DUANE ALLMAN

1986 Stuart Winkles

SKYDOG'S SESSIONS '68-'71

[ DUANE ARTICLES ]

 


 

STUART WINKLES:
Duane Allman: Skydog's Sessions '68-'71
(first published in 'Goldmine', April 11, 1986, Vol. 12 No. 8, Issue 149)


In 1970 at Queens College's radio station WQMC in New York, Duane Allman talked about how he first picked up the slide. It was late 1967 and his group Hourglass was between albums: "I heard Ry Cooder playing some time ago and I said, man, that's for me. I got me a bottle and went in the house for about three weeks and I said, 'Hey man, we've got to learn some songs . . . I love this . . .' So we started doing it and for awhile it was everybody looking at me and thinking, 'Oh no! He's getting ready to do it again!' Everybody just lowered their heads . . . But then I got a little better at it and improved it . . ."

Improved it, he did. The fury that could be unleashed or the sweetness that could be set free when he slipped a Coricidin pill bottle on the ring finger of his right hand to slide along his guitar's fret board defined an approach to playing whose influence has been keenly felt. From the basic "Dust My Broom" and accenting slides of Elmore James and Muddy Waters, to the inroads made by Earl Hooker, it was finally Allman who established the electric slide as a melodic force. It was his sense of melody, combined with western swing influenced dual guitar harmonies resting on ensemble-like modal jazz underpinnings that distinguished the Allman Brothers Band above the usual blues boogie outfits of the early '70s.

Born on Nov. 20, 1946, in Nashville, Tenn., Howard Duane Allman became hooked on R&B at an early age while listening to late night blues shows over WLAC radio. Younger brother Gregg had begun playing guitar and, after Duane sold the parts to a motorcycle he'd wrecked, he bought one too. After a move to Daytona Beach, Fla., the two brothers in their early teens formed a band called the Y-Teens, named after the local YMCA that provided them with gigs. A few years later they joined a band called the House Rockers that backed a soul vocal group, the Untils. Then, in 1965, the formed the Allman Joys.

When Bill McEuen, manager of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, heard the band following the release of a single of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" on Buddy Killen's Dial label, he encouraged the group to relocate to Los Angeles. There the Allman Joys found little success, only to return home and reform the Allman Joys briefly into Almanac, then into Hourglass.

Hourglass recorded two disappointing albums for Liberty in California. Unhappy with the way Liberty chose material for the band, and frustrated by the pseudo-psychedelic image that was foisted upon them, Hourglass went to Alabama where they tented time in Rick Hall's Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. There they recorded material they felt closer to, such as a dynamically charged medley of B.B. King songs. But when the demos where brought back to Liberty in L.A., the record company didn't like the new direction the band was taking. Their West Coast manager called the blues material "terrible and useless." Hourglass was through.

Back in Alabama, however, Rick Hall was so impressed with Duane's playing during the demo sessions that, upon the disillusioned guitarist's return, he phoned Allman and hired him to do session work at Fame. Wilson Pickett was booked at the studio in early September 1968. Thus began Allman's career as a studio musician.

Almost immediately, the long-haired blonde guitarist who always played standing up earned quite a reputation from his session work. And as he plugged in and away at Fame, Criteria Studios in Miami, and at Atlantic Studios in New York after Jerry Wexler heard him, he also assembled, outside of his studio duties, the Allman Brothers Band.

Until the tragic motorcycle accident that claimed his life at 24 in October 1971, Allman appeared on about three-and-a-half albums by the Allman Brothers Band. With each album, beginning with 1969's The Allman Brothers Band, the six-man ensemble gained more and more of a following. Allman's death was one of rock's more untimely tragedies. The band he led was just about to achieve the kind of national attention they deserved when he swerved his bike to avoid a truck in Macon, Ga., and took that last long slide down. His brother and the others carried on to great, though turbulent success, but the band was never the same again musically.

Throughout the rise in popularity of the Allman Brothers Band, and often on brief days off during grueling road tours, Allman kept up his session work. Preferring the live, concert environment, however, where much of his best playing was heard and left unrecorded, Allman did begin to become weary of the sterile studio grind after 1970. By then he was able to choose those session on which he appears. What follows is a chronology cum discography of those sessions which appeared on LP. Many of the standout cuts were included on two substantial two record sets released by Capricorn in the early 70's: An Anthology and An Anthology Volume Two.

