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Author: Subject: The Evolution of "Ain't Wasting Time No More"

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 12:46 PM
"Ain't Wasting Time No More" has long been one of my favorite songs by the Allmans. Just as "Don't Want You No More" and "Statesboro Blues" kicked off their respective albums with a strong statement of purpose, "Time" kicks off Eat A Peach (my favorite album from anyone) just so. However, after the loss of Duane just months earlier, never had the Allmans' statement been so directly personal. It's a fiery song, with a piano riff that lulls you in, much like Joe Cocker's reworking of Dave Mason's "Feeling Alright", until Dickey's slide cuts in like a knife and the rhythm section lights a fiery strut that propels the band and never lets up, except to take an occasional breath for Gregg's pensive lyrics. It's a passionate cut, and while the band has reworked their own songs to suit the lineup or to refresh things, "Ain't Wasting Time No More" changes have been more subtle.

The 5-man band played the song pretty straight forward, the only noticeable divergence from the studio cut being Gregg's switch from acoustic to electric piano. It works beautifully for the song, and the Mar-y-Sol version is one of my favorites.

When Chuck joined the band the groove seemed to change a bit. Chuck took over piano duties and the version that appears on Wipe the Windows from late 1972 takes on a dreamier quality. Chuck's entrance is a bit subdued, if not downright sheepish. Dickey's slide doesn't cut in to the song as much as sneak in. The rhythm section no longer propels the song as it did before, it's merely keeping things moving. All of this could be due to many factors: new band members and styles that hadn't fully gelled, signs of the looming disinterest of core band members, or a conscious decision to make it a more atmospheric piece. Either way, it is in stark contrast to previous performances from earlier that year.

The song was shelved for some 20 years and was thankfully resurrected to the delight of many in 1995. It sounded great. Warren's slide had the fire that Dickey infused the song with on the studio cut, but the song still contained that dreamy, atmospheric quality that was largely absent from the fiery studio cut. It's still a mighty powerful song, but in a much different way, highlighted by a great new harmonized melody Dickey and Warren play towards the close of the song, ending with a straight lead from Dickey for the first time.

The band would continue to play the song the same way, more or less, with Jack. However, while the arrangement would be largely the same with Derek & Dickey, Derek would reshape the signature opening slide lick. Instead of cutting into the song, Derek falls into place, drifting into the background as Gregg begins to growl away. Fans familiar with the studio cut might think Derek missed his cue, but it's another example of the song evolving from one that cuts deep right off the bat, to a more atmospheric piece with more dramatic peaks and valleys of intensity.

It has changed little since then, except the band has scrapped the pleasant guitar melody that closed the song, in favor of a standard slide solo from Warren. Personally I kind of miss that melody from the finale, it was a nice, memorable peak for the song and with out it Warren's slide solo just seems a little redundant after Derek's - it doesn't reach the same high Derek's solo does in the middle of the song. I still love hearing this song every time they play it, but after really enjoying that version it feels like a step backwards, evolutionarily speaking of course.

While on the surface, it seems like "Ain't Wasting Time No More" has changed little compared to songs such as "Wasted Words," "You Don't Love Me," "Come & Go Blues," or "Blue Sky," which have seen drastic re-arrangement or key changes over the years, but it's definitely evolved since it debuted on Eat A Peach without having been reworked from the ground up. To the band's credit, it's not a drastic improvement or detriment to the song - I think it's the one song I listen to from each era in equal proportion. Each incarnation of the song is still as strong as any. Perhaps "evolution" is the wrong term, as that implies progress; let's call it a "transition." Can't wait to hear what they do with it the next time.

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:08 PM
Thanks, that was cool!

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:14 PM
Thanks porkchopbob - really great analysis - very thoughtful. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's slightly obsessed with the Allmans past and present!

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:20 PM
I thought you might mention something about the anti terrorist lyrics now compared to the anti war lyrics of the original.

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:22 PM
that's great stuff porkchopbob and thanks- that's always been my favorite ABB tune. At what point and why did the lyrics change from "war freaks" to "terrorists"? I'm assuming it was changed in '95, when as you mentioned, they ressurected it- more curious as to why the change.

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:24 PM
quote:
that's great stuff porkchopbob and thanks- that's always been my favorite ABB tune. At what point and why did the lyrics change from "war freaks" to "terrorists"? I'm assuming it was changed in '95, when as you mentioned, they ressurected it- more curious as to why the change.


More politically correct for one thing

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:26 PM
That was cool , thanks .
My wife had never really listened to much ABB , when we went to the Beacon for our first run it was " Ain't Wastin' Time No More " and " Revival " that she really loved and still does , this year will be our 5th , can't wait '

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:27 PM
Nice post.

No matter how many times I've played Eat A Peach, hearing those first few notes of Ain't Wastin' Time No More always transports me to that magical place this music reveals for us. I invariably turn it up a little bit, and things just seem right again on the planet, at least for a little while.

