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Showing posts from 2017

Ice Cube -- Amerikka's Most Wanted (1990)

Fresh off a split from NWA, Ice Cube headed to New York to make his first (and best) solo album with The Bomb Squad (Public Enemy's production crew). East And West Coast MCs have made selected tracks together but no one had attempted a whole album like this. Tons of great funk samples by Steve Arrington, P-Funk, Kool & The Gang, Bar-Kays, James Brown, Bob James, Zapp -- and the "Long Red" and "Synthetic Substitution" breaks (before it all got played out). Unsung MVP was Eric Sandler of The Bomb Squad who never gets his due as a hip hop producer. 

Jimmy Page -- Outrider (1988)

Jimmy Page will forever be known as the Creator of Led Zeppelin but his post-LZ projects of the 80s and 90s are ripe for a critical reassessment. There's a healthy quantity of music there: the Death Wish II soundtrack, an collaboration with Roy Harper, two albums from The Firm, the one Coverdale-Page recording, two Page and Plant albums, a live effort with The Black Crowes and of course his one true solo album -- 1988's Outrider.

It was released on label powerhouse Geffen Records with a major promotional push during the height of "hair metal." Pay no mind to the Motley Crues and Bon Jovis, the Guitar God was back and would reclaim his throne. The end result would be a very personal art project that left the public feeling a little cold. The three commercially-oriented singles would be the weakest tracks and stiff at radio.

David Fricke of Rolling Stone described it as "a whole lotta muddle, a bewildering amalgam of trademark Pagey rifferama, utter lyric banality, …

Allman Brothers Band history: 1971 -- The final months of Duane Allman

One of the most tragic parts of the Duane Allman story is that he only got to enjoy a brief period of the Allman Brothers Band's massive success. The first two albums, 1969's self-titled debut and 1970's Idlewild South barely sold. They were on the road in a Winnebago non-stop (260 gigs between 1970 and 1971) but were still being kept afloat financially by Phil Walden and Capricorn Records. Band members made around $150/week. Not too bad for 1970 but hardly rock star riches.

Other than Walden, the band's other great benefactor was Bill Graham. They would end 1969 with several dates at the Fillmore East opening for Blood, Sweat And Tears, head out to San Francisco in January to open for BB King at Fillmore West and then be back in New York in February 1970 to open for the Grateful Dead. September and December would see more Fillmore East shows.

In March 1971, the monumental At Fillmore East album was recorded over three nights. A lesser known fact is that a horn section w…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1998 -- The Year Of Jack Pearson

After sitting out most of the 80s, the Allman Brothers Band reunited for the third time in 1989. They were a little tentative at first. There was no new album right away. New keyboard player Johnny Neel was an awkward fit for the band. The initial shows were essentially nostalgia nights. 

But by the summer of 1991, undeniable progress had been made. They now had two albums of new material, 1990's Seven Turns and 1991's Shades Of Two Worlds. Neel was out and in his place was a percussion player named Marc Quinones. The band was finally back in the two guitars/one keyboard configuration they started with in 1969. Newcomers Warren Haynes and Allen Woody gave the band of boost of energy -- they would not be the faceless for-hire musicians that had filled out the 79-82 lineup. 

The Allmans had escaped the classic rock nostalgia circuit and were getting their due as progenitors of the new "jamband" scene. They appeared on the H.O.R.D.E tour in both 1993 and 1994 and had the …

Allman Brothers Band history: 1980 -- from gee-tar to key-tar

Can you imagine seeing this at an Allman Brothers show? Welcome to 1980.

The ABB reunion in 1979 had gotten off to a decent start with a new ABB 3.0 lineup and a respectable comeback effort entitled Enlightened Rogues. This would also be their final album for Capricorn Records. Strongly believing that the label had not been paying them proper royalties for years, Dickey took Capricorn to court -- and won. The judgement resulted in the label declaring bankruptcy. The band would never see the money they were awarded and more importantly, they lost the support of people that had always given them complete creative control.

They signed with Clive Davis and Arista Records, also the home of the Grateful Dead. Davis had managed to exert some control over the notoriously-difficult Dead by insisting they use outside producers. Now he would do the same to the Allmans. 

Music was different now. Blues was considered old people music. Southern Rock was now passe as well and had never really recovered…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1990 -- two guitars, two keyboards

The 80s were the Allman Brothers Band's "lost decade." Barely limping into the 80s, the band called it quits in early 1982 amid an increasingly vague musical direction and a declining interest in the southern rock and blues they were known for. By the middle of the decade, their fortunes began to improve somewhat as classic rock radio renewed interest in their music and Gregg Allman stumbled upon a major hit with the song "I'm No Angel." Dickey's 1988 solo album Pattern Disruptive was not as well-received but the success of a Betts/Allman tour featuring their respective solo bands was a clear indicator that America was ready for the Allmans to take flight once more.

