Allman Brothers – Jessica

I don’t really consider The Allman Brothers “southern rock” but they are classified that way. They were cut above their southern brethren at the time. One hearing of At Fillmore East and any doubts go out the window.

I don’t feature many instrumentals but this one is worth it. It was used really well in the movie Field Of Dreams. This song is a great song for traveling.

Jessica is the name of Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts’ daughter. He was working on this song when she crawled into the room and inspired him. Jessica Betts was born May 14, 1972 – she was one year old when her dad wrote the song.

Dickie Betts was trying to compose a song that could be played on the guitar with two fingers in the style of Django Reinhardt, a 1930s Jazz musician Betts admired who lost two fingers in a fire.

Chuck Leavell played piano on this. He was brought in after Duane Allman died to provide another lead instrument. It created a different sound, as the Allmans now had 1 piano and 1 guitar rather than 2 guitars.

Jessica was on the album Brothers and Sisters released in 1973.

The song peaked at #65 in the Billboard 100 and #35 in Canada in 1973.

From Songfacts

Betts had Jessica with Sandy Bluesky, who also inspired one of his famous Allman Borthers songs: he wrote “Blue Sky” for her. The couple were married in 1973.

This is an instrumental song that had little chart success but has endured as a staple of classic rock radio and a favorite among fans.

This is the theme song to the UK TV show Top Gear.

The Allman Brothers performed this on The Late Show with David Letterman on February 29, 1996.

A live recording was included on the album An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set in 1995. This version won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

When we spoke with Devon Allman, he offered some insight on why songs like this don’t need lyrics. “‘Flor D’Luna’ by Santana, ‘Jessica’ by the Allman Brothers – these songs don’t need words because that lead guitar is doing the talking and the singing. It’s a strong enough melody to stand on its own. Words over that wouldn’t make sense because it’s already doing the speaking.”

Jessica

A, D, G, E, C, Em

 

 

Allman Brothers – Dreams

According to Gregg, this was written in Los Angeles after the breakup of Hourglass, the band he and his brother Duane had there. They opened up for acts such as Buffalo Springfield and The Doors. They were then forced by the record company to play more pop-style music so Duane quit and headed back home to Macon Georgia.

Gregg stayed behind to fulfill the contract and a little later Duane called him up to come to Macon and try out for a new band he put together. Gregg traveled to Macon and sat behind the keyboard and played them his songs. This song won them over and they soon became the Allman Brothers.

This was on their first album The Allman Brother’s Band and it peaked at #188.

Gregg’s autobiography on first playing with the Brothers: They asked me if I had any songs with me, and I told them I had twenty-two, so they told me to play them. I’d get through with one, and they’d ask me, “What else you got?” I’d play ’em another one and they were like, “That was kinda neat, a little potential; what else you got?”

After twenty of them, I’m going, “Oh fuck, I might be without a job here in a minute.” I had two songs left—“Not My Cross to Bear” and “Dreams.” I showed them “Dreams” first, and let me tell you, they joined right in. We proceeded to sit down, learn that song the same way you hear it today, and I was in, brother. They loved it. I bet we played that thing eleven times in a row, and the more we played it, the better it got.

From Songfacts

Gregg Allman wrote this sorrowful song about unrealized dreams when he was living in Los Angeles. He left Georgia to get his music career going there, and wrote a bunch of songs before returning and forming The Allman Brothers Band with his brother Duane. This was the song that won over his bandmates. Allman wrote in his 2012 biography: “I showed them ‘Dreams,’ and let me tell you, they joined right in. We learned that song the way you hear it today, and I was in, brother.”

Listen to the guitar part – you’ll hear Duane Allman switch to bottleneck guitar midway through the song.

“Dreams” was used as the title of The Allman Brothers 1989 5-album boxed set. An unreleased studio version of this song was used on it.

Molly Hatchet released a version of this in 1978. 

This is one of the few songs Gregg Allman wrote on the Hammond B-3 organ.

Here is a live version at the Fillmore BUT someone didn’t plug the input in Gregg’s mic until a few minutes.

