Frontier Psychiatrist

Move over Melissa

Posted on: February 16, 2011

Gregg Allman, Low Country Blues

Gregg Allman’s new release features some of the best blue-eyed blues singing to come along in a while. Low Country Blues (Rounder), produced by T-Bone Burnett, is a collection of eleven blues standards and one new original. Allman’s voice is a sound that has enmeshed itself into the consciousness of every American rock n’ roll fan since Fillmore East in 1971. He always sounded like an old blues man, even when he was a young un’. Today, after decades of highs and lows (and a recent, new liver courtesy of the Mayo clinic), that inner blues man gets the spotlight and his voice seems right at home singing tracks like Sleepy John Estes’ “Floating Bridge” and Muddy Waters’ “Cant’ Be Satisfied.”

While it seems like every other aging pop star gets to do a blues record nowadays (exhibit A: Cyndi Lauper. Stay away from that one, kids), listening to Low Country begs the question, how come Allman didn’t get to this sooner? The Allman Brothers’ Muscle Shoals sounds are direct descendants of Delta blues inflected rock, and one of Gregg Allman’s first bands in 1960 had a regional hit with a remake of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” long before Clapton and company made artists from Chess Records de rigeur. Indeed, the selections here seem a perfect fit for his jagged growl and Georgia drawl.

Burnett’s production, while swampy at times with its wide open sonic spaces and generous reverb, showcases some great musicians that feed off each others ideas with soulful aplomb. There is no extended jamming here, but tight four-minute arrangements that should make public radio music programmers across the country eager to get Low Country into heavy rotation. Each song features a unique take on an old classic, and the orchestrations are a mixed bag, making the album flow along nicely, from spare and jangly acoustic guitars to full blow horn arrangements. Allman plays his signature Hammond B3, leaning into it for most of the record as has done for the last 40 years. The pleasant piano counter-point to the long organ tones come courtesy of Dr. John, long time friend and collaborator. Dr. John’s lilting piano on “Can’t Be Satisfied” brings a jaunty, New Orleans roll to the piece, a unique take on a song that has been done countless times by a countles number of artists.

Gregg Allman, “Can’t Be Satisfied”

“Just Another Rider” was co-written by long time friend, Allman Brothers guitarist and Government Mule front-man Warren Haynes (although he doesn’t play on the record). Its the lone original track on the record, and is a fitting sequel to “Midnight Rider.”

Gregg Allman, “Just Another Rider”

“Blind Man” is a rolling, Chicago bar-room number written and made popular by Bobby Bland. The horn arrangements push this one along and help to make this track one of the fullest sounding on the record.

Gregg Allman, “Blind Man”

With Low Country Blues, Gregg Allman confirms what we knew all along; that behind the blue eyes belting out “Whippin’ Post” and crooning “Melissa” lurked one of the best blues-men of our age. During his annual extended run at the Beacon Theater this March, you can be sure the set-list will include some of these modern classics.

Love your liver!

 

Advertisements

1 Response to "Move over Melissa"

[…] Move over Melissa There is no extended jamming here, but tight four minute arrangements that should make public radio music programmers across the country eager to get Low Country into heavy rotation. Each song features a unique take on an old classic […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Us:

Send Us Your Music:

Staff

L.V. Lopez, Publisher
Keith Meatto, Editor-In-Chief
Peter Lillis, Managing Editor
Freya Bellin
Andrew Hertzberg
Franklin Laviola
Gina Myers
Jared Thomas
Jordan Mainzer

Most Viewed

Contributors

James Tadd Adcox
Michael Bakkensen
Sophie Barbasch
John Raymond Barker
Jeffery Berg
P.J. Bezanson
Lee Bob Black
Jessica Blank
Mark Blankenship
Micaela Blei
Amy Braunschweiger
Jeb Brown
Jamie Carr
Laura Carter
Damien Casten
Krissa Corbett Kavouras
Jillian Coneys
Jen Davis
Chris Dippel
Claire Dippel
Amy Elkins
Mike Errico
Alaina Ferris
Lucas Foglia
Fryd Frydendahl
Tyler Gilmore
Tiffany Hairston
Django Haskins
Todd Hido
Paul Houseman
Susan Hyon
Michael Itkoff
Eric Jensen
David S. Jung
Eric Katz
Will Kenton
Michael Kingsbaker
Steven Klein
Katie Kline
Anna Kushner
Jim Knable
Jess Lacher
Chris Landriau
Caitlin Leffel
David Levi
Daniel F. Levin
Carrie Levy
Jim Lillis
Sophie Lyvoff
Max Maddock
Bob McGrory
Chris Lillis Meatto
Mark Meatto
Kevin Mueller
Chris Q. Murphy
Gina Myers
Tim Myers
Alex Nackman
Michael Nicholoff
Elisabeth Nicholson
Nicole Pettigrew
Allyson Paty
Dana Perry
Jared R. Pike
Mayumi Shimose Poe
Marisa Ptak
Sarah Robbins
Anjoli Roy
Beeb Salzer
Terry Selucky
Serious Juice
David Skeist
Suzanne Farrell Smith
Amy Stein
Jay Tarbath
Christianne Tisdale
Phillip Toledano
Joe Trapasso
Sofie van Dam
Jeff Wilser
Susan Worsham
Khaliah Williams
David Wilson
James Yeh
Bernard Yenelouis
Wayan Zoey

Listening To:

Sons of Dionysus


A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.