Gregg Allman Low Country Blues (180g 2LP)
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Produced by T-Bone Burnett
Band Features Dr. John, Jay Bellerose, Doyle Bramhall II
Legendary Singer Interprets Classic Blues Songs by Likes of Muddy Waters and Magic Sam
As a founding member of the one and only Allman Brothers Band and in his own storied solo career, Gregg Allman has long been a gifted natural interpreter of the blues, his soulful and distinctive voice one of the defining sounds in the history of American music. Low Country Blues marks the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s seventh solo recording and first in more than 13 years. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album finds Allman putting his own stamp on songs by some of the blues giants whose work has long informed his own, from Muddy Waters and BB King to Buddy Guy and Magic Sam. Named for the coastal Georgia region Allman calls home, Low Country Blues stands as a high water mark in an already remarkable body of work, rich with passion, verve, and the unerring confidence of a true survivor.
Though Allman has been a constant presence on the road over the past decade, with the Allman Brothers Band as well as with his own crack combo, he has spent precious little time in the studio since the 2002 death of producer Tom Dowd – the man behind the glass for much of his recorded career. So when his manager suggested he veer off from a 2009 tour for a Memphis meeting with the multiple Grammy Award-winning Burnett, Allman admits to being not entirely enthused.
“I said, ‘Oh man, I don’t wanna start meeting a string of dudes, all of ’em trying to outdo the other one,” he recalls. “But we stopped in Memphis and here comes T Bone. The first sentence out of his mouth was something like, ‘Tommy Dowd was The Man, wasn’t he? I’ve patterned a lot of my stuff after that gentleman.’ I thought, ‘Right, what’ve we got here?’”
The two musicians quickly bonded, chatting about favorite records, mutual friends, and reminiscences of Nashville’s renowned clear channel station, WLAC, which introduced rhythm & blues music to a generation of late night listeners from New York to Miami. “He told me some guy gave him a hard drive, it has 10,000 obscure blues songs,” Allman says. “He says, ‘I’m gonna pick out twenty of ’em and send ’em to ya and you tell me what you think.’ He said, ‘They’re old, like Billie Holliday old, and when you listen to ’em, I want you to think about us gettin’ in there and about bringin’ ’em up to today.’”
Allman found the idea irresistible and in January 2010, a stunning combo was assembled at Los Angeles’ The Village Recorder, comprising Burnett and Doyle Bramhall II on guitars, backed by the brilliant rhythm section of upright bassist Dennis Crouch and drummer Jay Bellerose. What’s more, the lineup included a brass section arranged and conducted by trumpeter Darrell Leonard, whose illustrious resume extends back to his work with Delaney Bonnie & Friends (featuring Gregg’s late, great brother Duane). As if that weren’t enough, sitting in on piano was a dear old friend, the Night Tripper himself, Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, with whom Allman co-wrote “Let This Be A Lesson To Ya’” on the Gregg Allman Band’s 1977 classic, Playin’ Up A Storm.
This powerhouse band – which of course also features Gregg’s own acoustic guitar expertise and trademark Hammond B-3 organ – cooks up an earthy and atmospheric musical stew infused with gritty R&B muscle, spooky Southern psychedelia, and greasy deep soul grooves.
Like any genuine bluesman, Allman’s own life has been colored by myriad triumphs and too many tragedies. Low Country Blues was initially slated for a mid-2010 release, but that plan changed when Gregg, who had long battled chronic Hepatitis C, was notified that he was a candidate for a liver transplant. In June 2010, he entered the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida where he successfully underwent the difficult surgery. Knowing that he had only just made one of the defining albums of his recorded career proved to be the best medicine, giving Allman the inner strength he needed to fully heal.
1. Floating Bridge
2. Little By Little
3. Devil Got My Woman
4. I Can’t Be Satisfied
5. Blind Man
6. Just Another Rider
7. Please Accept My Love
8. I Believe I’ll Go Back Home
9. Tears Tears Tears
10. My Love is Your Love
11. Checking On My Baby
12. Rolling Stone