean, Lynyrd Skynyrd, yikes, that redneck crap was mostly just this side of awful. And bands like Black Oak Arkansas and the Marshall Tucker Band were just really pretty mediocre: no subtlety, no class. And Charlie Daniels, yecch... When it came right down to it, the Allman Brothers were pretty much the only ones I could listen to. After that, yeah, give me The Band*, for example.

*One southerner there! RIP Levon.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:03 AM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


The only songs I can play totally from memory on guitar are ABB songs, everything else I need a lead sheet. I can't overstate how important Duane and Dicky's guitar playing have been to me.
posted by tommasz at 5:44 AM on March 20, 2013


I've been a big Allman Brother's fan for as long as I can remember; gone to Duane and Berry's graves at the Rose Hill Cemetery and am just now reading Gregg's memoir (which honestly speaking is probably not of a lot of interest to any one who isn't a big fan; so far it seems to be a recitation of biographical facts with emphasis on how enthusiastically he had sex with the many women that were apparently available to him in the 1960's, which is as far as I have gotten.) I will be definitely be getting this compilation. As is often the case I need to decide whether to get it on CD so I have a hard copy or take the easy way and download from iTunes.

If you want a little more Allman Bros info, be sure and check out the Big house Museum and stop by if you are ever in Macon. I haven't been yet but plan to make a day drip sometime in the next few months (meetup, anyone?)

I hate that the Allmans were pigeonholed as "southern rock"...
They felt the same way at times; for a long time members of the band absolutely hated Jann Wenner for an interview which they felt was selectively edited to make them look like hicks, leaving out such things as Duane's fondness for chess, for example. At one point some years ago I came across an interview online with either Butch Trucks or Dickey Betts that talked about this in some detail, but I can't Google it up right now. I wonder if that has something to do with the way they are portrayed in those Doonesbury strips?

... Marshall Tucker Band were just really pretty mediocre...

Man, I can't believe you just said that. I think they are one of the most underrated bands around. Oh well, different strokes and all that. Have you ever checked out another Capricorn artist, the Dixie Dregs? They never got very popular since they played strictly instrumental music and eventually dropped the "Dixie" from their name because of that pigeonholing. They are all phenomenal musicians with a style that takes from many genres of music and in their heyday they were absolutely amazing live.

And of course, all Frank Zappa fans know that he very often chose a particular Allman Brothers tune as his final encore. This is the same lineup I saw in Austin in 1984, and although it isn't the same as the Brothers doing it, it still kicks ass.
posted by TedW at 5:52 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, but... if we can consider Little Feat a "southern rock" band, well, I loves me some Little Feat, so, they were a good one!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:55 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can hear the origins of the Zappa cover on "You Can't Do That Onstage Anymore, Vol 2." - a Finnish fan yells out for "Whipping Post" and Frank engages with him for a minute. He said later that he really wished he could have busted it out and blown the guy away, so he had the band learn it.

The Dregs were amazing, and they also had that kind of watering-hole character as far as their audience,- you'd see guys in Yes shirts and Molly Hatchet shirts at their shows. There were even women who weren't girlfriends of guitarists there!
posted by thelonius at 6:00 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


It isn't in stereo and can be hard to find (at least at a reasonable price), but Little Feat's Rockpalast DVD captures them right at the peak of the Lowell George era (although watching it I was surprised how much more of the musical workload seems to be carried by Paul Barrere).
posted by TedW at 6:01 AM on March 20, 2013


flapjax:

It feels like your channeling me. The Band, Little Feat, ABB - my three favorite bands in one post.(Although I agree with TedW on Marshall Tucker.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:02 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]



You can hear the origins of the Zappa cover on "You Can't Do That Onstage Anymore, Vol 2." - a Finnish fan yells out for "Whipping Post" and Frank engages with him for a minute. He said later that he really wished he could have busted it out and blown the guy away, so he had the band learn it.

Yeah, that's what I had always heard and he confirms it in his autobiography.
posted by TedW at 6:03 AM on March 20, 2013


It isn't in stereo and can be hard to find (at least at a reasonable price), but Little Feat's Rockpalast DVD captures them right at the peak of the Lowell George era

We talkin' this lil' ol' gig right here, brother?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:05 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


And on y'all's comments, I think I'll take a fresh look at Marshall Tucker Band. It's been a lot of years since I listened, and maybe there is indeed more there than I remember in my mind's ear.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:08 AM on March 20, 2013


We talkin' this lil' ol' gig right here, brother?

That's the one; I saw the title on YouTube and assumed it was just the one song; glad to see the whole show's on there.
posted by TedW at 6:11 AM on March 20, 2013


Oh, but... if we can consider Little Feat a "southern rock" band, well, I loves me some Little Feat, so, they were a good one!

Stylistically they kinda fit the mold, and namecheck Atlanta often, but they were from LA, right? Still, Lowell George is another of the Great Losses to music that ranks up there with Duane & Barry. I was actually listening to Waiting for Columbus this AM on my commute & thinking about this thread & the comparison between the Allman Bros & Little Feat, so I'm glad you brought it up.

The Feat were on a par as musicians, for sure. I also love the way they could groove -- particularly on Spanish Moon, which lays it down thick. There's a fundamental difference that I can't quite put my finger on, though as much as I love the Feat. There's an organic, holistic, if you will, sum of the parts on Fillmore East -- a sort of oneness of being that's unparalleled.

