The Allman Brothers Band – Summer Jam At Watkins Glen (1973)

FrontCover1The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). Subsequently, based in Macon, Georgia, the band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group’s first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

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Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 – and the band dedicated Eat a Peach (1972) to his memory, a dual studio/live album that cemented the band’s popularity and featured Gregg Allman’s “Melissa” and Dickey Betts’s “Blue Sky”. Following the motorcycling death of bassist Berry Oakley one year and 13 days later on November 11, 1972, the group recruited keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams for 1973’s Brothers and Sisters. This album included Betts’s hit single “Ramblin’ Man” and instrumental “Jessica”. These tunes went on to become classic rock radio staples, and placed the group at the forefront of 1970s rock music. Internal turmoil overtook them soon after; the group dissolved in 1976, reformed briefly at the end of the decade with additional personnel changes, and dissolved again in 1982.

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The band reformed once more in 1989, releasing a string of new albums and touring heavily. A series of personnel changes in the late 1990s was capped by the departure of Betts. The group found stability during the 2000s with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (the nephew of their original drummer) and became renowned for their month-long string of shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre each spring. The band retired for good in October 2014 after their final show at the Beacon Theatre.

Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. Gregg Allman died from complications arising from liver cancer on May 27, 2017, at his home in Georgia, also at the age of 69. The band has been awarded seven gold and four platinum albums, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.

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The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen was a 1973 rock festival which once received the Guinness Book of World Records entry for “Largest audience at a pop festival.” An estimated 600,000 rock fans came to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway outside Watkins Glen, New York, on July 28, 1973, to see the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band perform.

Concert Poster

The Band followed the Dead with one two-hour set. However, their set was cut in half by a drenching thunderstorm, in a scene again reminiscent of Woodstock, people were covered with mud. During the storm, keyboardist Garth Hudson performed his signature organ improvisation “The Genetic Method”; when the rain finally let up, the full Band joined Hudson on stage, and segued into their signature song “Chest Fever”.

Finally, the Allman Brothers Band performed for three hours. Their performance included songs from their soon-to-be-released album Brothers and Sisters. (wikipedia)

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Without any doubts …one of best Allman Brothers Band concerts ever !

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Personnel:
Gregg Allman (vocals, organ, guitar)
Dickey Betts (guitar, vocals)
Jai Johanny Johanson (drums)
Chuck Leavell (piano)
Butch Trucks (drums)
Lamar Williams (bass)

Alternate frontcover:
AlternateFrontCover1

Tracklist:
01. Bill Graham’s Introduction + Wasted Words (Allman) 5.30
02. Band introductio by Bill Graham 1.03
03. Done Somebody Wrong (James/Lewis/Levy) 4.12
04. Southbound (Betts) 7.44
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 8.18
06. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 17.28
07. Come and Go Blues (Allman) 4.59
08. Trouble No More (Morganfield) 4.38
09. Blue Sky (Betts) 7.10
10. One Way Out (James/Sehorn) 10.55
11. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 4.17
12. Ramblin’ Man (Betts) 8.47
13. Jessica (Betts) 10.00
14. Midnight Rider (Allman) 3.11
15. You Don’t Love Me (Cobb)  / Les Brers in A Minor (Betts) 20.34
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16. Summer Jam At Watkins Glen (uncut version) 2.09.24

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Various Artists – Midnight Rider (A Tribute To The Allman Brothers Band) (2014)

FrontCover1The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969[3] by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). Subsequently, based in Macon, Georgia, the band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group’s first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

AllmanBrothersBand1969

Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 – and the band dedicated Eat a Peach (1972) to his memory, a dual studio/live album that cemented the band’s popularity and featured Gregg Allman’s “Melissa” and Dickey Betts’s “Blue Sky”. Following the motorcycling death of bassist Berry Oakley one year and 13 days later on November 11, 1972, the group recruited keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams for 1973’s Brothers and Sisters. This album included Betts’s hit single “Ramblin’ Man” and instrumental “Jessica”. These tunes went on to become classic rock radio staples, and placed the group at the forefront of 1970s rock music. Internal turmoil overtook them soon after; the group dissolved in 1976, reformed briefly at the end of the decade with additional personnel changes, and dissolved again in 1982.

