Σάββατο, 20 Οκτωβρίου 2007

Gregg Allman - Laid Back 1973

Recorded in the same year as the Brothers and Sisters album, this solo debut release is a beautiful amalgam of R&B, folk, and gospel sounds, with the best singing on any of Gregg Allman's solo releases. He covers his own "Midnight Rider" in a more mournful, dirge-like manner, and Jackson Browne's "These Days" gets its most touching and tragic-sounding rendition as well. Although Chuck Leavell and Jaimoe are here, there's very little that sounds like the Allman Brothers Band — prominent guitars, apart from a few licks by Tommy Talton (Cowboy, ex-We the People), are overlooked in favor of gospel-tinged organ and choruses behind Allman's soulful singing.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Gregg Allman; except where indicated

"Midnight Rider" (Allman, Robert Kim Payne) – 4:28
"Queen of Hearts" – 6:17
"Please Call Home" – 2:48
"Don't Mess Up a Good Thing" (Oliver Sain) – 4:13
"These Days" (Jackson Browne) – 3:56
"Multi-Colored Lady" – 4:55
"All My Friends" (Scott Boyer) – 4:32
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken" (Traditional; arranged by Allman & Johnny Sandlin) – 4:49


Gregg Allman – vocals, organ, acoustic guitar
Bill Stewart – drums
Chuck Leavell – acoustic and electric pianos, vibes
Tommy Talton – acoustic, electric and slide guitars, dobro and tambourine
Scott Boyer – acoustic, electric and steel guitars, electric piano

David Brown – bass
Buzz Feiten – guitar
Charlie Hayward – bass
Paul Hornsby – organ, keyboards, clavinet
Jai Johanny Johanson – percussion, conga
Carl Hall – background vocals
Hilda Harris – background vocals
Cissy Houston – background vocals
Emily Houston – background vocals
June McGruder – background vocals
Helene Miles – background vocals
Linda November – background vocals
Eileen Gilbert – background vocals
Maretha Stewart – background vocals
Albertine Robinson – background vocals
Jim Nalls – guitar
David "Fathead" Newman – saxophone
Johnny Sandlin – bass
Butch Trucks – percussion, cabasa
Ed Freeman – strings
Max Cahn – violin
Tony Posk – violin

Laid Back

Gregg Allman
Capricorn 0116
Released: October 1973

Chart Peak: #13
Weeks Charted: 39
Certified Gold: 3/5/74

This album has been in the works for some time and was almost completed when work began on Brothers And Sisters. Several sessions with noted musicians weren't used, but it was through his keyboard work on these tracks that Chuck Leavell was asked to join the Brothers Band. The operative word is production -- lots of horns and strings (46 pieces on one cut, and a 14-voice chorus). Gregg seems content to concentrate on vocals; organ is heard on only a few cuts and mostly as fill, rather than lead instrument.

There are two remakes of Brothers tunes, both originally from the Idlewild South album. "Midnight Rider" gets a more classic, almost ghostlike gothic treatment. The opening repetitive guitar figure is joined by piano and dobro which weave in and out, drone-like.

Gregg's vocal has just the right desperado touch, although you might miss the original harmonies at first. The strings and horns that swoop in and out add a final and pervasive depth the first version doesn't have. On "Please Call Home," the arrangement is substantially the same, with a chorus added, but Gregg's vocal is a good deal less raspy and more effective here.

Scott Boyer's "All My Friends" (a slow, C&W-tinged ballad which opens uncannily like "Wild Horses" but soon moves into a thick string forest), and Jackson Browne's "These Days" are the album's two contemporary songs. Gregg and Jackson aren't strangers. One of Browne's songs was used on the first Hourglass album (Gregg recorded the song before Jackson did) and on Jackson's LP the credit line reads, "Arrangement inspired by Gregg Allman."

Gregg does full justice to the quietly hurting lyrics, double-tracking the vocal over a sad steel guitar. Gregg adds the weight of his own special shades of sorrow; someone described his vocal quality as "resigned." Add eternally aching, and you've got it. Gregg chooses to close his version, "Please don't confront me with my failures/I'm aware of them," giving the lines an emphasis that shifts the focus some from Jackson's vision. It's a fine performance that makes the song a moving personal statement.
The only real up song is the late Fifties, Fontella Bass-Bobby McClure "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing." There's a nice smooth sax break by David Newman, and good piano work by Leavell; the female chorus trades lines with Gregg, and the cut jumps.

