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DUANE ALLMAN: 40 YEARS GONE.


Strider

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It was a late Friday afternoon on October 29, 1971 when the world lost one of its blessed souls, and one of the most inspiring and soulful guitar players of the rock era: Duane 'Skydog' Allman.

Ranking musicians is a silly and pointless task...music isn't about cold, hard numbers. Music is fluid, emotional and subjective. Rolling Stone and other media outlets that like to put out endless rankings annoy me.

But anyone who heard Duane play, and possibly lucky enough to see him play in person, knew that here was a six-string-slinger that was up there with the greats. Duane's touch, his feel, his amazing tone and phrasing, was beyond belief...and way beyond most players of his young age. His slide playing alone was enough to put him in the ranks of the immortals.

Losing Duane and Jimi within a year crushed me.

But you don't need all these words...all you need is to listen to the immortal sound of Duane with a guitar in his hand...a sound that blessed this world for far too short a time. I'm not a religious man...but God rest your soul, Duane Allman.

Now let's just listen to the man play...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7IIH6bB4Jo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPb2_REhv3E&feature=youtube_gdata_player

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXrcINvsREU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Jon Landau of Rolling Stone(years before he became Bruce Springsteen's manager) wrote a nice piece about Duane Allman's death and the service afterwards...here's a link to the article:

http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=297

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Nice post Strider. It's hard to believe it's been 40 years. I often wonder how much more of an impact he would have had on popular music had he lived a full life. A pretty huge one would be my guess, look at his legacy today after just a few short years.

RIP.

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There have been very few bands worthy of seeing night after night, very few that "bring it" every night, making up something new every time they play. The Allman Brothers Band is right up there with Led Zeppelin, Zappa's bands and the Grateful Dead!

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Gret post Strider, 40 years ago today my family and I just moved into the house that a grew up in 6 days prior to Duane's death. I was a little young at the time but if my oldest brother was a big fan of the ABB at the time he would have said something to me about Duane I would have remembered it. I didn't become come a fan of the ABB until the mid 90's. My oldest brother asked me what took me so long lol. It all started with the song Dreams. Duane's slide work consumed me, I'm a big fan of the ABB. God bless the Brothers.

RIP Duane.

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Ranking musicians is a silly and pointless task...music isn't about cold, hard numbers. Music is fluid, emotional and subjective. Rolling Stone and other media outlets that like to put out endless rankings annoy me.

As someone that constantly makes lists of favorites and whatnot I must say that I agree but only to a certain extent. Yes, it's a futile task to assign a meaningless number to our favorites but that's part of the fun of it. The beneficial part is the discussions that arise out of assigning those numbers. The downside is the arguments. Once it's all said and done, I like to think of it as a learning process. I think that's one of the main reasons behind the lists, to spur debate and discussion.

Even though we're around the same age, I must say I wasn't aware of Duane Allman's death at the time it happened. Same for the passing of Berry Oakley, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Pigpen and Janis Joplin. The Allman Brothers Band was huge amongst my older siblings (as were the other artists I mentioned) but it wasn't until years later that I learned of their untimely fate. At the time, I simply didn't have the awareness of music that I have now. Plus, what I was paying attention to back in those days was probably more along the lines of Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, the Edgar Winter Group, etc. I'm sure I knew of the Allmans and similar bands but it took me a few years to catch on. I do know that some of my older brothers and sister saw them with Duane, most notably the concert they played at Maggie Valley which has become the stuff of legend in the years since. At the time, I'm guessing it was sort of like Woodstock, except held out in the boonies of the mountains of NC. I also know that some of my brothers (and possibly my sister) were in attendance at a Leon Russell concert in Chapel Hill, NC the day that Duane died. They said the concert was delayed and that when it finally started, Leon had to be helped out on the stage. Members of his crew sat him down at his piano and sat a case of beer on top of it. Before he started to play, Leon announced to the crowd that a "brother" had been lost and told them of the passing of Duane. From hearing the story told over the years, I'm guessing Leon was the first to break it to many at that concert. My brothers said he then proceeded to blow the roof off the place.

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One of the premiere guitarists of his time, maybe of any time.

