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Author: Subject: Duane Allman and Modernist Poetry

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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 09:12 AM
Okay, here's another morsel for Butchy if he bothers to read it:
"Shall I stroll upon the beach/Do I dare to eat a peach?"
...T.S. Eliot 1916

've been doing alot of D-O-P-E and acting really C-R-A-Z-Y and everytime I get back to Georgia, I eat a peach for peace."
...Duane Allman 1969?

Both artists use the metaphor of the peach in the same way.
It is a symbol (signifier) of sexual independence and liberation
--but not exclusively sexual. Eliot is lamenting the loss of this
jubilation in the 20th century. His character, Prufrock, is alienated
from society, measures out his days in cigarettes and coffee spoons.
Duane Allman is exactly the opposite--he is "sucking the marrow out of life"
--part of teh peach image certainly signifies experimentation, albeit sexual or otherwise.
What Duane is discussing is the rebirth of this freedom and liberation that the advent of
WWI fragmented in the early part of the century. People like Duane Allman put the pieces back together
in the late 1960s-early 1970s.
So now the question remains: Had Duane Allman read any T. S. Eliot. I think so.
I know Butch Trucks made a comment about this in an interview and I want him to reply to this and confirm
it for all the peachhead lovers of literature out there. Personally, I think it irrelevant whether Duane read Eliot's poem or not.
If he has, he shows genius in his ability to adapt the metaphor to something positive--to "eat the peach." Prufrock never does in the poem.
That's the whole point--that Prufrock can't even make up his mind to take the sexual risk involved in eating the fruit. I like Duane's usage better. If Duane had not read the poem, then I am very tempted to equate his genius with Eliot's in that the two artists came up with teh same extremely potent metaphor independently.
I'd be interested to read anyone's thoughts on this subject.


 
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Peach Master



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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 09:20 AM
Sorry to post a reply to my own topic, but I think that there's something to be made of the fact taht Prufrock's peach metaphor is a question, thereby, signifying his uncertainty about his world. Duane Allman's is a declarative statement and from what I know about that man, he was never uncertain about anything. God Bless Duane Allman.
 
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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 11:17 AM
Michael, you seem to be a man after my own heart. I did want to correct your quotes, though:

Eliot's Prufrock says:
"Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me."

Duane's famous quote, I think, is "Every time I play guitar, I hit a lick for peace. And every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace."
A little while earlier in response to the same question (something like "What are you doing for the revolution?"), he says something else that I think is brillant- "There ain't no revolution, only evolution." Maybe we'll delve into that some other time.
I remember a Rolling Stone piece where (I think) Butch suggested Duane might've gotten the idea for his quote from the poem. That's certainly a major reason that The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is my favorite poem. I actually read it to my dorm a little while before the anniversary of Duane's accident this year- I gave out about 50 peaches and explained my own take on the symbolism of the peach: that it was a metaphor for living life to the fullest. Prufrock, as you stated, increases in timidity as the poem goes along to the point where he even wonders if he dares to eat a peach. Duane dared. He always did that. So I used it as a symbol for living life to the fullest, starting with the apparently minor step of simply eating a peach.
I think the performance was a big success.
Duane dropped out of the 10th grade, but I've heard that he was a voracious reader and a very bright guy. (I guess we all know he liked the Lord of the Rings books. )
I'd really love to hear Butch's take on the issue. Thanks for asking this question, Michael, I wish I'd thought of it myself.
Peace. --Marley[Edited on 4/23/2002 by Marley]

 

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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 11:24 AM
Marley,

Remember the other day on the guest book when you and I, along with JoJo Dancer, were discussing the High Cost of Low Living? I told you that your post analyzing the lyrics reminded me of the way my friend Michael would analyze them? Well you just meet my friend Michael, Marley/Michael, Michael/Marley. Do you understand what I was talking about now? I figure y'all two should get along well. Michael, in related news this is my friend Pascal!

Take care,

Ryan

 

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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 11:40 AM
Nice to meet you Marley. I'm glad we got this thing going. Just for the record, Ryan Belair is my bestest Allman Brothers buddy of all time!!! I stand corrected on the Eliot quote, but I haven't looked at the poem in several years. I always loved it as an undergraduate though. I think the quote from Duane is correct, or at least it is faithful to the source in which I read it. I think the peach as symbol goes back much further than Eliot, but I am not the man to trace it. I would like to add that I think that eliot took the line, "I have heard the mermaids singing each to each" from John Donnes, "Teach me to hear mermaids singing." So, now that we have traced Duane back to the Renaissance, what now? Let's keep this thing going.
Michael Williams

 
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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 11:52 AM
Haha, let's see if Butch responds first. Though I know Eliot makes a number of allusions in the poem. Interestingly, Robert Hunter (the great songwriter for the Grateful Dead) seems to make references to "Love Song" in Stella Blue (Stella's "blue-light cheap hotel" vs. Eliot's "one-night cheap hotels") and Dark Star ("Shall we go, you and I, while we can?" vs. "Let us go then, you and I"). It's definitely a very enduring piece of work.

