on 12 August 2010
I really don't know how it does it, but this album is one of those rare commodoties that I can return to over and over again without ever getting tired of it. The production is nothing special, the running time far too short, but it remains a perennial fave and always will. 'Dreams' is languid and deliciously world-weary; 'Whipping Post' is hard-bitten and gritty. Greg's voice is amazingly mature. Dicky and Duane complement each other perfectly, and the jazz-timings of the dual drummers expands the sound way beyond mere 'southern rock' (a genre I despise). I'd like to see Lynyrd Skynyrd ever come up with something as sophisticated as 'Blackhearted Woman'.
A little like Zeppelin's first, this is a band emerging, seemingly fully-formed. The follow-up 'Idlewild South' may be blessed with a better production, but the punch and immediacy of this gem makes it absolutely essential.
From 1969 comes this raw but perfectly formed slice of bluesy swinging soulful rock music. It is easy to imagine that the band have simply gone into the studio and reproduced their live sound, such is the excitement they generate either as an ensemble or as individual instrumentalists. Imagine what we have here- Greg Allman's pained world weary vocals and jazz inflected organ contributions, the fiery but tasty guitar of Duane Allman and Dicky Betts supported by a powerhouse three man rhythm section. This is Southern rock heaven. To make matters even better, the Brothers have a distinctive song writer in Greg Allman who in penning tunes like `It's Not My Cross To Bear' , `Dreams' and `Whipping Post,' gives the band some great material to work on. This re-issue gets the maximum juice out of the original tapes, which was not so great to start with, but more than acceptable never-the less. Recommended!
on 6 May 2009
Greg Allman (or Mr Cher) superb on organ, Duane Allman (or the man who really made Layla a hit - not the over-rated Eric Clapton) amazing slide guitar and a spectacular band made this a great album. It was the only record I ever played in a record shop where someone came up and asked me who the band was. Those were the days when you could play the vinyl record in a sound-proof booth. Everyone could hear it because it was engineered for maximum volume. Great album, great band. Shame that two of them died so young.