AllmanBrothersBand1969_02

The band reformed once more in 1989, releasing a string of new albums and touring heavily. A series of personnel changes in the late 1990s was capped by the departure of Betts. The group found stability during the 2000s with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (the nephew of their original drummer) and became renowned for their month-long string of shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre each spring. The band retired for good in October 2014 after their final show at the Beacon Theatre.

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Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. Gregg Allman died from complications arising from liver cancer on May 27, 2017, at his home in Georgia, also at the age of 69. The band has been awarded seven gold and four platinum albums,[4] and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a fine “tribute album”:

This 12-song collection, helmed and herded by Florida guitarist John Wesley, features new performances of some of the band’s classic songs, including “Midnight Rider,” “Statesboro Blues,” “Ramblin’ Man,” and “Whippin’ Post” done by a host of guitarists and singers, Ronnie Earl, Debbie Davies, Eli Cook, Eric Gales, Pat Travers, among them. It’s fine as a tribute, but only underscores how influential and unique the Allman Brothers Band always was. Nothing tops the ABB versions of these songs, which really should come as no big surprise to anybody. (allmusicguide.com)

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Tracklist:
01. Pat Travers: Midnight Rider (Allman) 3.20
02. The Oak Ridge Boys, Tinsley Ellis, Kevin McKendree: Ramblin` Man (Betts) 4.54
03. Molly Hatchet: Melissa (Allman) 4.39
04. Artimus Pyle Band: Blue Sky (Betts) 4.25
05. Jimmy Hall & Steve Morse: Whipping Post (Allman) 5.21
06. Jim Eshelman, Roy Rogers & John Wesley: Jessica (Betts) 7.30
07. Robben Ford & Martin Gerschwitz: One Way Out (Sehorn/James) 4.46
08. Debbie Davis & Melvin Seals: Soulshine (Haynes) 6.42
09. Eli Cook: Statesboro Blues (McTell) 3.40
10. Eric Gales: In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 7.01
11. Commander Cody & Sonny Landreth: Southbound (Betts) 5.13
12. Ronnie Earl, Leon Russell & Reese Wynans: I’m No Angel (Allman) 3.42

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Freddie Salem & The Wildcats – Cat Dance (1982)

FrontCover1Freddie Salem has been a touring & recording artist, session musician and producer for over 30 years! Freddie started performing professionally at the age of 16 as he played with various bands from the Midwest before joining The Chambers Brothers Band as their lead guitar player.In 1977, Freddie joined the popular southern rock-n-roll band, The Outlaws. For six years Freddie played lead guitar for ‘The Florida Guitar Army’ and wrote many songs on their albums which sold over 10 million copies worldwide, earning Freddie platinum and gold albums with Arista Records. The incredible guitar work and producer credits of Freddie Salem can also be heard on recordings with The Godz, The Zippers, Raging Slab, Snatches Of Pink, Michael Rank and more!His latest album, Freddie Salem & Lonewolf; “Black Cloud Rising”, will soon be released as Freddie continues to be one of today’s strongest and hardest working guitarists!

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This is Freddie Salem & The Wildcats first and last album ”Cat Dance” from 1982. While Freddie Salem is most famous for replacing Henry Paul in The Outlaws in 1977 and being part of metal icons The Godz, the man is one of the most impressive American rock guitarists to have emerged in the late ’70s / early ’80s, and should have been a contender for ‘arena guitar hero’ alongside the Ted Nugent, Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, etc.Signed by major label Epic, in 1982 Salem got a chance to record his own album and the result is a really good mix of classic rock, melodic hard rock, and southern fried rock stadium-ready rock n’ roll. Salem rips some awesome solos, it’s a solid vocalist, and his band it top notch.A pretty unknown album, but you’ll surprised by its quality.As a member of The Outlaws, Freddie injected feisty guitar pyrotechnics into the band’s most commercially successful albums like ‘Ghost Riders’ and ‘Los Hombres Malos’, before cutting loose to record a solo album.This was his debut, and so far only, solo album. Produced by himself it showcased Freddie in valedictory mood, looking to spread his wings with various shades of guitar-fueled mayhem.