Most of these albums are out of print, as are the anthologies. They can still be found, though, for under $10 in collector's stores that provide a good soul selection.

Even the most perfunctory delve into the original albums that Allman appeared on makes one quickly see that, good as the anthologies were, they barely scratched the surface of what his southerner's fingers could do. In a session career that filled roughly three years, Allman left a prolific and startingly powerful legacy.


Wilson Pickett
Hey Jude
Atlantic (SD 8215)

In response to Rick Hall's invitation, this is Allman's first full session at Fame. The resultant LP, however, was released approximately a month after a Clarence Carter set that he appeared on.
It was Allman who suggested that Pickett try his hand with the then-current Beatles hit. Pickett and others present initially scoffed at the idea, but they gave it a go and Pickett found himself with an unlikely hit that reached No. 23 on the Billboard pop chart. When Hall played a tape of the song over the phone for Jerry Wexler, the Atlantic executive was struck by Allman's cocky soaring lead guitar. He went on to purchase Allman's contract from Hall for $15,000, an almost unheard-of sum for a session man who neither sang nor wrote songs.
During these sessions Pickett coined the nickname, "Skyman," and later "Skydog," for the confident kid who Pickett said was always "up there." Besides the title cut, Allman is featured on Isaac Hayes' funky shuffle "Toe Hold," "My Own Style Of Loving," "A Man And A Half" - which showcases Allman's on-the-money Steve Cropper-like soul fills - and on Pickett's cover of Steppenwolf's boiling "Born To Be Wild." On that number Allman responds to Pickett's vocals with odd discordant fills.
An impressive debut indeed. It's no wonder that Wexler was so taken by Allman's playing even though the album cover's personnel listing wound up crediting "David" Allman on guitar.

 

Clarence Carter
The Dynamic Clarence Carter
Atlantic (SD 8199)

Meshing more deeply into the production with Fame guitarists Jimmy Johnson and Albert Lowe, Allman appears as the consumate session man in an atmosphere less passionate than that of Pickett's. Yet when lead guitar is called to the forefront, it's usually played by Allman. On "Road To Love" the slide appears for the first time. Carter, too, seems to be taken by the sound as he summons Allman's break, saying, "Play that thing, now." Then, halfway through the break, he states, "I like what I'm a-listening to right now." Indeed the winding fire of the slide is an unusual accouterments to the mid-tempo tune and it lifts it into a standout.
"Look What I Got," later recorded by Boz Scaggs in a session with Allman, is sweetly accented by soul fills played over acoustic guitar. On "Harper Valley P.T.A.," of all things, Allman provider sturdy bended backing riffs that help to carry Carter's treatment along. On the closing "Weekend Love," Allman is again out front with a persistent John Lee Hooker style boogie riff that sounds as sinister as it sounds explosive. But it's Carter's show and no break is taken. Aside from these exceptions, Allman remained the invisible session man.

 

Arthur Conley
More Sweet Soul
Atco (SD 33-276)

The man who had the hit "Sweet Soul Music" in 1967 recorded half of this album at Fame. In what sounds like a nod to Wilson Pickett's success, Conley covers the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and we find Allman running through a few stepped-up leads during the song's bridge. But that's all. He isn't heard in the rest of the song. In contrast to Pickett's "Hey Jude," the brief licks sound forced and obligatory instead of sounding raw and spontaneous.
A generally muddy production mars the set as well. But when Allman's guitar does appear, it seems to be on a different sonic sphere. "Stuff You Gotta Watch," included in the anthologies shows Allman rousing things with some high powered smoke. In the ballad, "Speak Her Name," we get the rare opportunity to hear Allman double-tracked, playing both manual style and slide guitar against each other. The two sets of chops blend nicely by songs end. Featured out front also on "That Can't Be My Baby," some more fine string tickling takes place in answer to what otherwise is a weak effort by Conley.

