Skydog – The Duane Allman Story: by Randy Poe

After re-reading Gregg Allman’s biography My Cross To Bear  I noticed this book about his brother Duane… the founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. It’s a good read and an informative book. Its forward is written by one of his friends…ZZ Top’s guitarist Billy Gibbons.

The Allman Brothers Band formed in 1969 and they lost their leader Duane Allman in 1971. They continued on to be one of the most successful American bands ever. They finally called it quits in 2014.

I saw this book about Duane and I was excited to read it. Going in… I had read Gregg’s bio, Duane’s daughter’s (Galadrielle Allman) book Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman, and One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band so I was well rounded on the Allman Brothers. Duane lived a short life but Poe seemed to find many of the musicians he played within the 60s and 70s.

Duane believed in brotherhood…not just with his brother but the band and the entire cast around them. Phil Walden was the president of Capricorn Records, The Allman Brothers record label. He would call for a meeting with the band…he really only wanted to see Duane. Duane not only brought everyone in the band but he brought the roadies also. He told Walden flatly.. .you will not talk with just me but with all of us. Walden would reply …but Duane why are the roadies in here? Duane said they were just as important as the band…without them, we can’t play. The roadies would stay. Duane’s lack of ego in his vision for the Allman Brothers Band made them who they were even after he was gone.

He created a family atmosphere with the Allman Brothers organization. Their 3rd album At Fillmore East was their breakthrough…the album cover shows the band against a brick wall. On the other side of the album shows the roadies in front of the wall also…and a picture of one roadie Twiggs Lyndon who couldn’t be there that day. Another band that shared that same philosophy was the Grateful Dead where the roadies were family. Modern businesses would be wise to take this philosophy and use it.

Duane worked with many musicians and touched their lives. Many that drifted in and out of his bands were not forgotten. The original keyboard player for the Allman Brothers was Reese Wynans until Greg joined. Duane broke it to Reese that the band didn’t need two keyboard players.

In a short time, Duane met Boz Scaggs and recommended Reese to play with him and he did. That started his successful career and he would play with many musicians in his career and was the keyboard player in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble.

This book doesn’t stop at Duane’s death. It follows the band all the way up to their end in 2014. In the end, he gives a good discography of Duane’s studio recordings. It’s really incredible how many sessions the man was on and he didn’t even reach the age of 25.

The book goes over why he turned Eric Clapton down on joining Derek and the Dominos. This was before the Allman Brothers had made it. He remained loyal to his band because it took him so long to find the right mix of musicians to get the sound he wanted. They didn’t have a hit until the Live At Fillmore East album was released in July of 1971. It would go gold 5 days before Duane was killed. 

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Duane and The Allman Brothers. It is full of great information. After you read it you will want to look up all of the recordings he was on. His playing was edgy, tasteful, and like great jazz…takes you on a journey.

At the end of the book, you have to wonder how far he would have gone if he would have lived.

One passage from the book: “In September 2003 ‘Rolling Stone’ published its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, placing Duane at #2 just behind Jimi Hendrix. Gregg Allman commented that he thought it was a very wonderful gesture and said “…I thought ‘You made your mark man. You didn’t make any money, but you made your mark.”‘ Rounding out the top five were B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Robert Johnson—pretty impressive company for a kid from the South who didn’t even live to see his 25th birthday.”.

If you want to read about the Allman Brothers I would recommend these books also.

My Cross To Bear by Alan Light and Gregg Allman

One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul

For a more personal view and her journey to know her dad…

Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman by Galadrielle Allman

Allman Brothers – Southbound

Just the opening licks to this song hook me for the rest of the way. Southbound was on the number 1 album Brothers and Sisters in 1973.

The Sound of Vinyl

The making of this album was anything but easy. On October 29, 1971, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle wreck. He was the undisputed leader of the band and the source of their music. After he died it hit the members hard including his brother Gregg Allman. They all agreed to continue on though. They had just released Live At Fillmore East (selected for preservation in the Library of Congress)…along with Live At Leeds considered the top live rock album of all time.