 

Dreams

Just one more mornin’
I had to wake up with the blues
Pulled myself out of bed, yeah
Put on my walkin’ shoes
And went up on the mountain
To see what I could see
The whole world was fallin’, right down in front of me

‘Cause I’ve a hunger for the dreams I’ll never see, yeah, baby
Ah, help me baby, or this will surely be the end of me, yeah

Pull myself together
Put on a new face
Climb down off the hilltop, baby
Get back in the race

‘Cause I’ve a hunger for dreams I’ll never see, yeah, babe
Lord, help me baby, or, this will surely be the end of me, yeah

Pull myself together
Put on a new face
Climb down off the hilltop, baby
And get back in the race

‘Cause I’ve a hunger for the dreams I’ll never see, yeah, baby
Ah, ah, help me baby, or this will surely be the end of me, yeah, ah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

My Top 10 Favorite Live Albums

I’m more of a studio guy when it comes to listening to bands but there are a few live albums I really like. This is my top 10 and a few honorable mentions at the bottom. Very few artists can improve on the studio version but sometimes some manage to pull it off.

10. Led Zeppelin –  How the West Was Won – After the disappointing live album The Song Remains The Same, this album released in 2003 contained Led Zeppelin live in 1972 from two shows in top form.

How the West Was Won (Live) (3-CD)

9: Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park – This was big for me when it was released. I had by this time worn a groove out in their greatest hits. The band was great and their harmonies were as good as ever.

Image result for Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park

8: George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh – Fun to listen to George freed from the Beatles and he sounds great with Dylan, Billy Preston, Ringo, and other friends.

Image result for George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh

 

7: The Band: The Last Waltz – One of the best live albums ever. The Band’s last concert with Robbie with a host of talented famous friends. I still don’t get the Neil Diamond selection…nothing against Neil…he didn’t fit in with this atmosphere.

Image result for The Band: The Last Waltz album

6: The Allman Brothers Band “At Fillmore East” – This album floats up and down this list depending on my mood. It was at number 2 when I first made this list a couple of weeks ago. This band was probably one of the most talented bands in the seventies. I didn’t start heavily listening to them until around 5-10 years ago. They are better live than in the studio. There was not a weak link in this 6 piece band…especially in the Duane version but later incarnations were almost as strong.

At The Fillmore East (2LPs - 180GV)

5: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’ – I listened to this so much in the 80s that I knew the stories Bruce would tell by heart. Later when listening to the studio version of a song I would expect the story that went with it.

Image result for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’

4: Paul McCartney  Wings Over America – This triple album set was a live greatest hits. The songs had some edge to them thanks to Jimmy McCulloch the young prodigy guitar player.  Paul even broke his silence on the Beatles and included five Beatle songs. Blackbird, I’ve Just Seen a Face, Yesterday, The Long and Winding Road, and Lady Madonna. Unlike the other 3 albums ahead of this on in the list, Paul didn’t mess with the songs too much from the original studio recordings.

Wings over America

3: The Rolling Stones – ‘”Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” – This tour and the 1972  tour were the Stones at their live peak.

Image result for the rolling stones get yer ya-ya's out

2: Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert – I have seen Dylan 8 times but if I could pick a tour to see him on…I would go back and this would be the one. With The Band backing him up…minus Levon Helm but Mickey Jones on drums is very powerful.

Image result for bob dylan 1966 royal albert hall concert

1: The Who – ‘Live at Leeds’ This album highlights The Who at their best. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rock band so tight. The power of the performance is huge. Pete Townshend told his soundman Bob Pridden to erase all other shows on this tour at the time…Bob did… much to Pete’s regret later on.

The Who - Live at Leeds By The Who

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Beatles Live At The Star-Club in Hamburg Germany – The quality of the recording is pretty bad but it’s exciting to hear the punkish Beatles before Beatlemania hit.

The Kinks – One For The Road

Neil Young & Crazy Horse –  Live Rust

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Band – Rock of Ages

Cheap Trick – At Budokan

Elvis (68 Comeback Special)

 

Allman Brothers – Statesboro Blues

This song is what got me into the Allmans. Duane’s slide in the intro is all I needed to hear. The song was written by Blind Willie McTell who recorded it in 1928.

The Allman’s released it in 1971 on the Fillmore East Album.

From Gregg’s book…In around1967-68 Gregg Allman had upset his brother Duane and then Duane caught a cold or flu.

Gregg brought Duane a Taj Mahal album that included this song…this was before the Allman Brothters was formed. He bought Duane some Coricidin medicine for his cold and Duane had never played slide before…he took the medicine out of the bottle and used it for a slide…the rest is history.

