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Published: 2013/03/11
by Brian Robbins

Duane Allman’s Daughter Galadrielle and the Skydog Box Set

Photo by John Gellman

INTERLUDE: DISC TWO 1968 – 1969

The second disc of Skydog is brimming full of classic Duane Allman performances from his period as a session man in Muscle Shoals, AL. It’s not just Duane’s playing that’s so captivating – it’s the range of his playing and all the different styles he easily melds with. These handpicked FAME Studio sessions are as much studies in Duane’s ear and attitude as they are his abilities.

BR: Again, it’s easy to lose track of how old Duane was back then. He was an in-demand session man at the age of what – 22? Forget the talent: how many people have the sort of maturity required to exist in an ever-changing situation like that?

GA: It’s true. And these things were usually cut in one or two run-throughs … with people he’d just met that day. Boz Scaggs told me that the session they did [when the classic “Loan Me A Dime” was recorded] was the first time they’d met – about an hour before they started to play! Which is incredible, because the music sounds so personal and developed.

Duane had the gift of being able to just walk into the room, shake hands with everybody, set up, and then let it rip! (laughter)

It’s humbling to me … I just don’t know where that comes from, that kind of confidence.

I think Duane was the greatest horn man that ever played a guitar.

(laughs) That’s a great way to put it. Much of his inspiration came from jazz horn players, for sure. And I think Jaimoe was the one who brought that music out of him.

When my father was playing at FAME, Jaimoe came down to check him out and see what all the buzz was about. They started jamming in whatever room wasn’t being used at the studio. Berry was there, also – they became a trio … a tiny seed of what became The Allman Brothers Band.

This has nothing to do with the music, except I believe it was a photo taken at FAME. On page 43 of the Skydog booklet, there’s this great shot of your dad – it’s black and white, but I’m guessing that’s a pretty wild-colored print on his shirt, which might have clashed with the pattern on his guitar strap … (laughter) … and a big ol’ honkin’ neckerchief and a pair of massive studio headphones clamped to his head. It’s the expression on his face that I love: his eyes are squeezed shut and his mouth is wide open as he digs into a note – a look of sheer bliss.

(laughs) I’ve actually had it for quite a while and you’re right: it is a great picture. Stephen Paley took that – a lot of the photos in the book are by him. He really did capture some incredible moments. I bet [Allman Brother archivist] E.J. Devokaitis knows what session that was and who he was playing with that day – just by tracking his clothes.

Really?

Oh, I bet. (laughter)

INTERLUDE: DISC THREE 1968 – 1969

Disc Three of Skydog documents Duane’s brief stint as a solo artist, along with more Muscle Shoals session work – including the soul-wrenching “Loan Me A Dime” recorded by Boz Scaggs in May of 1969. It ends with the opening tracks off The Allman Brothers’ self-titled debut.

BR: The solo tunes “No Money Down” and “Happily Married Man” are good-time romps and the vocals fit the mood … they’re just plain goofy and fun. But “Goin’ Down Slow” has some fine, fine blues singing by Duane.

GA: Absolutely. It’s interesting, as I think he got teased a lot for his singing voice, but he had really great phrasing and emotion … that’s a very moving performance. In the early bands, he and Gregg traded off singing a lot. And Gregg also played guitar … eventually it became clear who did what the best, I guess.

That one-two punch of “Don’t Want You No More” into “It’s Not My Cross To Bear” was the world’s introduction to the Allman Brothers on record. What do you feel when you listen to it today?

Oh, I love those two songs so much – and how they move into each other. I’m pretty sure from talking to Butch that those are the first songs they worked up together – in their first jams before they were even a band. The pairing of those two songs is interesting: a blues standard with their own spin on it blended with a song that Gregg had written. It’s a nice start to the vision of what they wanted the band to be.

No question about it: a few moments in, you know this is more than just another blues band.

I feel like even coming out of the Boz Scaggs material on that disc – which is incredibly strong and powerful – there’s something about the Brothers that you can really feel … how they’re free to stretch out and how they’re supporting each other to explore and create this new and different sound.

Between the end of Disc Three and the beginning of Disc Four, you have the debut album in its entirety, which is a great move, I think.

It’s powerful music. Gregg wrote the originals in one big creative explosion.