 

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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 12:50 PM
Yea,
I want to hear what Butch has to say as well. We've probably stretched the analogy as far as it will go. Since most of my posts are continuations of conversations I have with Ryan, here's another one. Have you ever read Hunter Thompson's _The GReat Shark Hunt_? Dr. Gonzo is a huge Allman Brothers fan. In this novel, or rather, collection of articles and essays, he explicates some of the lyrics to "Queen of Hearts." He also makes the statement that he equates Super Bowls with the Allman Brothers. He talks about sitting in his hotel room ,tripping balls, and listening to Mountain Jam. He makes great mention of the Gregg Allman _Laid Back_ album and tells this hilarious story about playing "Multicolored Lady" at top volume in a Houston hotel the night before the 1973 Super Bowl. I think the story goes that he was on the verge of a total psychotic freakout at about 6:00 AM and went out onto the balcony to shout Biblical verses at the people in the lobby. Hunter says that he doesn't know how well his voice carried, but he does know that the acoustics in that hotel were sufficient to carry the sound of "mulitcolored lady" 10 floors above him to the Penthouse Suite, because he was subsequently kicked out fo the hotel for loud music. I thoroughly recommend the book.

 
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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 02:02 PM
Interesting thread, considering Duane did most of his talking with the guitar.

T.S. Eliot's work was supposedly a big influence on none other than Bob Dylan. If one actually tries to break down his songs... there are immense numbers of analogies, references, & metaphors to his lyrics. His name even makes an appearance on Desolation Row, along with Betty Davis, the jealous monk, & etc. Sort of a Dylan-like Cantebury Tales.

And it's not just Eliot, but Dylan also uses NUMEROUS biblical references. And it's not always used to praise religion (although he has had his many phases). Really creative, & clever.

You know.... "God said to Abraham, kill me a son. Abe said "Man! You must be puttin' me on." WOW.

But back to Duane, what striked me in an interview(that was on one of them HTN issues)was that he used to read comic books. Them ol' Marvel characters & such, which apparently was also read by the likes of Jimi Hendrix. And "mermaids" do show up in a few Jim Hendrix songs..... although I'd imagined they would always have a guitar in their hands, it seems like they always saved time for a read as well.

Michael, actually read Thompson's Rum Diaries a while back. Almost dry heaved when the characters would eat plain burgers with warm rum. What a nut he is.

 
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  posted on 4/23/2002 at 04:04 PM
Plain burgers and warm rum sounds like mother's milk (kind of like Dickey Betts...this is for you Ryan). That novel was based on Thompson's real experiences in Puerto Rico. After he left there, he traveled to South America for about a year without knowing a word of Spanish. Damn right he's a nut. a few years ago, he was arrested for sexually harrassing a porn star at his Woody Creek, Colorado farm. The police searched the premises and found a ton of cocaine, LSD, and "incendiary devices" (dynamite). Hunter said he hadn't cleaned the house in 30 years and can't believe there weren't more drugs. He got the charges dropped and sued the arresting officers for $20 million.
Peace,
MW

 
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  posted on 4/24/2002 at 09:00 PM
"Should I, after tea and cakes and ices
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?"
That's another line from Prufrock that I think of when I listen to Duane play. The thing that I love about Duane is that he always forces the music to go further, to reach its "crisis" so to speak.
"Do I dare?"
I think Duane's answer would be a resounding yes.

 

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  posted on 5/6/2002 at 02:29 PM
No you haven't stretched the analogy (metaphor) far enough. In Eliot's poem Prufrock is afraid of life. He's scared and timid but also very anal. The Peach metaphor, along with the issues you've raised, also relates to the messiness involved in the processes. Eating a ripe peach and living a full life (especially the sexual aspects of it) involves getting a little (or a lot) of it on you. You've got to be willing to get "messy" if you're gonna do them with any feeling. Duane was about getting as "messy" as he could get. Ergo the "feelings" that he generated and continues to generate and what I think is the reason he would love the metaphor.

 

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  posted on 5/6/2002 at 06:50 PM
Just to clarify things a little, here is Duane's actual quote, in response to the question, "How are you helping the revolution?":

"I'm hitting a lick for peace, and every time I'm in Georgia I eat a peach for peace. But you can't help the revolution, because there's just evolution. I'm a player. And players don't give a damn for nothing but playing..."


This is from Duane's last interview, conducted on Aug. 1, 1971, in New York City with Creem magazine.

 

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  posted on 5/7/2002 at 06:26 AM
Michael, Duane says the first part of that quote you mentioned ("I've been doing a lot of D-O-P-E and acting C-R-A-Z-Y") during a radio interview in NYC, don't remember the date.
Only because I'm not big on T.S. Eliot & some of the other authors mentioned here, you kind of lose me with that "plain burger and warm rum sounds like mother's milk -- kind of like Dickey Betts" quote. Is that from The Great Shark Hunt?

 

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  posted on 5/7/2002 at 12:46 PM
No that was a private joke between me and Ryan Belair. I'm sure it doesn't make much sense out of context. _The Great Shark Hunt_ is mainly a collection of articles that Hunter S. Thompson wrote. He makes mention of the Allman Brothers several times in the book, all in connection with Super Bowls he covered. Hunter believes, like I do, that the Allman Brothers are an integral part of any pregame celebration. Here is the best quote from that book:
"But like Gregg Allman says: "I've wasted so much time...feelin' guilty..."
There is some kind of back-door connection in my head between Super Bowls and the Allman Brothers--a strange kind of theme-sound that haunts these goddamn stories no matter where I'm finally forced into a corner to write them. The Allman sound, and rain. [...] And now, almost exactly a year later, my main memory of Super Bowl VIII in Houston is rain and grey mist outside another hotel window, with the same stung-out sound of the Allman Brothers booming out of the same portable speakers that I had, last year, in Los Angeles."

He talks more about them in other places in the book. Its worth reading. I reccomend it.

 
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  posted on 5/9/2002 at 11:53 AM
Also,
I'd like to thank Butch for replying to this post. Your comments are much appreciated and extremely relevant. Please continue to drop us a few words of wisdom every now and again.

 
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