Gregg Allman: So he kissed me on the cheek, and he said, “Man, that record you brought me is out of sight. There’s a guy called Jesse Ed Davis on there, this Indian dude, and he plays guitar with a damn wine bottle. Dig this.”
And then I looked on the table and all these little red pills, the Coricidin pills, were on the table. He had washed the label off that pill bottle, poured all the pills out. He put on that Taj Mahal record, with Jesse Ed Davis playing slide on “Statesboro Blues,” and starting playing along with it. When I’d left those pills by his door, he hadn’t known how to play slide. From the moment that Duane put that Coricidin bottle on his ring finger, he was just a natural.
Looking back on it, I think that learning to play slide was a changing moment in his life, because it was like he was back in his childhood—or maybe not his childhood, because it never seemed to me like Duane was a child, so it was more like going back to his first days of playing the guitar. He took to the slide instantly, and mastered it very quickly. He practiced for hours and hours at a time, playing that thing with a passion—just like he did when he first learned to play the guitar.

From Songfacts

This was played in sets by Hour Glass, one of the first bands Duane and Gregg Allman formed.

The band performed this at Duane Allman’s funeral, with Dickey Betts playing Duane’s guitar.

After Duane’s death, Betts played the slide guitar on this at concerts. He was reluctant to do so because he did not want to compete with Allman’s legend.

A previously unreleased studio version appears on their 1989 5-disk box set Dreams.

At the end of Duane Allman’s guitar solo, he hit an off-key note that his brother Gregg called the “note from hell.” The song made the album warts and all, as these things happen during live performances.

Statesboro Blues

Wake up momma, turn your lamp down low
Wake up momma, turn your lamp down low
You got no nerve baby, to turn Uncle John from your door

I woke up this morning, I had them Statesboro Blues
I woke up this morning, had them Statesboro Blues
Well, I looked over in the corner, and Grandpa seemed to have them too

Well my momma died and left me
My poppa died and left me
I ain’t good looking baby
Want someone sweet and kind

I’m goin’ to the country, baby do you want to go?
But if you can’t make it baby, your sister Lucille said she wanna go

I love that woman, better than any woman I’ve ever seen
Well, I love that woman, better than any woman I’ve ever seen
Well, now, she treat me like a king, yeah, yeah, yeah
I treat her like a doggone queen

Wake up momma, turn your lamp down low
Wake up momma, turn your lamp down low
You got no nerve baby, to turn Uncle John from your door

 

Allman Brothers – Melissa

This was Duane Allman’s favorite song that his brother Gregg wrote….but it was also one of the first songs the band recorded without Duane Allman, who died in a motorcycle accident about four months before it was released. Eat A Peach was dedicated to Duane. At Duane Allman’s funeral in 1971, Gregg Allman played this song on one of Duane’s old guitars. At the service, Gregg said, “This was my brother’s favorite song that I ever wrote.”

The song peaked at #86 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The song didn’t chart too well but it remains a staple of classic radio.

Gregg actually taught Duane how to play the guitar, who quickly became a virtuoso. They played together until 1969 when Duane assembled what would become the Allman Brothers Band. Gregg was reluctant to sign on having already been accepted into college to be a dental surgeon. He soon did and they played together until Duane’s death in 1971.

From Songfacts

Gregg Allman spoke at length about this song in an interview with the San Luis Obispo (California) Tribune on November 30, 2006: “I wrote that song in 1967 in a place called the Evergreen Hotel in Pensacola, Florida. By that time I got so sick of playing other people’s material that I just sat down and said, ‘OK, 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.’ And I had everything but the title. I thought (referring to lyrics): ‘But back home, we always run… to sweet Barbara’ – no. Diane…? We always run… to sweet Bertha.’ No, so I just kind of put it away for a while.

So one night I was in the grocery store – it was my turn to go get the tea, the coffee, the sugar and all that other s–t… and there was this Spanish lady there and she had this little toddler with her – this little girl. And I’m sitting there, getting a few things and what have you. And this little girl takes off, running down the aisle. And the lady yells, Oh, Melissa! Melissa, come back, Melissa!’ And I went, ‘Oh – that’s it.’ I forgot about half the stuff I went for, I went back home and, man, it was finished, only I couldn’t really tell if it was worth a damn or not because I’d written so many bad ones. So I didn’t really show it to anybody for about a year. And then I was the last one to get to Jacksonville – I was the last one to join the band that became the Allman Brothers. 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.’ 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, and then on the way down there I wrote “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” I wrote that for my brother. We were all in pretty bad shape. I had just gotten back from Jamaica and I was weighing at about 156, 6-foot-1-and-a-half – I was pretty skinny. So we went back down there, got in the studio and finished the record. And the damn thing shipped gold.”