There are two newer songs by Gregg as well. "Queen Of Hearts" is a reflective love song with a feeling for autumn sundowns. It's the only track where guitar plays a leading role, and the flowering sax ride on the break by Newman expands the whole song into an easy rocking jazz groove. "Multi Colored Lady" seems to be many listeners' favorite with the narrative painting a picture of a crying lady on a late night bus ride. A really nice, spacy and evocative cut, and the only one where love doesn't hurt. Yet.

The album closes with the traditional "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," given full gospel honors. The melody line is one that kept showing up in the long jams when Duane was playing with the Brothers, and this version holds him strongly in mind. Though there's a strong piano drive, it has a quiet dignity and stateliness missing in most of the more raucous recent versions. Over a solid vocal chorus, Gregg really tries to close the circle.

Laid Back isn't quite what you'd expect from Gregg's work with the Brothers Band. Instead, it's a moody LP, often tinged with grandeur, and maybe just a little too rich and one-colored in spots. But on the whole, a moving look at another side of a finely charismatic singer/writer.
- Tony Glover, Rolling Stone, 1-3-74.

Bonus Reviews!
A masterpiece of a set from an underrated member of one of the nation's top bands, featuring exceptional displays of vocal and instrumental talent in many musical areas. A reworked, haunting version of Gregg's by now almost standard "Midnight Rider" is better than the original, while the beautiful Jackson Browne cut, "These Days," gets as fine an interpretation as has ever been rendered, with AlIman's voice showing striking sensitivity. The topper is "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" with its beautiful gospel feel, fine vocals, near-perfect backup vocals, and building instrumentals. One of the few LP's able to rival the AlIman's own Brothers and Sisters.

- Billboard, 1973.

Gregg still doesn't know the difference between drawling slowly and singing soulfully, and it isn't tragedy that makes him sound so doleful, it's a limited formal imagination. That said, it must be admitted that he puts a lot into "These Days" and "Midnight Rider," and that the reason you can listen to such originals as "Please Call Home" and "Multicolored Lady" isn't the writing. B

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

Wracked by tragedy and treachery, the Allman Brothers Band disintegrated in the early Seventies. This was Gregg's first recording following that break-up. It's an excellent southern blues/rock album, which rightfully focuses on Allman's laid-back but affecting vocals. While the overall quality of the material is pretty good, the standouts, "Midnight Rider," Jackson Browne's "These Days," and "Multi-Colored Lady," are exceptional. The CD's sound is very clean, with nice vocal definition and placement, and is a clear improvement over the LP. B

- Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.

His debut solo album showcases Allman's soulful, earthy keyboard work and leathery drawl to good effect. "These Days" and the reworked Allman Brothers Band standard "Midnight Rider" are exceptional. * * * *
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.


Once I was glad,

Always happy never sad,
And every day
Seemed like Sunday
And although things were slow
Never seemed to have no dough
Somehow, I never once got lonely

Gregg Allman '' Queen Of Hearts ''
from the album,
Gregg Allman - Laid Back 1973


Boston 1974 
Recorded live at the Boston Music Hall in Boston, Massachussetts. April 8, 1974


Gregg Allman - Lead Vocals, Organ
Johnny Lee Johnson (Jaimoe) - Drums, Congas, Percussion
Chuck Leavell - Piano and Electric Piano
Randall Bramblett - Soprano, Alto & C-Melody Sax, Organ
Tommy Talton - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals (Cowboy)
Scott Boyer - Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals (Cowboy)
Bill Stewart - Drums (Cowboy)
and others

SetList :

1. Queen Of Hearts @ 0:41
2. I Feel So Bad @ 8:43
3. These days @ 14;00
4. Multicolored Lady @ 18:47
5. Double Cross @ 23:44
6. Please Call Home @ 27:35
7. Midnight Rider @ 32:04
8. Stand Back @36:46
9. Dreams @ 40:22
10. Laid Back @ 49:37
11. Are You Lonely for Me? @ 54:46

here's the double live boot CD

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