||SKYDOG: THE DUANE ALLMAN RETROSPECTIVE
In my lifetime, the American visionaries have always been Hank Williams Sr, Johnny Cash and Duane Allman. These were the greatest American Masters in popular music in my lifetime.
They played by their own set of rules, forged their own vision, and took people on a musical and spiritual journey. The bodies of work that they created speak for themselves.
This seven disc CD set lays claim to the fact that Duane Allman is an important figure in American popular music. Long before his name cameto mainstream audiences he had already his credentials as an once-in-a-lifetime guitar visionary, leaving his unmistakable stamp on a broad array of recordings
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In his relatively unheralded role as an anonymous session player, Allman amassed a stunningly accomplished body of the work that showcased his prodigious skillful technique at wringing emotion out of his instrument.
Most of his session work was done Muscle Schoals Studios in Alabama and Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, Fla. There are seven discs and beautifully packaged booklet that gives a track analysis of where the tracks were recorded and the dates that they were recorded with beautifully written essays by Duane's daughter Galadrielle and Scott Schinder.
Disc 1 is the most impressive disc in the set because this both Duane and his brother Greg set out on their musical journey, a journey that would take them to front bands in such places as Central Florida, Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles, CA, Muscle Schoals, Ala, Hialeah, Fla (Miami Suburb), and Memphis, Tenn.
Disc 1- The first three tracks are from his time with a garage band called The Escorts. Greg plays rhythm guitar. The tracks are licensed by Greg.
Another band that both play together in is The Allman Joys where they cover a lot of the British invasion bands. Two examples here are there stunning version of The Yardbirds' 'Shapes Of Things' and Manfred Mann's 'Mister You're A Better Man
Disc 2 is interesting; the stuff that he did with Wilson Picket is on here including the Lennon and McCartney composition 'Hey Jude' as well as a very interesting remake of the Steppenwolf number 'Born To Be Wild'.
Another track on Disc 2 is a composition from a band called Soul Survivors called 'Darkness'.
During the two year period from 1969, to the time of his tragic death, in October 29, 1971, Duane was going back and forth from the Allman Brothers Band and doing session work from a wide variety of artists from Ronnie Hawkins to Aretha Franklin.
Discs 5, 6, and 7 get exciting as well as interesting with plenty of heaping doses of the Allman Brothers band. Disc 5 has four tracks from Derek and the Dominoes and Disc 6 has an out of this world kick ass performance of Duane and The Grateful Dead doing 'Sugar Magnolia' recorded live on April 26th 1971 at the FillmoreEast.
And yes, the classic track 'Layla' is on there as well.
On the 2005 American Revolutions documentary about southern rock that appeared on the Country Music Television (CMT). Both Greg Allman and Butch Trucks stated "when Duane heard that Clapton was in Miami recording an album, he asked producer Tom Down if he could come down and watch and Clapton said watch? Hell, come on down and play."
Allman came and down played on what was to become the album 'Layla And Assorted Love Songs'. Trucks also stated that Dowd told him that "Eric was struggling and that he needed some help". What transpired was a classic number in 'Layla' and a landmark album. With Duane as a special guest, he simply came in and lit a fire under Eric's ass.
Disc 7 is the best saved for last with tracks from Delaney and Bonnie and The Allman Brothers especially tracks from 'Eat A Peach', which was the last album that he did before his tragic death.
'Stand Back', 'Blue Back' and 'Little Martha' as well as two live tracks from State University of New York out on Stony
BrookLong Island, NY September 19th 1971.
And another great track which was showcased on the BBC 4 documentary about Southern rock which is from Cowboy, 'Please Be With Me' which is on Disc 7.
A fitting box set to one of the greatest composers of American music.
As for me there are only three guitarists that matter, namely Ritchie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth, and Duane Allman.
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