This was first recorded in 1968 by the 31st Of February, one of Gregg and Duane Allman’s first bands. Duane’s version of this with the 31st Of February is the first recording of him playing the bottleneck slide guitar, a technique he became famous for.

Steve Alaimo, who was operating the studio where The Allman Brothers recorded this song, received a songwriting credit on this track along with Gregg Allman. Alaimo had a few Hot 100 entries as a singer in the ’60s and early ’70s before moving into production work.

The part of the song that begins: “Crossroads, will you ever let him go” is probably a reference to Robert Johnson, a blues legend who supposedly went to a crossroads and sold his soul to the devil.

Gregg Allman told Esquire in 2013 that thanks to ready access to biphetamines, he had been awake for about two days when he wrote this song. He was working like crazy on another song, but when he played it for his brother, Duane said, “What you have here is a new set of lyrics to an obscure Rolling Stones song.” Said Gregg: “That’s discouraging as s–t, right there. And just as I was about to say f–k it, I wrote ‘Melissa.'”

The Allman Brothers performed this on the last episode of the syndicated Dennis Miller Show on July 25, 1992.

This was used in a commercial television advertisement campaign for Cingular/AT&T Wireless.

Melissa

Crossroads, seem to come and go, yeah
The gypsy flies from coast to coast
Knowing many, loving none
Bearing sorrow, having fun
But, back home he’ll always run
To sweet Melissa
Mmm, hmm

Freight train, each car looks the same, all the same
And no one knows the gypsy’s name
And no one hears his lonely sighs
There are no blankets where he lies
Lord, in his deepest dreams the gypsy flies
With sweet Melissa
Mm, hmm

Again, the mornin’s come
Again, he’s on the run
A sunbeam’s shinin’ through his hair
Fear not to have a care
Well, pick up your gear and gypsy roll on
Roll on

Crossroads, will you ever let him go? 
Lord, Lord
Or will you hide the dead man’s ghost?
Or will he lie, beneath the clay?
Or will his spirit float away?
But, I know that he won’t stay
Without Melissa
Yes, I know that he won’t stay, yeah
Without Melissa
Lord, Lord, it’s all the same

Gregg Allman – Midnight Rider

This is from Gregg Allman’s album Laid Back. Gregg started the album when the Allman Brothers were making Brothers and Sisters. He was having some problems with them and decided to make this one at the same time. The Allman Brothers originally performed Midnight Rider on their second album Idlewild South in 1970 but it wasn’t released as a single.

Gregg released this song in1974 and it peaked at #19 in the Billboard 100 and #17 in Canada.

Gregg Allman from his autobiography My Cross to Bear… Kim Payne was an Allman roadie.

On “Midnight Rider,” which is the song I’m most proud of in my career, I had all but the last part—so, as I like to say, I had the song by the nuts, I just had to reel it in. The third verse is really important because it’s kind of the epilogue to the whole thing. Basically, you state the problem in the first verse, you embellish on the problem in the second verse—like “let me tell you what a bitch she really is”—and then you usually have some music, to let you think about the words for a while and also get lifted up by that music.
The bridge from the music to the third verse is when you want to be different, but you don’t want to go all the way from A to Z. You want something that contrasts things a little bit—kind of like matching a shirt with a pair of pants. You want it to be a little different, but not clashing. The bridge is where you say what you want to do about the problem, or what you’re damn sure going to do about it. Then the third verse is, like I said, the epilogue to the whole thing.

It might sound like I’m giving you a formula to write a song, but I’m not, because it’s never that simple. On “Midnight Rider,” I needed something to start the third verse, and Kim Payne came up with “I’ve gone by the point of caring,” which was exactly what I needed. “I’ve gone by the point of caring”—fuck it—and then, “Some old bed I’ll soon be sharing.” I’ve got another buck, and I ain’t gonna let ’em catch my ass, and then it’s just kinda off into the sunset.

Midnight Rider

Well, I’ve got to run to keep from hidin’,
And I’m bound to keep on ridin’.
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no,
Not gonna let ’em catch the Midnight Rider.

And I don’t own the clothes I’m wearing,
And the road goes on forever,
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no
Not gonna let ’em catch the Midnight Rider.

And I’ve gone by the point of caring,
Some old bed I’ll soon be sharing,
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,

But I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no
Not gonna let ’em catch the Midnight Rider.

No, I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no
Not gonna let ’em catch the Midnight Rider.

No, I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no
Not gonna let ’em catch the Midnight Rider.

