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Author: Subject: First solo album in 14 years neglects singer's talents

Extreme Peach





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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 11:12 AM
Gregg Allman 'Low Country Blues' review:
First solo album in 14 years neglects singer's talents

Jim Farber Sunday, January 16th 2011 N.Y. Daily News



A wide river divides the tastes, styles and races of the two top tiers of classic bluesmen. On one side stand the African-Americans who pioneered the form in the '20s through the '50s. On the other roams the (mostly) Caucasian rockers who advanced the blues into psychedelia in the '60s.

The progressives worship the pioneers, but the latter hold varying attitudes toward the former, from fascination to flat-out resentment.

Given his age and background, it's no surprise Gregg Allman treats the blues by artists from Skip James to Muddy Waters as mother's milk. Like all classic rockers, he owes a debt to them he knows he can never fully repay. It's logical, then, that Allman would choose to devote nearly every track on his first solo album in 14 years, "Low Country Blues," to covering their classics.

For him, it's not just about paying respect but also about claiming an ever-deepening connection to music he has loved for nearly half a century.

That's fair to history. But Allman's album begs a deeper question: Is that approach entirely fair to his own talents?

The truth is, the awe classic rockers hold for earlier blues distracts from the genius they alone brought to the form. Stars like Allman, or Eric Clapton for that matter, opened up the blues to a whole world of sound, drawing from jazz-inspired improvisation, hard rock flourish, and pop polish.

It would have been nice to hear more of those elements on "Low Country."

To be sure, whiffs of it peek through. There's a rock inflection to some of Doyle Bramhall II's guitar parts. And the sole original piece, "Just Another Rider," has an Allman Brothers-style, prog-blues sense of the abstract. Tellingly, "Rider" represents the album's peak.

The rest of "Low Country" hardly rates as just a misguided genuflection to the past, or a complete subjugation to other artists' styles. There's no denying the grit and individuality a 63-year-old Allman can bring to a song like Sleepy John Estes' "Floating Bridge." He inhabits its elliptical story of depression and (possible) redemption with utter authority. In Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied," Allman's voice has edge and danger. In "Little by Little," his B-3 organ surges with feeling.

Likewise, T-Bone Burnett's production feels direct and raw. And the arrangements present a wide view of the blues, from the flinty acoustic "Devil Got My Woman" to the brassy sass of "Blind Man." Given all that, "Low Country" definitely rates as a worthy effort.

But it's hardly the idealization of Allman's talents he may believe it to be. That would come only if he continued to mine the blue-hued style that's truly his own.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/2011/01/16/2011-01-16_gregg_ allman_low_country_blues_review_first_solo_album_in_14_years_neglects_sing. html

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 11:26 AM
quote:
The truth is, the awe classic rockers hold for earlier blues distracts from the genius they alone brought to the form. Stars like Allman, or Eric Clapton for that matter, opened up the blues to a whole world of sound, drawing from jazz-inspired improvisation, hard rock flourish, and pop polish.

It would have been nice to hear more of those elements on "Low Country."

If that's what the writer wants there are plenty of ABB albums out there that will fit the bill. It sounds like Mr. Farber would be happier with more of the same. Personally, I'm enjoying the change.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 12:04 PM
his vocals seem really really strong. Blind Man. Devil got my Woman.

I prefer the tunes sans horns.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 12:09 PM
Devil Got My Woman is absolutely haunting.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 12:14 PM
quote:
his vocals seem really really strong. Blind Man. Devil got my Woman.

I prefer the tunes sans horns.

I agree.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 12:51 PM
I stopped reading Farber's critiques a long time ago because he always seems to find fault with every recording/performance he reviews and dwell on those negatives. I would have to say, reading between the lines, he is telling us this is an outstanding album.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 01:14 PM
quote:
I stopped reading Farber's critiques a long time ago because he always seems to find fault with every recording/performance he reviews and dwell on those negatives. I would have to say, reading between the lines, he is telling us this is an outstanding album.


Not received my copy from HTN yet but have streamed the CD from RollingStone.com for the last few days and I am in absolute awe of what Gregg has achieved on this recording.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 02:03 PM
".....hardly rates as just a misguided genuflection to the past, or a complete subjugation to other artists' styles."

Pfff....i guess the writer is good at scrable!

Gregg and the producer opted for this particular theme/style for this release. What's wrong with paying tribute to the blues in staying close to the originals for once instead
of proving once more that he and the ABB excel in improvisational skills and adding jazz / (hard)rock / soul / gospel / pop textures to the mix? If Gregg would have once more opted for the latter the critic would have complained about lack of authencity or sounding too much like a regular ABB release.

Sounds like a critic who will always finds something to bitch about, one way or the other.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 02:06 PM
quote:
quote:
The truth is, the awe classic rockers hold for earlier blues distracts from the genius they alone brought to the form. Stars like Allman, or Eric Clapton for that matter, opened up the blues to a whole world of sound, drawing from jazz-inspired improvisation, hard rock flourish, and pop polish.

It would have been nice to hear more of those elements on "Low Country."

If that's what the writer wants there are plenty of ABB albums out there that will fit the bill. It sounds like Mr. Farber would be happier with more of the same. Personally, I'm enjoying the change.

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That was my exact thought upon reading the review. Plus, it is funny that when he actually reviews some songs he is pretty positive.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 02:13 PM
I like the stand up bass and the sparse feel. Kind of T Bone Burnett's stamp if you will. I think Gregg could have done it any way he wanted, and he liked this style.
Gregg could sing disco and I'd still like it!

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 03:59 PM
The reviewer's response suggests to me that he went into the listening experience with skewed expectations.

Expectations can really affect the way you hear things.

I knew this would be a T-Bone Burnett-produced album of mostly covers, and it is very good as such. Gregg sounds wonderful, the band is tasty, etc. If I had gone into it expecting something more radical such as how Cream or Jeff Beck treated the blues, then this disc may have underwhelmed me. If I expected it to be the next ABB album, I may have been underwhelmed.

If this guy is thinking that it has been so long since Gregg or the ABB have released a studio record that it is a shame that this is not a more forward-thinking record, I can understand that. We all want the ABB to put out something that showcases their unique and amazing sound.

However, we should listen to the album for what it is, what Gregg aimed for, not for what we may have wanted it to be.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2011 at 08:58 PM
I think the reviewer just doesn't know his Allman history. Gregg's solo albums have never been ABB CD's without the ABB. They have always been different kinds of music with a more laid-back feel. Laid Back, Playin' Up a Storm, Searching for Simplicity and the others are GREGG albums, not ABB albums.

I wouldn't expect a Gregg Allman album to sound like an ABB album---only the ABB can do that. The great thing about this is that the listener can see the difference that the influences of the other ABB members bring to create the ABB sound. Gregg's solo stuff is all Gregg. Why wouldn't it sound different?

The reviewer needs to do his homework.

BD

 

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  posted on 1/19/2011 at 11:42 PM
Got a nice write-up in the LA Times this morning....
 
 


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