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Recorded in New York City, the album captured a healthy mixture of Manhattan’s manic pace whilst still boasting a Southern rock tinge, proving that you can take the man out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the man. ‘Cat Dance’ is a fine album indeed, boasting a healthy selection of solid and memorable hard rock tracks and blessed with lashings of Freddie’s blistering guitar work, including hip thrusting riffs and lightning fast solos.Freddie had the goods to make it big, but unfortunately at time of the album’s release Epic was under re-structure and didn’t deliver promotion as hoped and was left to find its own audience. (metal-jukebox.net)

In other words: The heavy side of Southern Rock !

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Personnel:
Myron Grombacher (drums)
David Jackson (piano, synthesizer, vocals)
Freddie Salem (guitar, vocals)
Fernando Saunders (bass, background vocals)
Peter Wood (organ, synthesizer)
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John Peltz (vocals on 05.)
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Tracklist:
01. Dark Horizon (Jackson/Salem) (1.30) / London Town (Rundgren) (6.53) 8.19
02. Open My Eyes (Salem) 3.32
03. Long Gone (Salem) 3.42
04. Sunset (Second Chance) (Salem) 4.02
05. Got The Feelin’ (Salem) 4.12
06. Evil For Evil (Salem) 4.25
07. Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman (Stills) 4.37
08. Monica (Saunders/Salem/Grombacher/Wood) 3.45

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Charlie Daniels Band – High Lonesome (1976)

LPFrontCover1Charles Edward Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020) was an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his contributions to Southern rock, country, and bluegrass music. He was best known for his number-one country hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Daniels was active as a singer and musician from the 1950s. He was inducted into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame in 2002, the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels died on July 6, 2020, at the age of 83 of a hemorrhagic stroke at Summit Medical Center in Nashville.

High Lonesome is the eighth studio album by Charlie Daniels and the fourth as The Charlie Daniels Band, released on November 5, 1976. Many of the tracks pay homage to pulp Western fiction and, with permission, the album’s title was named after the 1962 Western novel by Louis L’Amour. (wikipedia)

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Following Saddle Tramp by a matter of months, High Lonesome finds the Charlie Daniels Band retaining their focus on jamming — meaning not just long solos and improvisations, but a loose feel that brings in elements of a number of different Southern styles, blurring the line between country, rock, blues, and bluegrass. Compared to Saddle Tramp, which felt as wide-open and sunny as the plains or desert, High Lonesome is a little darker and denser, a byproduct of the Charlie Daniels Band playing harder as they up the rock quotient while simultaneously playing up cowboy myths. There are strong elements of the Allmans throughout the record, particularly when Charlie Daniels and Tom Crain trade off electric guitar leads and double-up on harmonies, and there’s a harder backbeat. Even better, there’s more of an emphasis on songwriting and tighter arrangements, which means that the Band’s improvistory fire is distilled into tight, concise four-minute bursts, which makes the record as a whole a more infectious, invigorating listen. Also, with Crain singing on “Tennessee” and a pianist taking lead on “Roll Mississippi,” this not only feels more like a band album, it has a welcome, loose, anything-goes feel, actually sounding like the work of a bunch of Southern renegades. If there are no true CDB classics outside of the title track and arguably “Carolina,” there are no bum songs, either, and the whole thing holds together well, perhaps because, unlike its predecessor, it plays as if it has a theme, thanks to the songs about cowboys and the Southern mythology, not to mention its focused arrangements and the muscular blues-rock guitar that ties it all together. All this makes High Lonesome a highlight in Charlie Daniels’ discography. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Tom Crain (guitar, vocals on 08., slide guitar)
Charlie Daniels (guitar, vocals banjo, fiddle, slide guitar)
Fred Edwards (drums, percussion)
Taz DiGregorio (keyboards, vocals on 06.)
Charlie Hayward (bass)
Don Murray (drums, percussion)
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Toy Caldwell (steel guitar on 07. + 08.)
George McCorkle (guitar on 01.)

