Thursday, November 13, 2008
How it all began: The Allman Brothers - Statesboro Blues (1971)
I guess it would be appropriate to start this off by talking about a band that really turned me on to music in general. I can thank my dad for playing The Allman Brothers Band Live at the Fillmore East on his turntable when I was young. We sat in our living room and listened to the show from start to finish (even the 23-minute version of "Whipping Post", a personal favorite). I remember how good my dad's setup sounded, and thinking - whether I recognized how true or profound this was at the time (for a 7th grader, at least) - how it really represented, to me, the fundamentals of music as a whole. I guess what I mean is that it was the blues, and the blues seem to find its way into all genres, in one way or another, that have developed since its inception.
This album is raw, alive and derived from nothing but the band's love for their craft. That's what always draws me towards a certain group or song; when its creators convince me that they are genuine and unencumbered (some talent helps, too).
The show opens with a classic, "Statesboro Blues" (originally by Blind Willy McTell), and the guys waste no time showing off their most valuable asset: Duane Allman. With a guitar and a slide on his finger, he could accomplish anything he wanted in the world. Fortunately, he chose to make some of the best music ever created and gave me the opportunity to hear it. What a guy. His flawless guitar tone and indespensable blues licks with a hint of his own flare make you cling to every note, with the fear that when his part ends he won't be playing the fill during the next solo break. His brother Gregg's voice reaches deep and pulls out that raspy, soulful yet simple tone that brings you back to the days of the original bluesmen.
Anyway, I could go on forever about this song/album/band, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.