Saturday, June 03, 2017

For Allman Kind

Let's kick off June's first weekend with a necessary tribute to a recently-fallen bedrock contributor to the music of our lifetimes.
A week ago we lost one of the pioneers, who joins his long-deceased brother -- himself still, 46 years after his departure, one of the most revered guitar strokers in human history -- in the pantheon of the instant immortals.
He died of liver failure last weekend, after a life than can only be categorized as highly eventful. He probably packed twenty lifetimes into his 69 years upon the Earth. Any one of the twenty could be made into a blockbuster miniseries.
Requisite personal story: Years ago I knew this Blues guitar player who played a lot at a bar in Marin County north of SF. I remember getting a phone call from him one night in the 1990s, where he asked me if I'd just assure him that he was not living in some sort of vivid dream.
His excitement level was sky high, for he had just randomly run into today's honoree, who got up on stage with the guy's band and stormed through a few classics. Having grown up idolizing him and his brother, the person in question was certain he was asleep and dreaming he was awake.
Whenever I think of Gregg Allman, I always think of that phone call, surreal as it was, and how I had to reassure the guitar player guy that it was real and was indeed happening, and that our hero was somewhat renowned for that sort of inclusive jamminess. Apparently Gregg had just gotten a brand new motorcycle and was only moments before showing it off to the guy's band outside the club.
Obviously Gregg is gone now, left to assume his rightful place in the firmament of all music. Surely one of the greatest Blues singers that will ever be -- when I was a kid and heard the Allman Brothers Band for the first time, the Blues Power they evinced was so authentic I just assumed they were Black -- as well as an organist of exemplary taste and style and a guitar picker to be reckoned with, his credentials speak for themselves and require no further legitimization.
No one's ever gonna catch the Midnight Rider now, as someone said last Saturday when they heard the sad news. The mark he left isn't going away anytime soon, however.
To commemorate this titan of American music, I have dug up the complete, unedited version of a concert Gregg himself termed "the pinnacle of the Allman Bros. onstage". This was issued on a 3CD bootleg release in 2015 in somewhat truncated form, and has circulated for decades in a sort of messed up iteration with all sorts of sonic defects, but I have got it for you here cleaned and reassembled in its entirety from the original KSAN-FM broadcast 44 years ago.
A truly legendary New Year's Eve show from 1973/4, this one has quite the backstory. It features Grateful Dead men Jerry Garcia and Bill Kreutzmann sitting in with the Brothers, as well as Boz Scaggs, who leads the ensemble through a whole segment of Blues tunes after Butch Trucks had to drop offstage after two hours, having been surreptitiously spiked with a certain chemical sacrament by parties unknown. Gregg also disappears for awhile, but he never did say if he had fallen victim to the same lysergic infusion that felled Butch halfway through this massive, 4 1/2 hour concert.
Allman Brothers Band with special guests
Cow Palace
San Francisco, CA

01 Wasted Words
02 Done Somebody Wrong
03 One Way Out
04 Stormy Monday
05 Midnight Rider
06 Blue Sky
07 In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
08 countdown to 1974
09 Statesboro Blues

01 Southbound
02 Come and Go Blues
03 Ramblin’ Man
04 Trouble No More
05 Jessica
06 Les Brers In A Minor
07 Drums
08 Les Brers In A Minor (conclusion)

01 Whipping Post jam
02 Linda Lou/Mary Lou
03 Hideaway/You Upset Me
04 Bo Diddley/Mountain Jam

01 Save My Life
02 Blues Jam
03 You Don't Love Me
04 Will the Circle Be Unbroken
05 Mountain Jam

Total time: 4:28:45

Gregg Allman - vocals, organ, electric piano, guitar
Dickey Betts - guitar, slide guitar, vocals
Lamar Williams - bass
Chuck Leavell - piano
Butch Trucks - drums, percussion
Jai Johnny Johanson - drums
plus (from CD2, Track 08 to the end):
Jerry Garcia - guitar
Bill Kreutzmann - drums
Boz Scaggs - vocals, guitar

the complete legendary concert, sourced from a master FM capture
This is, in complete form, likely the Holy Grail of unissued Allmans shows, and is a worthy tribute IMO to the gargantuan talents of Gregg. Of course nothing can substitute for the stilled voice of one of the Masters, but when you pull this out of the cloud and let it rain down upon you, I believe it will supply a substantive and appropriate remembrance of this man -- who overcame so much grief in his life and who brought the world such unfiltered soul -- for eras to come. Enjoy and I'll return shortly with more grist for your proverbial mill.--J.
12.8.1947 - 5.27.2017

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