It was just climbing up the charts and money started for once to roll in for the band. They were working on the follow-up album Eat A Peach when Duane was killed. They regrouped and finished the album. It was a hybrid of studio/live recordings. Dickey Betts the other guitar player took a crash course on slide guitar.

The one member that could not get over Duane’s death was bass player Berry Oakley. He was not just another bass player. His playing reminds me of Paul McCartney in a way because it was so melodic. After Duane died he pretty much gave up and was drinking constantly. The other band members tried to babysit him on tour but nothing worked. Gregg Allman said: Berry didn’t want to die but he didn’t want to live either. 

Remembering Allman Brothers Bassist Berry Oakley On The Anniversary Of His  Untimely Death [Videos]

Duane Allman and Berry Oakley

On November 11, 1972, three blocks from where Duane was killed, Berry ran straight into a City Bus with his motorcycle. Some say it was on purpose because there were no skid marks at the scene. Someone took him home after he refused to go to the hospital. Three hours later he was rushed to the hospital, delirious and in pain, and died of cerebral swelling caused by a fractured skull. The Doctors said even if he would have gone straight to the hospital after the accident…he couldn’t have been saved.

The Allmans again decided to carry on. They didn’t replace Duane at first with another guitar player…they replaced him with a piano player named Chuck Leavell who would later play with the Rolling Stones among others. Oakley was replaced by  Lamar Williams, an old friend of drummer Jaimoe. Lamar would die early also in 1983 of lung cancer. His doctors believed that the disease was derived from exposure to Agent Orange during his Vietnam service. The album sessions started in the Autumn of 1972 and Oakley’s bass can be heard on two songs… “Wasted Words” and their huge hit “Ramblin’ Man.”

Lamar Williams (Allman Brothers) | Know Your Bass Player

Lamar Williams

Lamar Williams plays bass on Southbound… Southbound was written by Dickey Betts with Gregg on lead vocals.

Southbound

Well I’m Southbound, Lord I’m comin’ home to you
Well I’m Southbound, baby, Lord I’m comin’ home to you
I got that old lonesome feelin’ that’s sometimes called the blues
Well I been workin’ every night, travelin’ every day
Oh, I been workin’ every night, traveling every day
Oh you can tell your other man, sweet daddy’s on the way
Aww, ya better believe
Well I’m Southbound
Whoa I’m Southbound
Oh you better tell your other man, sweet daddy’s on his way
Got your hands full now baby, as soon as I hit that door
You’ll have your hands full now woman, just as soon as I hit that door
Well I’m gonna make it on up to you for all the things you should have had before
Lord, I’m Southbound
Oh I’m Southbound, baby
Whoa I’m Southbound, yeah baby
Well I’m gonna make it on up to you for all the things you should have had before

Allman Brothers – Revival

The Allman Brothers have such a unique style that you can recognize their music right off with the dual lead of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. This band broke through by touring constantly and playing free shows in parks from Georgia to New York. They played a mixture of rock, blues, country, and jazz and were one of the best.

This was the first Allman Brothers song to chart, this peaked at #92 in the Billboard 100. This was the first original song the band recorded that was not written by Gregg Allman. Guitarist Dickey Betts wrote it.

It was the lead single from their second studio album, Idlewild South released in 1970. Named for a remote farmhouse/cabin the band rented for rehearsals, and where much of it was written and conceived, Idlewild South includes two of the band’s best-loved songs, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed and Midnight Rider.

This was the first Allman Brothers album produced by the legendary producer and engineer, Tom Dowd. During its recording, the band was constantly touring and their sound was road-tested, so much so that instead of doing it as a conventional multi-track recording, the band and Dowd opted to record most of the album live in the studio with minimum if any overdubs.  The band was just that good.

In 1970 they moved into what they called The Big House in Macon Georgia. They didn’t have a lot of money, but their wives and girlfriends found this house to rent. Older big houses like this weren’t too expensive back in 1970 to rent.

It’s now the Allman Brothers museum…it’s on my list to visit.

Visit Us - The Big House Museum

Revival

People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you hear it?
The song is in the air
We’re in a revolution
Don’t you know we’re right
Everyone is singing, yeah
There’ll be no one to fight
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere
People can you feel it?
Love is everywhere