Some of y'all hear the music more deeply than I do, and I haven't paid much attention to the evolution you speak of. But I can't think of a better way to educate myself than to listen to some ABB. Thanks for the heads-up.



[Edited on 2/14/2008 by SantaCruzBluz]

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 01:38 PM
Hey! I love these threads about specific songs, albums or musical moments, THANKS!!!

One thing I want to point out that STILL moves me every time about this song, is Gregg's vocal. It is so emotional. On the line "to raise our children", he sings so hard that he distorts the vocal track. I love these little imperfections in music and that one just gives me the chills every time...

Some other favorite versions of mine...

August 28, 2004. Gregg's spot on and Derek is amazing
June 20, 2000.

And there are tons other. But this again is a song that I almost always prefer the studio version. Not to say anything bad about the live versions, again the jams are better live, but the emotion in the studio version is something very unique...

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 02:01 PM
Just wanted to pop in and say that if you haven't heard the Jazz Fest version of Ain't Wastin' Time, you're missing out on some of Derek's best work.

I remember being at this show, and Derek's solo absolutely sucked in that huge crowd. You could have heard a pin drop by the time he was finished, and you could see the people who weren't familiar with Derek doing the old "Who is THAT?" routine

A great song, and since Derek joined the band in 1999, one of his best moments to shine.

 
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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 02:14 PM
Hard to top the original with Dickey. The 5-man band had more emotion than any band I have ever heard before or since.
I always wondered what Duane would have done with that great song.
spdb

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 03:55 PM
Nice summary. Like you, I miss that little harmony thing that began with Dickey/Warren. I also miss that Bougainvillea outro that used to get tacked on to Melissa. Days gone by....

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 03:57 PM
One of the tunes that make it worth the flight across the Atlantic for ths Beacon shows!!

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 04:15 PM
quote:
that's great stuff porkchopbob and thanks- that's always been my favorite ABB tune. At what point and why did the lyrics change from "war freaks" to "terrorists"? I'm assuming it was changed in '95, when as you mentioned, they ressurected it- more curious as to why the change.

I always assumed it was a reference to the Oklahoma City bombing. The bombing was on April 19, 1995, and the band brought the song back two days later. That was the first show of a spring tour, so they may have been rehearsing it before, but who knows.

It would've been better if this song was never written, I guess, but it's one of Gregg's most powerful songs.

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 04:56 PM
One thing I'd like to add concerning the Wipe the Windows version of Aint Wastin Time No More...

I agree that Dickeys slide is more "dreamy"...rather than "biting"...during the body of the song.

But his long slide solo at the end makes up for his lighter sound during the song. The 1st time I heard it it I was blown away. Kinda like "where did THAT come from?" He starts dreamy, but then it gets a little more agressive, then more...then more...then MORE. You can hear Lamar and the drummers kicking it up a notch or 2 as well.

And then finally, after peaking, he brings it way back down and gets very mellow during the last few moments of the solo.

At the time I felt that his ending solo on that version of AWTNM was the most "Duane'ish" that he had ever sounded on slide.

"D"

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 05:40 PM
Nice analysis by Porkchop and I think he explained the live evolution of the song pretty well. On the surface the song may seem pretty much the same as it's always been, but there are some obvious alterations in the framework that have slightly varied over they years depending on the cast of players. The evolution and growth of the song I believe has been a positive one. As a band, especially one as talented as The ABB, If you not moving forward and progressing, you are simply standing still. The band learned the hard way in 1999 and especaially 2000, that standing still results in stagnancy. Slightly new arrangements of old songs are subtle ways to keep that evolution moving in a positive light...

I will say that AWTNM has always been in my top 10 favorite ABB tunes and it is one that I never seem to tire of hearing live. I consider it one of their signature songs for many reasons. It is also one of the few ABB tunes - and easily the most famous one - that starts with a Gregg piano riff. Kind of a cool curve thrown by Gregg in a band that always been dominated by guitar riffs . It is also most definitely one of The ABB's most emotional songs - musically, lyrically and vocally. It really touches us in all the right places and gives us those goose bumps that only certain songs do. Gregg's vocals have seem to have gotten stronger on this song and it matches his vocal range beautifully - even now 35 years after it was written. Gregg's voice is a gift and he always seems to shine on AWTNM...

That guitar harmony part that a few have alluded to starting in 1995 was actually influenced by the Cream song "I Feel Free". Not sure if it was design, but I am almost certain that is what eventually developed by that harmony. In fact I think it was taked about here a few years back. Take a listen and you draw your own conclusions. "I Feel Free" is one of those songs that can be teased easily when Jamming in the Mixolydian Mode of the Major scale - which is the scale AWTNM is based in. Usually that harmony was only played for 20 seconds or so, so it's absence the past few years is not really a big deal to me. It wasn't there in the beginning anyway so I don't really miss it...

