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.”


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