Over and above his many skills as a writer and musician, Gregg Allman possesses a classically distinctive bluesman's voice, and it's in top raspy shape in this rescued November 1988 concert from The Cannery in Nashville. Allman was touring inside a six-piece ensemble which included tasty guitarist Dan Toler (who, in visage, could easily pass as Moody Blues bassist John Lodge's brother), maintaining a Dickey Betts-ish presence throughout the gig, as well as second keyboardist Tim Heding. A number of Gregg's and the Allman's hits are featured here, including the famed take on Blind Willie McTell's Statesboro Blues, a composition which allows for plenty of jamming—not that da boyz don't take their opportunities otherwise everywhere they can, y'unnerstan', but Statesboro gives 'em lots of time as does One Way Out, another perennial fan fave, here interpolating a bit of Don Nix's Goin' Down.
The sound's a bit boomy and muffled on the low end of this vid and also sometimes a trifle quavery in the high but otherwise decent and reflective of the period and its many TV broadcasts…which appears to be what this was headed for (and may well have achieved, for all I know) but somehow never got beyond that. It's curious how many really cool concerts are now finally making it to public exposure, but, hey!, never look a gift horse in the mouth (or from the other end either, for that matter), so I'm not kvetching.
The Cherry Red label, thank God, wastes no time with introductory advertisements or other mercantile crap and just gets right into the tunes. I wish to hell a LOT more labels would do that. Who the fuck wants to sit through half a damn hour of previews, soft sell, copyright notices, etc.? On the other hand, the end-credits don't identify who played what in the band, so I'm IDing 'em for ya right here 'n right now: Gregg Allman (organ, vox), Dan Toler (gtr.), Dave Toler (drums), Tim Heding (keyb.), Bruce Waibel (bass), Chaz Trippy (perc.).
No one's come along yet to replace the Allmans or Brother Gregg, and that makes this kind of reprise valuable. The concert venue is small and intimate, the band feels at home and comfortable, and the camera work is never intrusive (an otherwise annoying presence in so many recorded gigs, half the time with musicians practically falling over lens-eyed squirrels scampering to and fro), lights turned down low, and everyone in the groove. Jump on that couch, JimBob, ice down the sixer, light up a hooter, git some of them itty-bit glasses for the Southern Comfort, and take an hour to remember what the old days were like. In this friggin' economy, that sort of thing is almost panaceic medicine and, whoo-eee!, very much needed, thank you Jesus.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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