 

The Soul Survivors
Take Another Look
Atco (SD 33-277)

Allman was along in the studio for the Atco debut of the band that scored on the charts a year before with "Expressway To Your Heart." Nine of the album's 11 cuts were done at Fame. The hippie white soul of this mostly self-contained band is pretty unexciting. On the overarranged "Darkness," however, Allman's slide is suddenly let loose with incredible intensity, making this cut-out album a "must" for the Duane Allman collector. Aside from a few fills on other cuts, though, Allman remains on rhythm guitar when he appears.

 

King Curtis
Instant Groove
Atco (SD 33-293)

The first album where Allman is credited specifically on certain cuts. Besides Curtis, in fact, Allman is the only credited musician. He's listed as contributing four guitar solos, with "Hey Jude" mistakenly noted instead of the Jimi Hendrix-inspired version of "Hey Joe" (close) that Curtis takes a cool grove on here.
A slide-led version of "The Weight" and Allman's understated slide work on "Games People Play" were included on the anthologies. But it's Allman's fluid manual blues picking on "Foot Pattin'" that should also be distinguished. Certain sustained notes in his attack were becoming trademark.
Earlier in the fall of 1968 Allman sat in for another session with Curtis that produced two Christmas instrumentals. "The Christmas Song" and "What Are You Doing On New Year's Eve" were included on the Atco set Soul Christmas (Atco 269).
The fiery counterpoint that Added to Curtis's masterful breath control makes for some of the best music of his session career. Following Curtis's murder in 1971, Allman included a portion of the great sax player's "Soul Serenade" as a tribute, within the Allman Brothers' jam during live performances of "You Don't Love Me."

 

Boz Scaggs
Boz Scaggs
Atlantic (SD 8239)

Though not stated directly, for all intents and purposes, Allman gets second billing after Scaggs on this, the former Steve Miller Band member's slightly overlooked solo debut masterpiece. Tagged as Duane "Skydog" Allman on the cover's personnel listing, Allman positively shines on Scaggs' reading of Fenton Robinson's blues classic, "Loan Me A Dime." Given that much room to stretch out, he displays his B.B. King influence on the song's quiet opening; then, working up a lather against Barry Beckett's Hammond organ, the song builds through tempo changes for a ferocious showcase of Allman's emotional energy. This is his non-slide tour-de-force and probably his best straight blues performance outside of the Allman Brothers Band.
The country side of Allman's slide surfaces for the first time on "Now You're Gone." His guitar amply substitutes for genuine pedal steel as it dips and drops across the airy melody in the best Nashville tradition.
It's the dreamy slide work on Scaggs' waltz-like "Finding Her" that brings out the atmospheric possibilities of the slide. Distantly echoing through the tune, the slide rings moodily until it swoops down the neck in long sulky drops by the close. What Allman came to call his "Bird," his "Charlie Parker," chimes in as the cut fades. The fade is extended to highlight that sound of the slide bottle noodling like a chirping bird over the guitar's pickups.
Dobro is added on "Look What I Got" and it leads the way through the Jimmie Rodgers chestnut, "Waiting For A Train." The strong country tone of this outing was a dearture for Allman after his soul sessions. But the slide and the introduction of dobro showed him able to rise to the occasion and settle right in at home.

 

Barry Goldberg . . . And
Two Jews Blues
Buddah (5029)

Barry Goldberg and Mike Bloomfield were anxious to work with the reputable Muscle Shoals crew and, of the cuts recorded in Alabama, Allman appears playing slide on Goldberg's show blues, "Twice A Man." Whatever inspiration the two Chicago bluesmen were seeking, however, didn't rub off on Allman. A later Goldberg LP, Blasts From My Past (Buddah 5081), also included tracks culled from these sessions. On that set Allman plays slide on Elmore James' "It Hurts Me Too." But even though James' thunderous slide can be can be sighted as an obvious antecedent to Allman, he turns in an oddly rudimentary performance.