Allman Brothers – Blue Sky

Blue Sky was on the classic album Eat A Peach that was released a few months after The Allman’s great guitarist Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. This song was written by Dickey Betts and he wanted the lead singer Gregg Allman to sing it. Duane stepped in and told Dickey that he should sing it because it was his song.

Dickie wrote it about his Native American wife Sandy. This is the first song Dickey sang lead on and on the next album he would sing the bands greatest hit “Ramblin Man”. This song did not chart and it was released in 1972.

It’s a classic guitar driven song that flows to the end. It’s very seventies sounding with great licks. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts are playing on this.

 

Rambin Man

Walk along the river, sweet lullaby
They just keep on flowin’, they don’t worry ’bout where it’s goin’, no, no
Don’t fly, mister blue bird, I’m just walkin’ down the road
Early morning sunshine, tell me all I need to know

You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day
Lord, you know it makes me high
When you turn your love my way
Turn your love my way, yeah

Good old Sunday mornin’, bells are ringin’ everywhere
Goin’ to Carolina, it won’t be long and I’ll be there

You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day
Lord, you know it makes me high
When you turn your love my way
Turn your love my way, yeah, yeah

 

Allman Brothers – Whipping Post

It’s hard to describe this song. The best way is to listen to the live cut. This was one of the first songs Gregg Allman wrote for the Allman Brothers. He was staying at friends, and thought of the lyrics and could not find a pencil and paper so he wrote the lyrics on an ironing board with burnt matches in the middle of the night. He had to be quiet and not wake up his friend’s child.

The bass line at the beginning of the song is iconic.

This is Gregg Allman from the book “My Cross to Bear”

So that first night, I laid me down to go to sleep on my attic couch, and I dozed off for a while. All of a sudden I woke up, because a song had me by the ass. The intro had three sets of three, and two little steps that allowed you to jump back up on the next triad. I thought it was different, and I love different things. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I wish the rest of them had come like this—it was all right there in my head, all I had to do was write it down so I wouldn’t forget it by the morning.
I started feeling around for a light switch, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. I was in my sock feet; I just had on my drawers and a T-shirt. I found my way into the kitchen and it was pitch-dark. I had my hands out and I touched an ironing board—thank goodness, instead of tripping over it, which would’ve made a terrible noise.
I was feeling all around the counters for a piece of paper. I couldn’t find any paper or a pencil anywhere, but I did find a box of kitchen matches. A car happened to go by, and its lights flashed long enough to allow me to see that red, white, and blue box. I knew I could use the matches to write with, because I had diddled around enough with art to know that charcoal would work.
I figured the ironing board cover would work as a pad, so I’d strike a match, blow it out, use the charcoal tip to write with, and then strike another one. I charted out the three triads and the two little steps, and then I went to work on the lyrics:
“I’ve been run down, and I’ve been lied to …”
I got it all down on that ironing board cover, in the closest thing to shorthand as I could muster up. I was really proud that I didn’t wake Brittany up. The next morning, Hop raised so much fucking hell with me about that ironing board cover, but it worked out, and we got “Whipping Post” down that day…

Whipping Post

I’ve been run down and I’ve been lied to.
And I don’t know why, I let that mean woman make me a fool.
She took all my money, wrecks my new car.
Now she’s with one of my good time buddies,
They’re drinkin in some cross-town bar.
Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whippin’ post.
Tied to the whippin’ post, tied to the whippin’ post.
Good Lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.
My friends tell me, that I’ve been such a fool.
But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin’ you.
Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you’ve done.
But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same,
And I can’t run.
Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whippin’ post.
Tied to the whippin’ post, tied to the whippin’ post.
Good Lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.
Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whippin’ post.
Tied to the whippin’ post, tied to the whippin’ post.
Good Lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.

            

Loyal Roadies

Roadies have always been an important part of a band. Occasionally some will be rise above and become well known and some will end up as an executive in the band’s organization. Some will burn out like their bosses and below are a few famous roadies.

Neil Aspinall – Beatles

The first roadie the Beatles employed. He started to help the Beatles out by driving their van from gig to gig. He was soon their road manager and personal assistant. He ended up being the Chief Executive of The Beatles company Apple Corps until 2007. He passed away in 2008.

He was a trained accountant and knew George and Paul when they were kids. He was well trusted by all members. He stayed neutral in all of the arguments while he continued to run a prosperous Apple Corps to the end.