The Toler Brothers, who had been a part of ABB 3.0 and were also in Gregg Allman's solo band, were not asked to come back. Chuck Leavell had signed on with the Rolling Stones. Coming on board were three new members. Through auditions they found Allen Woody, an imposing figure with a massi…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1986 -- the reunion no one remembers

In terms of Allmans lineups, the common assumption is that ABB 3.0 broke up in early 1982 and were inactive until reuniting in 1989.

But there is the little-known 3.5 lineup which played two shows in July and October of 1986. Not a lot has been written about this period, we don't know if it was a genuine attempt to get the band back together or just some old friends having fun. Given that Gregg's I'm No Angel solo album would come out in early '87 I'm assuming it was just the latter.

The hour-long 1986/07/12 set was part of Charlie Daniels' annual "Volunteer Jam" concert. The lineup was a mish-mash of band members and associates past and present. Dan Toler from ABB 3.0 was kept on and Chuck Leavell from ABB 2.0 returned on grand piano. Most importantly, Jaimoe was back on drums after having being unceremoniously dumped from the band in late 1980. They used two bass players from Gregg and Dickey's solo bands.

It's pretty much a greatest hits set b…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1972 -- the five-man band

While everyone is familiar with Duane Allman's tragic death on October 29, 1971, few are aware that the Allman Brothers were back on the road three weeks later as a five-piece band. In December 1971 they entered the studio to record Ain't Wastin' Time No More, Les Brers In A Minor and Melissa -- the first side of the subsequent Eat A Peach album. Don't stop the train indeed.

Obviously the twin guitar lines were not present but in their place was the full guitar force of Dickey Betts who took over the slide playing and generally delivered at an extremely high level of performance. In my opinion, he was one of the top Rock guitarists of this era (but didn't get the recognition he should have).

Touring in support of Eat A Peach wrapped up in August 1972. They re-entered the studio in October augmented by Chuck Leavell on piano to start what would become Brothers And Sisters. The first two songs on the album were the first two recorded: "Wasted Words" and "…

Allman Brothers Band history: February 1970 -- Fillmore East

A three night run in February 1970 at the Fillmore East marked the first time the Dead and the Allmans were on the same bill. They would repeat this again over the next years with 1973 being the peak of GD/ABB "brotherhood" -- two nights at RFK Stadium (June 1973), two nights at Watkins Glen (July 1973) and a monster ABB 12-31-73 show in San Francisco featuring Garcia and Bill Kreutzmann. Sadly they drifted apart after that and in later years the GD would find themselves a common target of Butch Trucks rants, Mickey Hart in particular.

But let's take it back to those early daze when it was all good. Highlights from the ABB sets (taped by Owsley "Bear" Stanley) were officially released as a CD in 1996 but here are the three nights in their entirety.

The Allman Brothers Band
Fillmore East, New York

mp3 @ 320 [77 mb]
sq: A

01 In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed 
02 Statesboro Blues
03 Trouble No More
04 Hoochie Coochie Man
05 Mountain // Jam

tt: 42:03

The Allman Brothers…

Allman Brothers Band history: Summer 2000 -- Derek and Jimmy

After a spring tour in 2000 -- I caught the second to last show in Memphis on 5/6/2000 -- mounting personality conflicts with Dickey Betts caused the Allman Brothers Band to send Dickey an infamous fax asking him to sit out their upcoming summer tour. The rationale was for him to address personal issues that the founding members perceived as detrimental to the organization. Betts responded to the news somewhat, ah, poorly, and would never play another show with the Allman Brothers for the remainder of the band's career.

With a full summer tour about to kick off in a month they placed a call to Jimmy Herring to sub for Dickey. Jimmy was obviously a known quantity, having been in ARU with Oteil and Frogwings with Derek and Butch. 

I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of time for rehearsal but to their credit, the band put together a fun three hour show primarily focused on songs from the first two albums along with the Dickey instrumentals. All Dickey vocal songs were dropped from …

Allman Brothers Band history: 1/24/76 -- country rock and jazz fusion!

This was the final show to wrap up five months of touring in support of the Win, Lose, Or Draw album. Whatever was happening between them offstage didn't seem to affect the onstage chemistry. Setlist is drawn from all albums and there's plenty of jamming with High Falls, Jessica, Les Brers and Whipping Post. Chuck Leavell is the MVP and simply elevates everything to a higher level of performance.

Many people (and some band members) say this period is when the band began to stray from what they did best but I personally enjoy it because the country and jazz fusion influences were at their peak. Future iterations of ABB would return them to their blues and southern rock roots.

After this show there would only be four more scattered dates before they broke up later in the year.

Some tape warble but still very listenable.

Allman Brothers Band
January 24th, 1976
Carolina Coliseum
Columbia, South Carolina

Lineage (from original info): SBD > Cassette > CD > Shn

Disc 1:

1. Don't Wa…