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Tracklist:
01. Billy the Kid” (Daniels) 5.50
02. Carolina (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 3.55
03. High Lonesome (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) – 5:03
04. Running With the Crowd (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 4.02
05. Right Now Tennessee Blues (Daniels) 3.37
06. Roll Mississippi (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 3.13
07. Slow Song (Daniels) 3.56
08. Tennessee (Crain) 4.43
09. Turned My Head Around (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 3.52

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CharlieDaniels02Charlie Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020)

Sea Level – Ball Room (1980)

FrontCover1Sea Level was an American jazz fusion band from Macon, Georgia that mixed jazz, blues and rock and existed between 1976 and 1981. Initially it was an offshoot of The Allman Brothers Band, but as tensions grew between the loss of two of its founding members and personal grievances between Gregg Allman and other bandmates and associates, Sea Level took on a life of its own as an independent band.

After the initial breakup of the Allman Brothers Band when Gregg Allman and Dicky Betts left, most of the remaining members who evolved into Sea Level were the trio “We Three” comprising bassist Lamar Williams, drummer Jaimoe and Chuck Leavell (piano, keyboards, vocals). The trio would occasionally open shows for the group in 1975 and 1976. With the Allmans disbanding in 1976, the trio added guitarist Jimmy Nalls and named the band based on a phonetic pun of their new bandleader Chuck Leavell’s name: “C. Leavell.” They toured relentlessly, experimenting and refining their sound, eventually signing with Capricorn Records (home of the Allman Brothers) and recording their self-titled debut album in 1977.

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After the release of their first album, the group expanded to a septet with the additions of Davis Causey (guitar), George Weaver (drums, percussion) and Randall Bramblett (saxophones, keyboards and vocals). That configuration recorded the group’s second album, Cats on the Coast, in 1978 (with the leadoff track, “That’s Your Secret”,[1] reaching #50 on the Billboard Hot 100). By the time of the third album, On the Edge, Jaimoe and Weaver had both left, replaced by Joe English. The sextet of Bramblett, Causey, English, Leavell, Nalls and Williams recorded the fourth album, Long Walk on a Short Pier (1979), unreleased in the United States for nearly twenty years, adding percussionist Matt Greeley for their fifth and final album, Ball Room, issued on Arista in 1980. Their greatest hits album (CD) wrapped up their body of work, minus a handful of appearances on various compilation albums (mostly Southern Rock). They were also featured on a 1978 live Southern Rock album which included a live version of “Grand Larceny.”

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Leavell later emerged as a much sought-after session musician and producer, touring with Eric Clapton and eventually becoming a “permanent” session player touring with the Rolling Stones.

In 1998, he issued his debut solo LP, a Christmas album called What’s in That Bag? and more recently Forever Blue that includes solo versions of two classic Sea Level compositions: “Whole Lotta Colada” and “Song for Amy.” He also released Southscape, an album of Southern anthems that hearkens back to his Southern roots. (wikipedia)

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Ball Room was the last album released by Sea Level. All previous albums were done for Capricorn records, but since they went bankrupt, this album was made for the Arista label. Sea Level was a Chuck Leavell affair. So you know you won’t have to expect the rocky side of southern rock. Instead we get the rather sophisticated side of things. And singing most songs, again, is Randall Bramblett. Where they used to rely very much on jazzy, fusion skills, this leans towards the trends set in the early 80’s. I quite like this a lot, and I hope you will too… (by Skydog)

Yes, I do … enjoy this very special band …

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Personnel:
Randall Bramblett (keyboards, saxophone, vocals)
Davis Causey (guitar)
Joe English (drums)
Matt Greeley (percussion, vocals on 07.)
Chuck Leavell (keyboards, vocals)
Jimmy Nalls (guitar, slide-guitar)
Lamar Williams (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Wild Side (Causey/Bramblett) 4.06
02. School Teacher (Pridgen/Bramblett) 3.24
03. Comfort Range (Causey/Bramblett) 4.03
04. Anxiously Awaiting (Leavell) 4.39
05. Struttin’ (Williams) 4.16
06. We Will Wait (Causey/Bramblett) 3.59
07. You Mean So Much To Me (Causey/Bramblett) 3.48
08. Don’t Want To Be Wrong (Leavell) 4.19
09. Bandstand (Causey/Bramblett) 4.34

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Lamar Williams died from lung cancer in 1983.

Jimmy Nalls, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died on June 22, 2017

Allman Brothers Band – Academy Of Music, New York (1972)

FrontCover1The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). The band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group’s first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 …  (wikipedia)

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And here´s a pretty good bootleg (a soundboard recording) of the Allman Brothers after the death of Duane Allman.

