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 – 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

Gregg Allman – I’m No Angel

So I might steal your diamonds, I’ll bring you back some gold

This was a surprise hit for Gregg Allman. The Allman Brothers broke up in 1982 because the 1980s were a hard time for older rock bands…especially bands that jammed a lot on stage and were nowhere near New Wave. Gregg was also going through severe substance abuse problems at the time.

When I read Gregg’s autobiography I was shocked that Gregg didn’t write this song. He and Dickey Betts were the main songwriters of the Allman Brothers. The song described Gregg perfectly. It was written by Tony Colton and Phil Palmer. The song helped revive Allman’s standing with rock and pop audiences.

The song peaked at #1 in the US Album Rock Tracks Billboard charts and #49 in the Billboard 100 in 1987.

Allman spent three days in jail for drunk driving a few weeks before the I’m No Angel album was released. He had been arrested in September 1986 after failing a roadside sobriety test in Belleview, Florida.

 

From Songfacts

This was the title track from Gregg Allman’s fourth solo album. Most of the ’80s were a tough time for Allman: He was in a drug-induced funk for much of the decade, but came out of it long enough to record this album.

This was an appropriate song for Allman, who endured years of alcohol and drug problems and five failed marriages. In the song, he explains that with him, you have to take the good with the bad. He’s a classic dangerous rebel type, complete with tattoos and a dark side. He’s letting the girl know that she’ll love him anyway, even as he drives her crazy.

Gregg Allman wrote most of his own songs and had a hand in composing most of the Allman Brothers catalog, but he didn’t write “I’m No Angel.” The song was written by Phil Palmer and Tony Colton; Palmer is a British session guitarist who recorded with Dire Straits and Eric Clapton; Colton was in a band called Head Hands and Feet with Albert Lee in the ’70s before moving on to songwriting and production work. They submitted the demo to Allman, who immediately identified with the song and decided to record it.

Cher opened her 1988 concerts with this song. Her tumultuous marriage to Allman lasted 1975-1979.

Allman never became a video star, but he did make a foray into the MTV age with his video for this song, where he and his band break down in front of a dilapidated saloon. Conveniently, there are instruments set up, so they start playing while ghosts appear from the bygone days of the Old West. Allman’s avatar is hanged, but not before he kisses his comely executioner.

Jeff Stein, who also did Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell,” was the director.

This was one of only two hits for Allman as a solo artist; in 1974 his song “Midnight Rider,” originally recorded with his band The Allman Brothers, reached #19 after he included it on his first solo album and issued it as a single.

I’m No Angel

No I’m no angel
No I’m no stranger to the street
I’ve got my label
So I won’t crumble at your feet

And I know baby
So I’ve got scars upon my cheek
And I’m half crazy
Come on and love me baby

So you find me hard to handle
Well I’m easier to hold
So you like my spurs that jingle
And I never leave you cold
So I might steal your diamonds
I’ll bring you back some gold

I’m no angel, no I’m no angel
No I’m no stranger to the dark
Let me rock your cradle
Let me start a fire with your spark

Oh come on baby
Come and let me show you my tattoo
Let me drive you crazy
Come on and love me, baby

So you don’t give a darn about me
I never treat you bad
I won’t ever lift a hand to hurt you
And I’ll always leave you glad
So I might steal your diamonds
I’ll bring you back some gold
I’m no angel

No I’m no angel
No I’m no stranger to the dark
Let me rock your cradle
Let me start a fire in your heart

Oh come on, baby
Come and let me show you my tattoo
Let me drive you crazy
Come on and love me baby

Oh come on, baby
Drive me crazy
Drive me crazy
Oh come on, baby
Oh come on, baby
Oh come on, baby

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

 

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.

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