Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
Today marks the 74th birth anniversary of one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up that instrument, Duane Allman. Born on November 20, 1946 in Nashville, TN to a United States Army lieutenant & his wife, Duane founded the band that would bear his family’s name when he was 22. According to his website it was his younger brother, Gregg, who taught Duane to play the guitar. Gregg received one as a Christmas gift the same year Duane got a motorbike. He learned to ride, Gregg started to play after learning the basic chords from a neighbor. After Duane totaled his bike, he became interested in what Gregg was doing. Duane learned as well then sold the wrecked bike to buy his own guitar around the age of 14. The brothers decided to pursue a career in music after seeing B.B. King in concert when they were teenagers. In 1957 the family was living in Florida and by 1961 the brothers were playing together at local dances in the Daytona Beach area.
After a brief stint in a band “Hour Glass” in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Duane returned to Florida. It was around this time he met drummer Butch Trucks and fellow guitarist Dickey Betts to form the hub of what would become The Allman Brothers Band, once Duane called Gregg back to Florida as well to join the group. Their self titled debut album was released in 1969. That year Duane also did sesion work for Aretha Franklin (on her cover of The Band’s “The Weight“), King Curtis (on his cover of “Games People Play“) and Wilson Pickett (on his cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude“). It was that record that first introduced Eric Clapton to Duane’s work and eventually the two met backstage at an ABB concert in Miami during the summer of 1970. It lead to his best known collaboration, with Clapton’s band, Derek & The Dominos, while they were recording their masterpiece, “Layla &Other Assorted Love Songs”. Duane appears on 11 of the album’s 14 tracks and he & Clapton bonded for life. In his 2007 autobiography, he referred to Duane as “the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did”.
Six years ago his daughter Galadrielle Allman (who was 2 when she lost her father), wrote a book about him based on countless interviews she conducted from family, fiends, bandmates and other musicians who worked with the guitar icon entitled “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman”. It’s not that I am not interested in his life because I am. But a part of me already knows all I need to: that his playing was fierce ferocious and forever, that his band was one of the greatest to ever take a stage & together they made some of the most incredible music of any generation.
“My friends tell me, that I’ve been such a fool.
But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin’ you.
Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you’ve done.
But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same,
And I can’t run”.
Top: Duane Allman in the studio circa 1968, Bottom (L-R): Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman with her uncle, Gregg Allman at her book signing in NYC, March 2014. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)
The Allman Brothers: “Whipping Post” (1969, written by Gregg Allman).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.