A few month later, Berry Oakley was involved in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, just three blocks from where Duane Allman had his fatal motorcycle accident the year before. Oakley was driving around a sharp right bend of the road on Napier Avenue at Inverness when he crossed the line and collided at an angle with a city bus making the bend from the opposite direction. After striking the front and then the back of the bus, Oakley was thrown from his bike, just as Allman had been, and struck his head.

Berry Oakley

Oakley said he was okay after the accident, declined medical treatment, and caught a ride home. Three hours later, he was rushed back to the hospital, delirious and in pain, and died of cerebral swelling caused by a fractured skull. Attending doctors stated that even if Oakley had gone straight to the hospital from the scene of the accident, he could not have been saved. He was 24 years old when he died, the same age as Allman. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Gregg Allman  (keyboards, vocals)
Dickey Betts (guitar)
Jai Johanny Johanson (drums, percussion)
Berry Oakley (bass)
Butch Trucks (drums)

Alternate frontcovers:
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Tracklist:
01. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 4.26
02. Done Somebody Wrong (Lewis/Robinson/James) 4.06
03. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (Allman) 5.19
04. One Way Out (Sehorn/James) 6.58
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 8.22
06. Trouble No More (Morganfield) 3.46
07 You Don’t Love Me (Cobbs) 13.13
08. Whipping Post (Allman) 13.28

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Marshall Tucker Band – Long Hard Ride (1976)

FrontCover1Long Hard Ride is the fifth studio album by The Marshall Tucker Band, released in 1976 and produced by Paul Hornsby. Guest performers included Charlie Daniels, John McEuen and Jerome Joseph. The title track was made into a short film that was played as a sort of movie trailer. It depicts the members of the band as a gang of cowboys. The album’s cover features Frank C. McCarthy’s painting “The Last Crossing”.

On Long Hard Ride, The Marshall Tucker Band’s country influences come to the fore, resulting in a strong record that failed to gain many hits. Still, the final product is well worth listening to — it’s one of their better releases. Be sure to listen for Charlie Daniels’ guest appearance. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

The Marshall Tucker Band seems to have been largely forgotten today but in the mid-1970s this band was one of the best Southern rock, country-rock outfits around.

Marshall Tucker had a very unique sound; they combined what was essentially a country and country-rock sound with elements of blues and jazz to create one of the most distinctive musical styles among the many successful bands that, at the time, were coming out of the south eastern U.S.

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Bands that come out of the South at the same time as Marshall Tucker included Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band.

If you’re not familiar with the Marshall Tucker Band, there are three of their albums you should check out: Searchin’ For A Rainbow, Long Hard Ride and Carolina Dreams. All three are excellent. (by Mark Anderson)

Take a Great Ride with the MTB:
The Marshall Tucker Band have recorded a lot of great albums, and this one are among the best. I think that ALL the songs are very strong. The first melody is the title-song `Long Hard Ride`. Close your eyes and you`ll believe that you`re in the wild west! And then the band continues with seven more great songs, among these I will mention `Walkìn`the Streets Alone, `Windy City Blues` and `You Say You Love Me`. Well this cd means a lot to me. I remember that it was a christmas-gift to me back in 1976 or something like that, off course on lp. And now so many years after, it is still such a great album. (ny Henrik Lorenz)

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Personnel:
Tommy Caldwell (bass, background vocals)
Toy Caldwell (guitar, steel guitar, vocals on 02.)
Jerry Eubanks (flute, saxophone, background vocals)
Doug Gray (vocals, percussion)
George McCorkle (guitar, banjo)
Paul Riddle (drums)
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Charlie Daniels (fiddle)
Jerome Joseph (percussion)
John McEuen (banjo, mandolin)

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Tracklist:
01. Long Hard Ride (Toy Caldwell) 3.40
02. Property Line (Toy Caldwell) 2.55
03. Am I The Kind Of Man (Toy Caldwell) 4.11
04. Walkin’ The Streets Alone (Toy Caldwell) 4.55
05. Windy City Blues (Eubanks/Gray/McCorkle) 4.46
06. Holding On To You (McCorkle) 3.42
07. You Say You Love Me (Toy Caldwell) 3.50
08. You Don’t Live Forever (Tommy Caldwell) 3.51

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The Last Crossing

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Almost Brothers – A Band Of Roadies (2014)

FrontCover1On one hand, the vibe of A Band Of Roadies comes as no surprise: after all, the band comprised members of the Allman Brothers Band’s road crew circa ’73-’74, along with some other players from the Macon, GA music scene at the time. This mix of covers and originals – infused with bluesy, jazzy grooves and adventurous jams – is exactly what you might expect from offshoots of the ABB family.

