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4.60 | 10 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1972


A1 Ain't Wastin' Time No More 3:40
A2 Les Brets In A Minor 9:05
A3 Melissa 3:05
B Mountain Jam 19:37
C1 One Way Out 4:58
C2 Trouble No More 3:28
C3 Stand Back 3:25
C4 Blue Sky 5:10
C5 Little Martha 2:08
D Mountain Jam, Cont'd. 15:06


Gregg Allman / organ, piano, acoustic guitar, vocal
Duane Allman / lead guitar, acoustic & slide guitar
Dicky Betts / lead & slide guitars, monkey skulls, vocal
Butch Trucks / drums, tympani, gong, vibes, percussion
Berry Oakley / bass
Jai Johanny Johanson / drums, congas

About this release

Capricorn Records ‎– 2CP 0102(US)

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On October 29, 1971 Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia and the music world lost a magnificent and influential guitar player whose life was cut short. His extremely popular band suddenly lost their mentor and a huge portion of their once impregnable spirit. The bad news for them was, understandably, that they would never be the same group again. The only good news was that three tracks intended for their next album, Duane’s last studio recordings with The Allman Brothers Band, were already in the can. Those songs, along with more live cuts culled from their legendary Fillmore East appearances taped earlier that year, were packaged with three newer songs recorded after his death and garnished with the subtitle “dedicated to a brother.” The album is very much a thoughtful gesture by the close-knit group to share their stunned and painful grief with those who were touched by Duane’s passionate guitar playing. The band didn’t go into hibernation nor did they try to act like nothing had happened. They did the classiest thing possible. They honored him through the music he helped to create. Their heartbroken fans were able to latch on to “Eat a Peach” and treasure it as a lasting, aural memorial to their fallen hero.

Opening the album with the trio of tunes done after the tragedy was a gallant way of respectfully showing they intended to push forward with their career. Duane would’ve had it no other way. Gregg Allman’s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” has an appropriately serious, sober atmosphere about it while maintaining the band’s signature sound. Dickey Betts must’ve paid strict attention to and learned well from Duane because his slide guitar work on the song isn’t all that inferior and he should be commended for it. Reflecting the group’s attitude, Gregg’s vocal is full of conviction and resolve as he sings “it’s up to you and me, brothers/to try and try again/now I ain’t wastin’ time no more/’cause time rolls by like a hurricane/blowin’ after a subway train/don’t forget the pourin’ rain…” As he did on “Idlewild South,” Dickey contributes another of the group’s jazzier instrumentals via his “Les Brers in A minor.” Its lengthy, ethereally floating fade-in fosters anticipation for something unexpected to happen. Barry Oakley’s energetic bass pattern sets the lively pace for the 2nd movement where Betts displays his knack for developing catchy melody lines. Allman’s Hammond B3 growls as it was designed to and then a feisty drum & percussion break from Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson clears the stage for Dickey’s hot guitar solo. For an in-studio performance this track has a lot of gusto and that may have been the result of them finally releasing pent-up emotions the best way they knew how.

It’s hard not to find something to like in Gregg’s tender “Melissa.” The laid-back, slightly melancholy feel they capture for this southern-style ballad is perfect and the maturity evident in the songwriting shows that Allman’s skill in that area was continuing to evolve. Betts’ incidental guitar licks spray little rays of sunshine on top of the lazy beat rolling underneath. But, as if to say “enough of this sensitive stuff already” they take us all back to June of ’71 and onto the Fillmore stage for their boisterous cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “One Way Out,” a rendition that’s still a classic rock radio staple to this day. I love how it features both aspects of Duane’s slide technique, the delicate and the devilish, and also the gutsy tone Dickey elicits from his axe and amp on his lead. In addition, Gregg turns in one of his best vocals ever. Their live version of McKinley Morganfield’s “Trouble No More” (from their debut LP) is a great example of how tight the original six were as a unit and how much they enjoyed performing together. Allman’s “Stand Back” is the first of the three tunes recorded while Duane was still with us and it is foot-stompin’ funky R&B that doesn’t quit kicking tail for a moment. Despite Butch’s absence from that particular Miami session Jai’s drumming sounds like two are going at it, Duane’s bottle-neck slide conjures up its usual magic and Barry’s rumbling bass interlude is invigorating. Dickey dips his toes into some folky, Americana-tinted waters on his classic “Blue Sky.” Duane’s perky guitar ride is similar to Jerry Garcia’s noodlings and Betts’ solo is smooth as a baby’s bottom. Duane’s playful “Little Martha” is a beatific acoustic guitar duet performed by him and Dickey. It’s nothing fancy but it has a wonderfully calming and comforting effect on the listener.

What better way to pay tribute to their fallen comrade than to present him in his element alongside his fellow musicians in front of their enraptured fans. “Mountain Jam,” culled from the same New York concert appearances that spawned the sensational “At Fillmore East” double album months earlier, showcases the band’s aptitude for the jazzy improvisation that Duane thrived on. Using the delightful air that dignified Donovan’s strange “First There is a Mountain” as a springboard the group embarks upon a nearly 34-minute, anything goes journey where every member contributes equally to the whole. After establishing a sturdy foundation Duane steps forward to dazzle the crowd with the first of many solos to come. Gregg goes next with a Hammond organ ride that proves he knows his way around the instrument and Betts follows with one of his patented ultra-melodic guitar leads. Individual expertise aside, what sticks out during this remarkable jam is their collectively inherent and often uncanny mastery over the impromptu instrumental’s dynamics. They are of one mind, it seems. Trucks and Johanson engage in a season of dueling drums and then Oakley moves into the spotlight where he doesn’t disappoint. After segueing deftly into a shuffling groove I get the sensation that this is where nobody in the group really knows where this thing will end up but therein lies the adventure. At one point they morph into another tune altogether but they never let the momentum drag for a nanosecond. When that detour runs its course they resurrect the original theme for a spell and then end it with a rowdy, extended finale that’s fittingly spectacular. Simply put, jazz/rock doesn’t get any better than this.

“Eat a Peach” is a great album for a myriad of reasons. In it The Allman Brothers Band honored their distinguished recent past with the dignity that the gifted virtuoso who brought them together deserved while assuring the public that the institution he founded wasn’t going to give up, implode and wander away. This two-record set was released in February of 1972 and it was immediately accepted without reservation by ABB fanatics across the planet. The loss of Duane and the soon-to-come premature demise of bassist Barry Oakley forced the group to change their direction to a more conservative path that took them away from the exciting jazz influences those two musicians generously poured into their music. We should all be thankful that they were with us long enough to be a big part of four terrific albums that helped to bring a healthy jazz mentality into the heart of rock & roll.

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