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Eat A Peach Deluxe Edition
on 17 July 2006
Eat A Peach's best moments are matched in volume only by the tragedy that surrounded its release. After the death of the bands leader and virtuoso guitarist, many bands would have called it a day. Thankfully, The Allman Brothers Band didn't, and this is what they ended up having to show for it.
For me, Eat A Peach, in its original form, comprises of three different batches of songs. Studio songs recorded after Duane's passing, studio songs recorded before Duanes passing, and the live material from before his death. Each of them has their strong points. I was particularly impressed with the post Duane material. 'Ain't Wastin' Time No More'is a piano led motivational anthem, with a fantastic Gregg Allman vocal and Dickey Betts doing an admiral job filling Duane's slide guitar boots. However, the pinnacle of the post Duane work has to be 'Les Brers In A Minor'. Initially I was worried, the intro lasts about three and a half minutes and is fairly uninspired noise (including perhaps the only recorded instance of the Allmans using...monkey skulls?). However, I should have known better to doubt the compositional genius of Dickey, and the song eventually becomes a groove laden organ/guitar duel culminating with a rousing coda.
It is a literally impossibility to mention this album's live section without talking about 'Mountain Jam'. Totalling over half an hour, many listeners find this meandering, directionless and unfulfilling. I however, absolutely love it, and revel in Duane and Dickey's euphonic guitar dueling. The drum solo is admittedly lengthy but doesn't lose interest in the same way as something like Led Zeppelin's 'Moby Dick' does. Other live songs on the disc include 'One Way Out' which has rightly become an Allman concert staple, and 'Trouble No More' which is a solid if uninspiring blues cover.
Duane Allman, of course, shines in all of the studio material recorded before his accident. 'Stand Back' is another fairly standard blues number, but greatly enhanced by Duane's searing slide guitar. It is the final two tracks however, that are most interesting to listen to. 'Blue Sky', written by Betts is a feel good, mellow country guitar jam. Duane and Dickey both pull off some really emotive soloing in this, but the unecessarily long passages the solos occupy, coupled with the clichéd lyrics make for an ultimately unfulfilling song. 'Little Martha', in contrast is a beautiful, Duane penned acoustic instrumental that sounds melodically similar to a lullaby. A poigniant end to the disk.
The extra disk of live material from the final Filmore East concert adds little to the album as a whole. If you have Live At The Filmore then the renditions of songs such as 'You Don't Love Me','Whipping Post'and particularly a sluggish 'In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed' will seem sloppy and lacking in the passion which made their earlier performances so exhilarating. It's not that the Allman's necessarily played badly at this show, it's more that their standards had been set implausibly high by previous shows.
Overall, the first disk of this set is varied and thoroughly rewarding. However, it is probably wise to just purchase the regular edition of the album if you already have Live At The Filmore East