 

Otis Rush
Mourning In The Morning
Cotillion (8006)

To produce the first LP by Otis Rush, Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites went to Fame in 1969. Although a proliferation of weak material and occasionally overdone horn charts taint the set, Rush's unique approach to blues certainly does have its moments. Naturally his edgy, kinetic lead guitar takes center stage, leaving Allman back in his role as ever soulful side man. Only on "Reap What You Sow," and on Bloomfield's "Me," is there any interplay between the two great guitarists. But even then it's brief. With the taste of Allman's blues on Boz Scaggs' "Loan Me A Dime," and following the unfulfilled promise of this album, Allman's eventual work with Eric Clapton on Layla, in retrospect at least, seems like an inevitability.

 

Aretha Franklin
This Girl's In Love With You
Atlantic (SD 8248)

Aretha's funky slide-led version of "The Weight" follows the same arrangement as King Curtis's earlier version. Allman adds a few new frills here and there but producers Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin must have had Allman's riffs sticking in their minds since the Curtis sessions.
The first anthology mistakenly labeled "The Weight" as appearing on Franklin's earlier set, Soul '69. Allman doesn't appear on that LP. Preceding "The Weight" here, however, is a brooding version of Ronnie Miller's "It Ain't Fair." Along with King Curtis himself on sax, Allman provides tasty up-front licks in response to Franklin's second-to-none vocal phrasing.
In three blocks of sessions recorded between January and October 1969 in New York and at Criteria in Miami, Allman shares rhythm and fill work with Jimmy Johnson and Eddie Hinton. The same sessions produced Franklin's Spirit In The Dark LP.

 

Lulu
New Routes
Atco (SD 33-310)

On the Bee Gees' Marley Purt Drive," complete with neo-Dixie-land arrangement, Lulu opens her Atco debut with Allman supplying winding electric slide. Producers Wexler, Mardin and Tom Dowd again show their fondness for Allman's peculiar trademark by putting the slide right on top of the opening cut. Allman's manual style hard rock licks also accent "Dirty Old Man" and "Sweep Around Your Own Back Door" later in the set. Then, on a mellower note, it's Allman's light-as-a-feather slide that gives Lulu's treatment of "Mr. Bojangles" the ethereal quality that the tale of the dancer seems to demand.

 

Ronnie Hawkins
Ronnie Hawkins
(Cotillion 9019)

The first sound heard on this Canadian rock 'n' roll legend's return to recording is Allman's dobro. Mixing folk, country and rock 'n' roll standards, Hawkins had Allman running the gamut of styles from a rolling version of "Matchbox," in which he summons the slide, saying, "Go, Skydog," for Allman to duel it out with King Biscuit Boy's harmonica, to the softly twisting dobro on Bob Dylan's "One More Night."
"Down In The Alley" takes the slide into direct Elmore James territory, resulting in another shoot-out with King Biscuit Boy. Stormy slide accents also do battle with the harp on Hawkins' percussive donnybrook with Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love."
The rare chance to hear Allman vocalize occurs during the call and response of Hawkins' old hit, "Forty Days." Allman's voice is easily distinguishable among the other session men on the shouted response.

 

John Hammond
Southern Fried
Atlantic (SD 8251)

Allman plays lead guitar on four numbers here. In what amounts to a rather restrained set considering the circumstances of nearly total use of blues material being recorded at Muscle Shoals, the slide still rises above things as it accents the Howlin' Wolf classic, "Shake For Me," on the opening cut. On another Wolf tune, "I'm Leaving You," the slide is somewhat buried in the mix, but on "Cryin' For My Baby" Allman vamps seething manual blues lines and hammer trills to a stop-time arrangement not unlike the Allman Brothers' version of "Done Somebody Wrong."
Hammond and Allman were good friends and Allman would stay at Hammond's New York home on visits up north. On Side Two Hammond tries his hand at electric slide on Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied." Where his dobro technique could often be stirring, here we only get an idea of how difficult the switch to electric can be. On the following cut, "You'll Be Mine," Allman returns with his own slide and his dexterity in remaining fluid and choked at the same time, giving each note its due, makes it no contest.

 

Judy Mayhan
Moments
Atco (SD 33-319)

All but one cut of this gospel flavored piano player's Atco LP was recorded at Muscle Shoals. That one exception, recorded in California, included Lowell George, another late great slide player, on rhythm guitar and flute. Allman's swooping, Hawaiian-like electric slide appears on side one's "Everlovin' Ways."

