Allman Brothers – In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

This song and Jessica are their two most well known instrumentals.

The Allman Brothers…much like the Grateful Dead could deliver live. They constantly toured early in their careers and played free concerts in parks all over to grow their audience. They released one of the best live albums of all time with At Fillmore East.

This song was originally on their second album Idlewild South in 1970 and later on their live album At Fillmore East.

Allmans guitarist Dickey Betts wrote this song for a girl, but not the one in the title. Elizabeth Reed Napier (b. November 9, 1845) is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia, where Betts would often write.

In memory of Elizabeth Reed : allmanbrothers

He used the name from her headstone as the title because he did not want to reveal who the song was really about: a girl he had an affair with who was Boz Scaggs’ girlfriend.

Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried in the same cemetery as Elizabeth Reed Napier.

From Songfacts

This was the first original instrumental song by The Allman Brothers.

Betts wrote this is based on Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” While Davis had been incorporating elements of rock into his jazz, Betts used pieces of jazz for this rock instrumental. Jazz rhythms make excellent use of the two-drummer format the Allmans use.

This is one of their live favorites. It usually evolves into a lengthy jam.

At concerts, this was a showcase for Allman’s drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, who performed a drum solo at the end.

The live version on At Fillmore East takes up almost a whole side. Because of the extended jams, it became a double album, but the band insisted it be priced close to a single album.

The earliest known recordings of this song are from the band’s Fillmore East performances on February 11, 13 and 14, 1970. The Allman Brothers were on a bill with the Grateful Dead and Love; the Dead’s soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley kept tape rolling and got the recordings, which were compiled into his “Sonic Journal” project and released in 2018 as Allman Brothers Band Fillmore East February 1970.

In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

Allman Brothers – Eat A Peach…Desert Island Albums

This is my sixth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

https://slicethelife.com/2020/09/02/2020-album-draft-round-6-pick-9-the-allman-brothers-eat-a-peach/

I was going to pick the At Fillmore East live album but I also wanted some studio tracks…you get both with this one. This is the last album that Duane Allman worked on before a motorcycle crash took his life. He died a few weeks into making the album. The album also included live tracks that were not used on At Fillmore East like One Way Out, Trouble No More, and a 33 minute “Mountain Jam” that was built off a riff from a Donovan song “There is a Mountain.”

They had some sort of chemistry live that was incredible. I’m usually not a fan of long endless live songs but they keep intensity up…plus with this album you get the best of both worlds.

25 years ago I would not have picked this album…I’ve learned more about them in the past few years and have become a huge fan of the classic lineup. When I listen to the Allman Brothers I listen to the music as a whole more than just the songs. They clicked so well as a band that they blended perfectly when at their best.

Their best albums to me are At Fillmore East, Eat A Peach, and Brothers and Sisters. They have been labeled and credited as starting “Southern Rock” but they were totally different than most of their peers. The Allmans were more blues/jazz oriented who happened to be from the south.

The two guitar players were Duane Allman and Dickey Betts…two of the best around at the time. They also had two drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson (Jaimoe) (who played with Otis Redding). Their bass player was from Chicago…Berry Oakley (who would die in a motorcycle crash a little over a year after Duane) who was amazing. Gregg Allman would write and  sing lead on many of the songs and as he said…pushed the gravy on the meat…he added texture with his Hammond Organ.

They started to work on this album in September of 1971 and laid down the basic tracks to for “Blue Sky,” “Stand Back” and “Little Martha.” Duane Allman died on October 29, 1971. So those tracks have Duane playing on them and of course all of the live material features him on guitar. After he died the band went back to the studio and recorded the rest and it was finished in December.

The album was released on February 12, 1972 and it peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #12 in Canada. The original name was going to be “Eat A Peach for Peace.”

The opening song is my favorite one on the album. Ain’t Wasting Time No More…it was Gregg Allman’s song working through the grief of his brother’s death and about soldiers coming home from Vietnam. Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain,the week before, they all seemed the same

Blue Sky is a Dickey Betts song that I never get tired of. The soaring guitars and the few verses that it has are happy and upbeat. Betts initially wanted the band’s lead vocalist, Gregg Allman, to sing the song, but guitarist Duane Allman encouraged him to sing it himself… “Man, this is your song and it sounds like you and you need to sing it.” Dickey Betts wrote this about his Native Canadian girlfriend, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig.

Melissa is probably the most remembered song off of this album. It’s a great song that Greg had written years before…he couldn’t think of the right woman’s name until he heard a lady in a grocery store yell for her daughter… Melissa.

One Way Out is some of the live feel  that I wanted with Fillmore East and I get it on this album along with the above studio cuts. One of their best known songs.

I thought the island needed a southern touch so the Allmans will do just fine. I’ll just sit back with soul food, listen to Allmans, and watch the tide.

  1. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  2. Les Brers In A Minor
  3. Melissa
  4. Mountain Jam
  5. One Way Out
  6. Trouble No More
  7. Stand Back
  8. Blue Sky
  9. Little Martha
  10. Mountain Jam Cont’d.

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

 

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