I really LOVE the current bands take on the song and Derek's dripping slide solo is always mindblowing. I like how he lets the under current of the band build beneath him until he simply (((explodes))) like only Derek can, draining every note and taking the audience along for a nice ride in the process. I think the current band excels in the atmospheric stuff and this song turns into a reall masterpiece time and time again. I also think the current lineup has a real passion about them that is so vital to the interpretations of The ABB's early catalog. They never lose sight of where the band came from, while clearly keeping an eye on where they are going and how they are evolving.

Great song, Great band, Great fans...and a cool thread that deserves discussion.





[Edited on 2/14/2008 by EddieP]

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 05:47 PM
quote:


"Ain't Wasting Time No More" has long been one of my favorite songs by the Allmans. The 5-man band played the song pretty straight forward, the only noticeable divergence from the studio cut being Gregg's switch from acoustic to electric piano. It works beautifully for the song, and the Mar-y-Sol version is one of my favorites.




Agreed, the version on Mar y Sol is lights out!
Where is the rest of this show?

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 06:01 PM
PC Bob.

that was terrific.

it is a great great song.


thx.

 

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  posted on 2/14/2008 at 10:41 PM
quote:
It is also one of the few ABB tunes - and easily the most famous one - that starts with a Gregg piano riff. Kind of a cool curve thrown by Gregg in a band that always been dominated by guitar riffs


Very true, "Stand Back" and "Leave My Blues At Home" are two tunes that come to mind. They are also two songs that sound relatively the same as their studio counterparts, but have had a subtle overhaul for their resurrection. The current lineup has abandoned both keyboard riffs. I imagine they switched a lot of Gregg's keyboard parts to guitar so they didn't have to compete with Gregg. Sounds like another thread to me...

 

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  posted on 2/15/2008 at 01:33 AM
Nice thread porkchopbob. To me these days, the song is all about Derek's solo. Obviously Greggs vocals also, but it's about Derek's melodic, daring solos, that brings me back for more. After he plays the signature riff to kick off the solo, it becomes unchartered territory and what sets Derek apart from anyone else. Sometimes it seems he'll hit a note totally out of the blue, just to see where it may lead. That's the beauty of his style. When I'm at a show, I get a kick out of Gregg watching Derek take his solo. He watches so intently, knowing he's hearing a true musicians, musician. Something you see in jazz often, not so much in rock & roll.
 

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  posted on 2/15/2008 at 02:55 AM

What wonderful analyses of this poignant song! Time and again I am amazed by the musical insight of the fans on this Web sight ...

 

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  posted on 3/11/2008 at 05:23 AM
quote:
Just wanted to pop in and say that if you haven't heard the Jazz Fest version of Ain't Wastin' Time, you're missing out on some of Derek's best work.

I remember being at this show, and Derek's solo absolutely sucked in that huge crowd. You could have heard a pin drop by the time he was finished, and you could see the people who weren't familiar with Derek doing the old "Who is THAT?" routine

A great song, and since Derek joined the band in 1999, one of his best moments to shine.


Forgive me for resurrectring an old thread but I wanted to thank Rob for his suggestion on the Jazz Fest version- I purchased it from HTN and must say, along with the entire show being spectacular, it is now my favorite AWTNM. Thanks for the info Rob!!!!!

 

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  posted on 3/11/2008 at 08:14 AM
quote:
quote:


"Ain't Wasting Time No More" has long been one of my favorite songs by the Allmans. The 5-man band played the song pretty straight forward, the only noticeable divergence from the studio cut being Gregg's switch from acoustic to electric piano. It works beautifully for the song, and the Mar-y-Sol version is one of my favorites.




Agreed, the version on Mar y Sol is lights out!
Where is the rest of this show?


Who remembers MysticDancer?

One of the great frauds on this site

http://allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&fi le=viewthread&tid=6192#pid69566

For some reason I can't make this link work. But go to the trades forum and check threads from 4/8/2003

 

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  posted on 3/11/2008 at 08:46 AM
An "AWTNM" story:
Fox run, 1998 (9/5/98 I think...Sat.). Fourteen folks in our contingent, we met up at the apartment of Scottie Arbrey, now married to the guy that runs the Southern Reunion at Mike & Angelo's.

So we take the house limo from her place on Peachtree to the Fox. Great show, so much singing along it was hard to hear Gregg. People still applauding as they spilled out onto the street. We couldn't all fit into one taxi, eight of us (plus driver) grab one, head back. AWTNM comes on the radio, big singalong in the taxi. We stop at a light, folks in the car next to us join in. Then the cars behind. Then the people crossing the street, and those walking down the street. A favorite ABB memory. I think the driver retired the next day.

 
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  posted on 3/11/2008 at 11:30 AM
It's the greatest song GA has written, IMHO. Maybe not the most well known or popular.

 

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