 

Johnny Jenkins
Ton-Ton Macoute
Atco (SD 33-331)

The leader of the band that gave Otis Redding his start (Johnny Jenkins And The Pinetoppers) also played a part in getting Capricorn Studios and label off the ground with this set released on Atco as part of the Capricorn Series. It's also pretty much of a family affair for Allman. Joining in on the sessions were fellow Allman Brothers Band members Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley and Jai Johanny Johanson. Former Hourglass members Paul Hornsby and Johnny Sandlin were on hand as well, with the latter co-producing with Allman.
Present on all the cuts, Allman adds some New Orleans gumbo to his dobro on the opening Dr. John song, "Walk On Gilded Splinters," making for a rather odd hybrid. Later, the hypnotic "Blind Bats And Swamp Rats" includes Allman bending eerily distant long, sustained notes behind a mountain of percussion. John Lee Hooker's "Dimples" is given a rocking treatment much like the one the Allman Brothers used in their own reworking of the song. Here Hornsby takes the second lead guitar in place of Dickey Betts for the patented harmonies with Allman. The cooking acoustic slide that Allman played on Muddy Waters' "Rolling Stone" and his electric slide work on Bob Dylan's "Down Along The Cove" were both featured on the first anthology album.

 

Aretha Franklin
Spirit In The Dark
Atlantic (SD 8265)

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section moved up to Atlantic Studios in New York for three cuts here. They are also on the cut "Pullin'," a spillover from the October '69 This Girl's In Love... sessions. According to Atlantic session files, Allman is playing guitar on "Pullin' " but, if he is, it's acoustic rhythm. Credited on the album's cover only on "When The Battle Is Over," he is heard playing churning riff rhythm with Eddie Hinton and Jimmy Johnson.

 

Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
To Delaney From Bonnie
(Atco (SD 33-341)

Recorded at Criteria and at the Decca Studios in New York in April and July 1970, Allman's dobro leads the "Come On In My Kitchen" medley, whose later live interpretation was included on the second anthology. Here the dobro spits out bright staccato licks over Delaney's punchy rhythm guitar by the song's "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad" finale.
On "They Call It Rock And Roll Music" King Curtis joins the lineup while Allman's guitar contributes to the high-stepping rhythm support. Gliding slide takes an abbreviated solo in "Soul Shake"; then it gets opened up full throttle on "Living On The Open Road." The fierce fluidity that Allman exhibits here practically takes on the phrasing characteristics of a "talking" slide in a tradition similar to the talking pedal steel of Nashville's Pete Drake. Though credited as playing only slide, Allman also turns in some stirring manual leads and crisp harmonies with guitarist Ben Benay on the Bramlett/Bramlett and Bobby Whitlock-penned "Alone Together."

 

Derek and the Dominos
Layla
Atco (SD 2-704)

During an interview at WABC-FM in New York in 1971, Allman answered the question about who's playing what on this ultimate guitar player's album like this: "I play the Gibson, Eric plays the Fender...if you can tell the difference between a Gibson and a Fender, then you know who plays what..." Perhaps the most provocative statement came later in the same interview, however, when Allman conceded that he was responsible for all the lead parts in the title cut with Clapton playing acoustic. It was also Allman who came up with the very Allmanesque riff.

Following the release of this classic merger of two great guitarists, Allman was urged to join Derek and the Dominos. Actually he did play at least two concerts with the band, but with his own band's Idlewild South LP recently released, and with the magnificent Live At The Fillmore East just around the corner, Allman told Clapton that he had his "own fish to fry."
From the extended piano/slide coda of the title song, to the way that Clapton interplays with, and is so obviously inspired by Allman's crashing slide on "Key To The Highway," this is the creme-de-la-creme of Clapton's career and of Allman's session stints. It's acknowledged that the Dominos were about to break up without any serious recording before Allman came along. Clapton had been aware of Allman's steadily growing session catalog and he specifically asked producer Tom Dowd to contact the prolific guitarist. Allman, too, respected Clapton's work, including the British guitarist's sessions with Aretha Franklin, and he had already asked Jerry Wexler if he could "hang around" when he heard about the sessions scheduled at Criteria.
Layla's resilient force sounds as relentless today as it did in 1970. As masterful an album as it is, it is also a testament to Clapton's equilateral musicianship with Allman taking as many, if not more, solos than Clapton himself. Allman, of course, spread the spotlight evenly in the same way in his own band with fellow guitarist Dickey Betts. As a two-record set (no less), Layla features a song-to-song pacing that is as nearly perfect as any in rock. And the songs follow on the album in the same order as they were recorded. One more concerted listening to Layla only underscores the tragic dimensions of Allman's death barely a year after it's release.