When I listen to In Memory of Elisabeth Reed, the song seems to just take over the body- I don't even hardly hear the individual parts -- just the sum. It's truly sublime in the most literal sense of the word. There exists a place where the hands and the subconscious can just channel the song as the universe intends it to be -- it's like a meditative state, where the self falls away completely and only the song exists. They seem to me to have been in that place.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:19 AM on March 20, 2013


I was a 20 year old metalhead/aternative fan when my co-worker suggested we go see the ABB down at Great Woods. I had heard of them but didn't really know anything about them but I figured what the hell. They blew my mind and I've been a fan ever since. I went on to see them a couple more times, including a night at the Orpheum Theater in Boston where they recorded An Evening With... Great show.
posted by bondcliff at 6:22 AM on March 20, 2013


Though I'd heard plenty of "classic rock" as a kid, I didn't really understand the Allman Brothers until I spent too much of my money and time my freshman year on the Dreams box set. I'm one of those people who prides themselves far too much on having eclectic music tastes, but if I could only save one disc on my desert island, it's an easy call, it's the Allman's elegiac cover of King Curtis' "Soul Serenade". The original is great, but there's a tipping point way into the Allman's song, probably about 7 minutes in; I can't link to it because it won't make sense, it needs to be in context, it's like suffering through winter (e.g., a foot of heavy snow in late March) and you've about given up hope and the news from Spring Training about the local nine is definitely Not Good and you just want to set the alarm for the Fourth of July and pull the covers over your head, but then a bit of green pokes through, a song bird starts up and you start to hope again.

Well, it's that way for me. Maybe because I spent a lot time listening to it instead of attending classes in college or maybe because Duane Allman's guitar is that great. It doesn't really matter why and this is all like explaining a joke, but the song, in spite of the 11 minute runtime and my ever-increasing ADD never gets old. I never want to rush through it or hope it gets to the point and sometimes you can just breathe and actually feel ok in the moment.
posted by yerfatma at 6:44 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


flapjax, love and the chambers brothers are two more mixed '60s bands. and as far as the marshall tucker band, it's eerie how the chorus of "can't you see" is that much like the chorus of the velvets' "oh, sweet nothing"...
posted by AJaffe at 7:25 AM on March 20, 2013


I am, of course, a moron and messed up the link. The moment I'm talking about is in the second part, "You Don't Love Me". Here's the whole track.
posted by yerfatma at 7:38 AM on March 20, 2013


I hate that the Allmans were pigeonholed as "southern rock" due mostly to their geographic roots.

I'd say theirs was most definitely a music drenched in "the south", that could only have come from there in terms of its stew of influences. But it was nevertheless magnitudes richer, more adventurous, better (particularly when Duane was with them) than pretty much any other music that was coming from the region then (or since) ... or anywhere else for that matter. I remember being quite young (early teens), way the hell up in the Pacific Northwest, hearing the Eat A Peach album (Mountain Jam in particular) and just being floored by it, for here was music you that was unconcerned with being a song. It was just this powerful, flowing organic thing, like something you could go swimming in. Like a great river, both powerful and effervescent (not that I would have had those words in me at the time).

Also, yeah! to the Dixie Dregs. I saw them live in Vancouver's Commodore in around 1979 and recall them blowing the roof off the joint. Some friends of mine were in the warm-up act so I managed to get backstage and meet them. Very cool people, in love with the music. Unfortunately, I never really heard on record what I felt live that night.
posted by philip-random at 8:45 AM on March 20, 2013


Mountain Jam is from the same show as Whipping Post on Fillmore East. You can hear it start as they fade out Whipping Post. The fact that they played those 2 back to back with virtually no break blows my mind. There have been some good repackaging of the Fillmore shows, but I wish there was an un-edited start-to-stop CD set available. Seems overdue, historically.

One Way Out was from one of the same Fillmore shows, too, I think. Not sure how many dates they recorded to get the live album initially -- 2? I bet there's a wiki page.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:55 AM on March 20, 2013


The best Dixie Dregs album is probably "What If", but I'd have to agree that they needed to be seen live. Really, that whole genre of music works better live.
posted by thelonius at 9:12 AM on March 20, 2013


They're doing their annual run at the Beacon Theater. Gregg isn't quite what he was but Warren and Derek play at a level that would have gotten the Skydog smiling.
posted by Ber at 10:36 AM on March 20, 2013


My dad bought "Eat A Peach" back in the 70s and would often bust out "Mountain Jam" much to the consternation of us kids, just so... damn... long. But later on as I started to get into jazz (in part through some other albums my dad had, like Santana's "Oneness") this was a track I came back to quite a bit, and became one of my favourites. It wasn't until much later I heard the Fillmore album and realized they played this back to back with "Whipping Post", can't imagine how we would have reacted as kids if they'd put that whole thing out on one album.
posted by pascal at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2013


Also, the cover art for Eat A Peach was a thing to behold as a young kid.
posted by pascal at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2013


The NPR interview ends with part of a song I played last night at a trivia quiz. Everyone knew who it was by, but no one guessed the name of the song correctly.
posted by MtDewd at 12:24 PM on March 20, 2013


Aside: I just got invited to do a one-off gig a few nights ago by a bunch of friends who want to re-create Hot "Lanta, In Memory of Elisabeth Reed & Whipping Post. We're practicing for the first time a week from Saturday & I couldn't be more excited.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:27 PM on March 20, 2013


You're not a real Southern Rock band unless somebody dies, preferably the most talented people. See: Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat, et al.

Also, after Duane died they should've been required to go by Allman Brother's Band.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:31 PM on March 20, 2013


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