Although I never saw Duane live (his tragic, horrific death occurred shortly after I attended my first concert - LZ), Skydog is and always will be one of my favorite guitarists. Even though his guitar playing was an important soundtrack of my youth, his music remains timeless. Growing up, Duane and the ABB were hugely popular among my close friends - some of whom were old enough to be at the legendary Fillmore East Concert. As many times as I've seen ABB without Duane, his spirit seems somehow infused permanently within the band.

Duane also worked with Eric during his Derek and the Dominos years.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLj4F4-PuY8

Check out this clip of Duane!

Hahaha...check out Duane? I can barely get past checking out the hippies dancing!

Like most people, my first known exposure to Duane Allman's playing was through Eric Clapton's "Layla". Later I learned Duane played on a lot of soul and blues tunes I had heard before as part of the Muscle Shoals crew...like Wilson Pickett's cover of "Hey Jude". This is the song that made Eric Clapton say who the fuck is that guy on guitar?!?

http://youtu.be/f6944F32lOc

My first time hearing Duane and the Allman Brothers Band was in August 1971, shortly after my dad's birthday, when he came home with two albums in his hands: The Who's "Who's Next" and ABB's "At Fillmore East".

Hearing the ABB was a revelation to me at that age. Sure, I had heard long jams before, but they were usually by San Francisco bands like Moby Grabe, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead...bands that could have a sometimes haphazard and ambivalent relationship with concepts like "tuning" and "harmony". Then there were the prog bands like Yes, ELP and King Crimson who would have long songs, but of the structured variety, with little improv involved. Instead their long songs came off as more 3 or 4 separate songs stitched together.

The ABB to me(especially at that time, when my dad had spent two years playing me his jazz records and exposing me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and the like) sounded like a blues-rock band with a jazz musician's chops. And they were "Southern" in a completely new and different way than the southern-inflected rock that the Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival played. They flowed and grooved like few other rock bands I had heard at that time. Zeppelin could groove, but it was a groove of a different nature. Plus, I was still almost a year away from seeing Zeppelin in concert, so I had no idea that they jammed, too.

"At Fillmore East" was my entree into the ABB, and just like that, it was taken away, as mere months later, Duane was killed in his motorcycle crash...the news was all over the FM rock stations, which I listened to more than the local AM top 40 stations by this time.

I did eventually see the ABB live in concert the summer of 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, with Johnny Winter and Flo & Eddie. Even though there was no Duane, it was still pretty good...Dickey Betts has got to be one of the most underrated guitarists ever. Then later in the year Berry Oakley died...again, it was a motorcycle accident.

After that, I only saw the ABB two more times. I found their post-1973 albums less appealing, there was increasing dissension in the band, Greg started going out with Cher, and when Dicky Betts left the band, that was it...my heart just wasn't in it anymore.

So really, the "peak-years" of the Allman Brothers Band was very short...but oh what a PEAK it was.

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My first concert was the Allman Brothers Band in Savannah, GA in 1975 with their roadies opening. This was during the period when Gregg was dating Cher, which a certain faction of the audience didn't take too kindly to, resulting in some pretty mean spirited jeers and thrown whiskey bottles busting across the top of his grand piano. Quite the first concert experience for me though one of the other things that stands out in my memory about that evening was leaving at midnight as they were still playing "Whipping Post".

In the years since, I've seen the Allman Brothers Band three more times. The first two were in the early 90s when Dickey Betts was still in the band. For no particular reason, I never saw them again until around 3-4 summers ago when they came to town with J.J. Grey & Mofro and the Drive-By Truckers opening the show. With Derek Trucks now a permanent member, they're an entirely different beast but still just as vital as ever as he has them breaking new ground. As a nearly lifelong fan, I found myself losing interest in their albums over the years but Seven Turns is what brought me back on board. I've also been enjoying Gregg's latest solo outing, Low Country.

Now, for something completely different but still on topic: Nels Cline (of Wilco) playing Duane Allman's 1957 Goldtop Les Paul, courtesy of the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House, last night in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of Paste magazine, more photos here.

306897_10150396091855421_8290410420_10559371_1857486044_n.jpg

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