What is a pleasant surprise, however, is the fact that this is a great album made by some solid players. After all, just because they lugged the Allmans’ gear, it doesn’t guarantee they could play it … but A Band Of Roadies stands on its own hind legs as a cool chunk of early 70s bluesrock recently rediscovered.

If you’re familiar at all with ABB history, you’ll recognize some of the band members: the late Twiggs Lyndon – the Allmans’ original road manager – plays guitar; longtime road crew member Joseph “Red Dog” Campbell (who passed away in 2011) mans the drums, along with soundman Michael Artz; Buddy Thornton (who handled front-of-house sound for the Allmans) plays bass. Virginia Speed’s talents on piano earned her a job as a keyboard tech for the ABB; her killer Steinway work and lead vocals on the classic “Fever” demonstrate just how good she was. And Dave “Trash” Cole was actually working on the farm that the Allmans owned in Juliette, GA when Lyndon discovered he was also a wicked guitar picker. Cole was hired on as an ABB guitar tech – and he was a natural for the Almost Brothers lineup.

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The Almost Brothers were birthed from the need to do pre-gig sound checks in the absence of the actual ABB members. As Chuck Leavell writes in the liner notes, “As we began to tour behind the release [of Brothers And Sisters ] in 1973 there were times when, for various reasons, the band wouldn’t or couldn’t make sound checks.” (Ahhhh … those “various reasons” …)

The Almost Brothers progressed from warming up gear (and often the crowd when the doors opened early) for the Allmans to playing their own gigs in and around the Macon area. When the ABB took 1974 off so Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts could burrow into their respective solo projects, the Almost Brothers got serious about playing in an effort to keep some money coming in.

The 10 cuts on A Band Of Roadies were recorded over a long weekend during that time period – the band was basically helping to break in the newly-revamped Capricorn Studios. The original masters of those sessions have disappeared, but the two-track studio tapes were recently unearthed. The format allowed for no re-mixing – simply basic EQ touchup and editing; but the raw, in-the-moment feel of this music makes up for any sonic flaws.

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The addition of band buddy Joe English on congas for the piano-driven blues romp “Driving Wheel” and the instrumental “Knurled Knob” (penned by Thornton) is a happenstance crystal ball view of what the Allmans’ sound would evolve into when percussionist Marc Quiñones joined them 17 years later.

Dave Cole’s vocals throughout the album are soulful – more Bobby Whitlock-style than Gregg Allman – and he and Lyndon complement each other well on guitar. They stand shoulder to shoulder on the signature riff of Memphis Slim’s “Stepping Out” before taking turns putting their own spins on the number. (A bit of pickin’ porn for you: Twiggs Lyndon was playing the late Duane Allman’s ’59 Tobacco Burst Les Paul for these sessions … listen for that tone.)

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The Allmans had their classic one-two punch of “Don’t Want You No More” into “It’s Not My Cross to Bear”; the Almost Brothers here take off on the shape-shifter instrumental “Modular Motion” before banging down a couple gears to grind out a cover of “Drifting”. Virginia Speed’s solo on Capricorn’s big ol’ Steinway here is a classic – unhurried, lovely and just raunchy enough to be sexy.

Cole leads the band through his self-penned “Is It Wrong” – a much gentler tune than the rest of the album, but a great, spacious opportunity for the band to get loose and glide. Swooping bass lines by Thornton weave around Speed’s rippling piano; the guitars bounce in and out of harmony lines; and guest Scott Boyer (from the band Cowboy) contributes some sweet pedal steel.