Mal Evans – Beatles

He was hired to help out Neil Aspinall as a roadie. Mal became their personal assistant after they stopped touring. After the Beatles broke up he did some producing…he produced the Badfinger’s single “No Matter What”. He also produced Keith Moon’s first album “Two Sides of the Moon” but was replaced midway through.

In the seventies, he still did work for some of the Beatles accompanying them on trips and odds and ends. He then separated from his wife Lil and after that, he started to have bad depression. While depressed and reportedly using downers, he was shot by LAPD while holding an air rifle and refusing to put it down. He was thought highly of by all the Beatles…See George’s quote below.

George Harrison on Mal Evans

, “Mal loved his job, he was brilliant, and I often regret that he got killed. Right to this day, I keep thinking, ‘Mal, where are you?’ If only he was out there now. He was such good fun, but he was also very helpful: he could do everything…He was one of those people who loved what he was doing and didn’t have any problem about service. Everybody serves somebody in one way or another, but some people don’t like the idea. Mal had no problem with it. He was very humble, but not without dignity; it was not belittling for him to do what we wanted, so he was perfect for us because that was what we needed.” 

Red Dog – Allman Brothers

Duane Allman befriended Joe Campbell (Red Dog) a Vietnam vet and Red Dog stayed with the Allman Brothers for three decades. He gave the band his disability checks to help them stay afloat at the beginning. He soon became a trusted member of the team. His picture with all the roadies is on the back cover of the At Fillmore East album.

Here is a quote from Cameron Crowe on Red Dog when he published his book.

“I’ll admit it right now. I am a big fan of Red Dog, and have been even before he allowed me to interview him back in 1973 for a story in Rolling Stone. Hell, he was already legendary back then. But now I just have to say that I am extremely jealous of the Great Dog, because I’ve just finished reading A Book of Tails. True rock, the kind that lasts forever, is about honesty and humor and love and chasing the elusive buzz of greatness.

Ramrod – Grateful Dead

Lawrence Shurtliff (Ramrod) joined on the Grateful Dead in 1967 and in the seventies became the President of the Grateful Dead board of directors until Garcia’s death in 1995.

Bob Weir on Ramrod

“When he did join up, it was like he had always been there. I won’t say he was the missing piece, because I don’t think he was missing. He just wasn’t there. But then he was there. And he always will be. He was a huge part of what the Grateful Dead was about.”

 

 

My Cross To Bear

I was never a huge Allman Brothers Band fan. I always respected them and I liked their radio songs and heard enough of Duane Allman to know he was a great slide guitar player. I also knew Gregg could make any song his song because of his vocals. I never really wanted to know more about them.

A friend of mine recommended Gregg Allman’s autobiography My Cross To Bear. I have a 72-mile round trip car ride to work every day so I downloaded the audio version. I took a  chance on this one a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it.  I also downloaded the E-book after I finished it.

The Allman Brothers have always been known as the Godfathers of Southern Rock. I never considered them Southern Rock…like Gregg himself said… they were a blues band with some jazz thrown in and they were from the south.

The audiobook is narrated by Will Patton who does a great job of channeling Gregg.

It is like having Gregg over on your back porch telling you these great stories. He is very down to earth and does not try to make his mistakes sound like someone else’s fault. If you want to know about Duane Allman get this book. He is honest about his brother…warts and all. He doesn’t try to whitewash himself either.

He starts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction where he was sick, miserable, and bloated because of his drinking problem…from there he starts going back through his personal history and the many ups and downs of the Allman Brothers. He covers the bands that Duane and he formed…The Escorts, The Allman Joys (which I would have kept that name) and Hourglass.

Hourglass made a couple of albums of original material and covers but the record company made them “pop” everything up. They would not let them play with an edge. The Escorts and Allman Joys were cover bands… very good cover bands.

After reading the book I have started to listen to the Allman Brothers more. He gives you some funny stories and you see how close that band was in the early days before Duane and Berry Oakley died. He mentions his struggles with Dickey Betts, alcohol, drugs and wives. You also read about a “foot shooting” party…

He also talks about being on stage noticing Eric Clapton among the audience. That led to the Layla sessions. Eric was a big fan of Duane’s slide playing.

You learn some history about a cover band’s travels, trials, and tribulations in the mid-1960s…youtube has a few crude recordings of the Allman Joys live in the mid-60s. Below is The Allman Joys version of Help. I would have never thought it was Gregg Allman singing.

If you are a music fan you will probably enjoy this book.

 

Help by the Allman Joys in 1966