Music wise the Bank Holiday weekend has been dominated by the Duane Allman boxset Skydog that arrived in the post on Friday. There are only 10,000 copies and it is going for silly prices on Amazon. I was able to find it substantially cheaper on ebay. I put in a low bid and rather to my surprise three hours later it was mine. I got edition no. 21.
I first heard The Allman Brothers Band when my room mate, Neil, at Randolph Macon College played them on his cassette player. Randolph Macon is in Ashland, Virginia and I was there for five months to learn a little of the world before going to University proper back in England.
Neil must have been somewhat bemused to find himself sharing a room with someone from England and his strange musical taste. These were pre-Walkman days and I took over with me a bag of ten or so albums to keep me company. I was able to buy a cheap record player to play them on and even bought some more records whilst I was out there including Nuggets and a compilation of songs from Ralph Records home of The Residents. I have no clear memory of the records I took with me but I suspect they will have included The Doors and Echo & the Bunnymen. I have horrible suspicion that there might have also been some Dire Straits.
Neil liked The Allman Brothers and he played them to me on his cassette player and I can remember the sound of the organ and Duane Allman’s slide guitar. I think it must have At Fillmore East the double live album which is probably their best record. Back home the record was in the racks of Penny Lane Records in Chester but I never got round to buying it.
I eventually bought it on CD and it has been a pleasure ever since. There is a lot of long hair, mutton chops, wailing guitar solos and songs that go on for twenty minutes or so. That doesn’t really do it justice. It is especially good to listen to whilst cooking when a wooden spoon or sharp knife can be brought into use as a piece of air guitar.
Duane Allman didn’t just play with The Allman Brothers and I picked up second hand two double album anthologies that attempted to bring together some of the other things that he played on with Wilson Pickett, Delaney & Bonnie, Lulu, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis to name but a few.
There is some duplication between those two anthologies and the Skydog collection but there is a whole lot of other stuff on Skydog as well including some of the stuff he did with Eric Clapton as Derek & Dominoes and hefty doses of The Allman Brothers Band.
A large part of the enjoyment is the sheer variety of music on offer, a treasure trove of southern r’nb and soul and every so often an Allman Brothers workout some of which do go on for for twenty minutes or so and cutting through it all the tight visceral sound of Duane Allman’s slide guitar.
All perfect music for opening the back doors kicking back in the sun and opening a cold bottle of beer.