 

Sam Samudio
Sam Hard And Heavy
Atlantic (SD 8271)

The former leader of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs recorded his solo debut at Criteria. Credited specifically, Allman appears on two cuts, doubling dobro and electric slide on John Lee Hooker's "Goin' Upstairs" and augmenting with sailing slide the funky syncopation of Samudio's own "Relativity." On the former, Allman's slide keeps the patented Hooker boogie pulse interesting. On the latter, it's simply another sterling performance as Samudio's chorus vocal calls "higher" and the slide naturally soars with the request.

 

Laura Nyro
Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat
Columbia (KC 30259)

Credited separately, "courtesy of Capricorn Records," Allman's name is followed by his own label affiliation as it is on all of his later session work. Here he joins the introspectively soulful Nyro on the song "Beads Of Sweat." The uptempo tune finds Allman contributing stinging manual licks during the verse and one amazingly long sustained note at the bridge. It's another signature performance and Allman's only soloing appearance on the set.

 

Ronnie Hawkins
The Hawk
Cotillion (SD 9039)

Recorded only a few days after the completion of the Layla sessions, Allman is back with Hawkins with dobro on the acoustic songs, and with ripe slide on the rockers. Hawkins and Allman sound like they got along well. Besides beckoning "Skydog" for a straight Chuck Berry break on "Red Rooster," Allman is given the hollered response part on "Wine-Spo-De-O-Dee." He names varieties of wine and chimes "ah-ha's" throughout the song. Electric licks are exchanged nicely between Allman and guitarist Charlie Freeman on "Ooby Dooby" and Allman stays mostly with the dobro on the softer, folk derived material throughout Side Two.

 

Delaney And Bonnie And Friends
Motel Shot
Atco (SD 33-358)

Allman joined a lineup that included Gram Parsons, Dave Mason, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and the Dominos' Bobby Whitlock and Carl Radle for his second appearance on a Delaney and Bonnie album. The concept here was to put across the mostly acoustic music that musicians play among themselves after hours. Driven by a loosely knit dose of traditional and spiritual material, Allman plays dobro on complete versions of "Come On In My Kitchen" and "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad." The latter features extended interplay between the dobro and Ben Benay's acoustic lead. Among the album's 12 tracks, electric guitar appears only once. On Delaney's "Sing My Way Home," Allman plugged in with moody fluttering slide complete with bird calls.

 

The Everly Brothers
Stories We Could Tell
RCA (SLP 4620)

It's been variously reported that Allman made an appearance on this early '70's Everlys set. Among the 14 guitarists, including three slide guitarists, credited, however, Allman is not listed. Ry Cooder's inimitable slide is featured throughout and Allman, if he appears at all, is not discernible.

 

Delaney & Bonnie
D & B Together
Columbia (KC 31377)

The duo's switch to Columbia didn't affect their sound or their choice in backing musicians. Allman's slide appears in a very understated backing role on "Sound Of The City," "Well Well," "Comin' Home" and on "Big Change Comin'." Only on "Groupie (Superstar)," the Bonnie Bramlett/Leon Russell ballad that was a hit for the Carpenters, does Allman's guitar come out from the background to play sweet, gospel tinged manual fills.