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“Complicated Shoes”, “Rainbow Chase” and “Compactor” are more Buddy Thornton instrumentals that prove what kind of players the Almost Brothers really were. Don’t expect aimless noodling over standard blues progressions; these songs all feature complex grooves that challenge the rhythm section, cool melodies and themes that allow Speed to work the keyboard, and perfect launchpads for Lyndon and Cole to blast off.

All in all, A Band Of Roadies is a great listen, regardless of the Allman connection. The fact that this music was created from a mix of service to the job at hand and a passion for the music that surrounded them makes the story of the Almost Brothers one that causes you to smile and shake your head. In another time; another setting … who knows what might have become of this band?

In the moment, it was set it up; get it right; tear it down; do it again. (by Brian Robbins)

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Liner notes by Chuck Leavell:
Back in “The Day”, when the Allman Brothers Band had recorded the “Brothers and Sisters” album and we were riding high with the LP reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Album Charts
and the song “Rambling Man” reaching No. 2 on the Singles chart, our road crew were riding high with us.
They were all very talented in their respective positions, and all very dedicated to us,
and to the fans that came to see us.
They were recognized by our peers and theirs as being the best road crew in the world,
and in my opinion that was certainly the case.
As we began to tour behind the release of the record in 1973, there were times when for various reasons the band wouldn’t or couldn’t make sound checks.
Our crew would sometimes do them for us, which was a great help and ensured that we would be comfortable when we hit the stage.
As time went on, they began to play more on their own, adding in some other players
that were in the Macon, Ga. area at the time.

The result of this was The Almost Brothers.
I can remember them rehearsing quite a lot, working up some cover tunes and writing some of their own. They were all having a great time, and were honing in their musical skills.
They became very popular around town, and created a reputation for themselves,
playing in some clubs and various other settings.
Fortunately, they also recorded some of their material, and after all these years,
our then house sound engineer, Buddy Thornton, has uncovered those two track tapes,
cleaned them up as much as possible with his expert skills, and herein is the result.
Listening to these recordings bring back some great memories for me, and all the musicians involved put their hearts and souls into the Almost Brothers.
They were all great folks to work with and I am so glad that we have this recording
to document this piece of history.
You can hear the fun they were having and the passion they put into their own band…so, listen and enjoy!

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Personnel:
Michael Artz (drums)
Joseph ‘Red Dog’ Campbell (drums)
Dave ‘Trash’ Cole (guitar, vocals)
Joe English (percussion)
Twiggs Lyndon (guitar)
Virginia Speed (piano, vocals on 07.)
T.T. Thornton (bass)
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Scott Boyer (steel-guitar on 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Driving Wheel (Sykes) 4.01
02. Knurled Knob (Thornton) 2.59
03. Love You (Like A Man) (Smither) 4.33
04. Stepping Out (Slim) 2.23
05. Modular Motion/Drifting 5.34
05.1 Drifting (Thornton)
05.2. Drifting (Brown/Moore/Williams)
06. Complicated Shoes (Thornton) 2.43
07. Fever (Cooley) 3.54
08. Rainbow Chase (Thornton) 5.14
09. Is It Wrong (Cole) 4.46
10. Compactor (Thornton) 4.40

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ZZ Top – Tejas (1977)

FrontCover1Tejas is the fifth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released in late November 1976. The title is a Caddo language word meaning ‘friends’, which is the origin of the name of the band’s home state, Texas.

Frontman Billy Gibbons said about the album:

It’s fair to say that this is a transitional record, although I’m not really sure what we were transitioning from and what we were becoming. (laughs) It may be representative of how rapidly things were changing in the studio.

The equipment was becoming more modernized, and the way that music was being recorded was different – things were moving faster. It was still pre-digital, but there was better gear that was more readily available. We made use of it all.

This period was the wrinkle that kind of suggested what was to come, and change would become a necessary part of the ZZ Top fabric.

