Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Album: Greg Allman Tour

Picked at random from my vinyl collection.

Gregg Allman with a 24 piece orchestra, 3 voice chorus, wind section, &c.

An extremely ambitious effort from 1974. A CD digital release exists but is out of print. Amazon reviewers liked "Queen of Hearts" which I found saappy and over the top. I really appreciate Chuck Leavell's piano on this disk. Love the use of near-silence just before the turnaround in the blues number Feel So Bad, which is a kind of hallmark of the Allman/Southern rock thread. Tommy Talton's guitar riffs are a clone of Duane Allman's (deceased 1971 at age 25), that certain tangy squeak: ta-da-dada-SQUEAK-da.

There's a kind of blues-brothers-ensemble feel that keeps coming and going behind what would normally be a cowboy-fringe five-piece sound, but for me it works. One Amazon reviewer says this was the birth of jazz-rock fusion, but I don't buy that. It's not really an important recording because nobody really went in this direction later, but it's probably the rockinest orchestra ever and definitely worthy of note on that score. If anyone ever wants to do large ensemble rock and roll again, this ought to be primary source material.

My copy is a bit scratchy (and was a cutout to begin with) but still quite listenable. I'm moving this one to the front burner and will consider picking up a used CD if I get the chance.

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