 

Herbie Mann
Push Push
Embryo (SD 532)

In July 1971 Allman appeared on his last complete session LP. Listed first in each personnel listing with some of New York's finest studio men, the all-instrumental setting recalls Allman's work with King Curtis two years before. Since then, however, Allman displays an immediately identifiable developmental progression. With a stylistic ease of phrasing entirely his own, one might see this set as an indication of the direction Allman's session career might have taken.
On the title song, Allman's trademark Les Paul manual phrasing percolates in ways that make him, by now, instantly recognizable. Mann's versions of David Gates' "If" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," show Allman's lilting bossa nova rhythm playing as nothing less than exquisite in its soulful softness. Then, holding his own as a jazz guitarist with strong R&B influences, Allman's response licks to Mann's flute on "Spirit In The Dark" and "What'd I Say" bubble with bright and funky signature phrases.
When the slide is brought out on "Never Can Say Goodbye," it becomes the most subtly understated exhibition ever of Allman's glass-on-metal touch. The slide floats over the tune like a melancholy breeze, dipping and swooping and fluttering away. Another turn was taken in Allman's rise as a session man with this album. But the full circle he'd come from King Curtis to this new sophistication caused him to comment that he felt as if he'd perhaps reached as far as he could with the guitar; he had begun to question his ability to progress any further as a musician.

 

Cowboy
5'll Getcha Ten
Capricorn (SD 864)

In early September 1971 Allman sat in during the recording of the second album by Capricorn's fledgling group, Cowboy. It was his last session. After touring with the Allman Brothers Band nearly non-stop for two years, his group was about to take some much needed time off, yet Allman couldn't ignore a call to the studio.
A different take of Allman's lone appearance on this LP was used on the first anthology. In both versions of "Please Be With Me" Allman is heard playing lazy dobro fills to the light country folk ballad. Somewhat ironically, members of Cowboy later found their way into Dickey Betts' band, Great Southern, and, still later, into another revamped Allman Brothers Band in the late '70's that attempted to rekindle the glory days with a dual guitar attack. Quick to admit at the time of his death that Duane Allman's shoes could never, and should never attempt to be filled, the Allman Brothers Band dissolved for good, it seems, in 1983.


Jerry Wexler described Allman as a masterly player who, being from the South, had a natural feel and appreciation for blues. He went on to commend Allman's grounding in bop and country style guitar, sighting Hank Garland and Chet Atkins as influences to the latter. In blues, he pointed to Allman's love for such artists as B.B. King, Albert King, Slim Harpo, T-Bone Walker, Blind Willie Johnson and, of course, Robert Johnson.

Allman's guitar kept up with the best of them. At Macon, Georgia, Memorial Chapel, it was Wexler who delivered the eulogy at Allman's funeral. Dr. John, Delaney Bramlett and the stunned Allman Brothers Band performed at the service. Hundreds of people attended to see Skydog off as he was buried with a Gibson guitar and a slide bottle reportedly slipped on the ring finger of his right hand.


DUANE ALLMAN AS BAND LEADER DISCOGRAPHY
by Stuart Winkles

Singles
w/The Allman Joys
label record # title date
Dial 4046 Spoonful / You Deserve Each Other 1966
       
w/Hour Glass
Liberty 56002 Nothing But Tears / Heartbeat 1967
  56029 Power Of Love / I Still Want Your Love 1968
  56053 D-I-V-O-R-C-E / Changing Of The Guard 1968
  56091 I've Been Trying / Silently 1969
       
w/The Allman Brothers Band
Capricorn 8003 Black Hearted Woman / Every Hungry Woman 1970
  8011 Revival / Leave My Blues At Home 1971
  8014 Midnight Rider / Whipping Post 1971
  0007 Melissa / Blue Sky 1972
  0014 One Way Out / Stand Back 1972
       
Albums
w/The Allman Joys
Dial DL 6005 Early Allmans 1974
       
w/Duane And Gregg Allman
Bold 33-301 Duane And Gregg Allman 1973
       
w/The Allman Brothers Band
Atco 308 The Allman Brothers Band 1969
  342 Idlewild South 1970
Capricorn 2-802 At Fillmore East 1971
  2CP 0102 Eat A Peach 1972
  2-805 Beginnings (repackage & remix of Atco 308 & 342) 1973
  2CP 0164 The Road Goes On Forever 1975
       
As Duane Allman
Capricorn 2CP 0108 An Anthology 1972
  2CP 0139 An Anthology Volume 2 1973
  PRO 545 Dialogs (radio only) 1972
Polydor 6338 Best Of 1980

 

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