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Tejas was produced by Bill Ham and recorded and mixed by Terry Manning. In 1987, a digitally remixed version of the recording was released on CD and the original 1976 mix version was discontinued. The remix version created controversy among fans because it significantly changed the instrument balance and the sound of the instruments, especially the drums. (by wikipedia)

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1977s Tejas is a transition album for Texas rockers ZZ Top. It is the beginning of their step away from the Blues Rock that had brought them fame and a lot of record sales and towards the 1980s Electronic Blues that would eventually make them a worldwide phenomenon. There is more of the former Blues Rock than the latter Electronica here though. Tejas is almost as good a ZZ Top’s masterpiece Deguello, but is held back by some weaker tracks, something Deguello didn’t suffer from. Still there are some amazing songs here, notable the blazing, yet tongue in cheek Arrested for Driving While Blind, the countrified and rollicking She’s a Heartbreaker, and the achingly beautiful Asleep in the Desert. Overall Tejas is an important part of ZZ Top’s discography, and a very good album.(by Karl)

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On Tejas, ZZ Top countrified the bluesy posture of their previous albums, resulting in a slight detour between the madcap spirit of Fandango and the psychedelic strut of Deguello. While the album lacks any singles as strong as “Tush” or “La Grange,” “Arrested for Driving While Blind” is one of ZZ’s classic anthems, capturing the group’s wacky humor and jaunty good-time boogie. Other highlights include the driving “Enjoy and Get It On,” “Avalon Hideaway,” and the fine instrumental “Asleep in the Desert.” (by Jim Smith)

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Personnel:
Frank Beard (drums, percussion)
Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals, harmonica, fiddle)
Dusty Hill (bass guitar, keyboards, vocals on 01., 06., 07., 08., background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. It’s Only Love 4.24
02. Arrested For Driving While Blind 3.09
03. El Diablo 4.22
04. Snappy Kakkie 2.59
05. Enjoy And Get It On 3.26
06. Ten Dollar Man 3.41
07. Pan Am Highway Blues 3.15
08. Avalon Hideaway 3.08
09. She’s A Heartbreaker 3.02
10. Asleep In The Desert 3.25

All songs are written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard,
except 10 (written by Billy Gibbons)

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Allman Brothers Band – Peakin’ At The Beacon (2000)

FrontCover1Peakin’ at the Beacon is a live album by the rock group the Allman Brothers Band. It was recorded at the Beacon Theatre in New York City in March, 2000, and released later that year.

Peakin’ at the Beacon was the first Allman Brothers Band album to include Derek Trucks on guitar and Oteil Burbridge on bass, and the last to include founding member Dickey Betts. (by wikipedia)

When Gregg Allman was asked why Dickey Betts was kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band in the spring of 2000, he is reported to have suggested the answer lay in the tapes from the group’s two-week stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. That makes it surprising that the Allmans would turn to those tapes to assemble their first new album release in five and a half years, Peakin’ at the Beacon. Happily, however, there is no evidence of Betts’ alleged shortcomings on the disc, though it must be admitted that, since he is one of two lead guitarists (the other being Derek Trucks, making his recorded debut with the band), it isn’t always easy to tell who is playing. There is plenty of guitar work, and it is up to the Allmans’ usual standard.

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Following the instrumental opener, Gregg Allman sings lead on seven straight songs, all of which come from the band’s first three studio albums. Betts finally appears as a vocalist on the ninth track, the 1990 folk-country tune “Seven Turns.” Finally, there is a 27-and-a-half-minute version of the 1975 Betts instrumental “High Falls,” a typical extended workout complete with jazzy interludes and a lengthy percussion section. The Allmans may not have been due for another live album (two of their last three releases being concert recordings), but the series of Beacon shows has become an annual event, and the disc serves as a souvenir from the March 2000 shows. Fans who attended those shows, or who just want to be reassured that the Allmans sound much the same as ever, may enjoy the album; less devoted listeners probably shouldn’t bother. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Gregg Allman (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Dickey Betts (guitar, vocals)
Oteil Burbridge (bass)
Jaimoe (drums, percussion)
Marc Quiñones (percussion, vocals)
Butch Trucks (drums, percussion)
Derek Trucks (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Don’t Want You No More (Davis/Hardin) 3.06
02. It’s Not My Cross To Bear (Allman) 5.13
03. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (Allman) 5.46
04. Every Hungry Woman (Allman) 5.57
05. Please Call Home (Allman) 4.31
06. Stand Back (Allman/Oakley) 5.45
07. Black Hearted Woman (Allman) 6.30
08. Leave My Blues At Home (Allman) 5.07
09. Seven Turns (Betts) 4.49
10. High Falls (Betts) 27.28

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