INTERLUDE: DISC FOUR 1969

Even after The Allman Brothers formed, Duane still made time for session work, as documented on Disc Four. From the raw-boned rockabilly soul of Ronnie Hawkins to the packaged pop of Lulu, Duane Allman found his place in every session and contributed to each song’s soul. His work on John Hammond’s “Southern Fried” album is a window into what could have been a great musical pairing in years to come, had fate allowed it.

BR: The cuts with Ronnie Hawkins are a hoot. He’s like a character out of a big ol’ rock ‘n’ roll comic book or something.

GA: (laughs) It’s true. I’m sure that was a big, fun rocking session.

I’d never heard the Lulu material before.

I was surprised at how well those held up, actually. It would be easy to think of them as novelties, but there really is some incredible playing there that captures the mood of the times, you know?

It’s so easy to imagine that Duane and John Hammond would’ve done a lot of projects in the years to come if the opportunity had been there. The two of them were naturals together.

I believe that’s true. The two of them were so well-suited to each other. Duane spent some time with John at his home just before he died; I think they definitely would’ve made some more music.

They had the same love of the music … I don’t think Duane loved anything more than to hang out with players who felt that same way – to exchange ideas and feed each other.

Comments

There are 15 comments associated with this post

Gary March 11, 2013, 22:48:49

Music is so important, and his music was the most important to me.

Joe March 12, 2013, 01:25:41

Nicely done! Loved reading it! Thanks for doing what you do…

Randolph March 12, 2013, 01:36:02

Wonderful interview and I LOVE the box set … question: of the 2 live dates that Duane is known to have played with Derek & The Dominoes, are there tapes for both or just from Curtis Hixson (December 1st 1970 ?) Thanks and God Bless !

Roger March 12, 2013, 12:23:35

I hope she interviews Clapton. I heard him say he really wanted to steal Duane for the Dominoes. But Duane was committed. wonderful intervew!

randy lindsey March 12, 2013, 12:57:59

i was living in atlanta when we would go to piedmont park and watch duane and the brothers when they played for free to promote there band,i had the pleasure of seeing duane about twenty times,duane would come and sleep on my friend jeff waits and dixie,s house and kick off his boots and sleep on there couch w/ his guitar close by.he was the reason i love music.still play something by duane everyday.he was and still is the best guitar player ive ever heard,thank you galladrielle foryour gift of love.

nancy talbott March 12, 2013, 20:30:16

There are poor quality audience tapes from two Duane shows with the Dominos. If you can find the mix by Masashiko (spelling?) it is not a little better.

Trip Browne March 12, 2013, 22:22:20

What a great story.I’am sure Duane has a smile on his face as he watches Warren,Derek and the rest of the Brothers carry on. Looking forward to seeing the family at Wanee.

Pastor Matt Dentino March 12, 2013, 22:48:31

Wow… I am basically moved to tears from reading this. Duane was a genius who lived and played music with all of his heart which therefore continues to profoundly impact the hearts of people worldwide. Personally, I lost my Mother in 1971 at age ten yet in my inconsolable grief I discovered God’s love and the Allman Brothers and oh how both sources kept me going through the joy and pain to where I too wanted to be like Duane Allman and bless the planet by sharing God’s love, words and music. May we who also carry Duane’s vision always help our fellow man. Thank you Galadrielle for this amazing tribute you have done to honor your father. He is no doubt so proud of you and so is the ABB family.

OBR March 13, 2013, 00:32:47

Outstanding interview. Great job, Jambands.

WAF March 14, 2013, 13:05:20

What a wonderful interview. I was a 16 year old from Northern California who moved to Atlanta in 1970, and to help with my sadness because of the move, my older sister gave me the first Allman’s album and said you should check them out when I got down south. Starting with the Atlanta Pop Festival, I did, and of course I have never forgotten, or gotten over, Duane’s playing. Made my short time in Atlanta a great experince.

Gary Johnston March 21, 2013, 16:46:09

I met your dad in 1968 or so in Daytona Beach Fl. The man had drive like I’ve never seen before or since for that matter. This was around the time the Allman joys used to play at the pier. You could tell right then and there that these guys were eventually going places. Good luck with the box set and I will surely be in line to hook it up to the head-phones. Love and Happiness Gary W. Johnston

Roseanne Salyer March 22, 2013, 01:18:05

What a lovely piece! In the last two years, I have rediscovered the amazing Allman Brothers Band and Gregg. How did I ever get away from it? It soothes and excites.
Thanks for the box set, Galadrielle. Can’t wait.

Durwood April 4, 2013, 04:43:32

What separated Duane from all the other great guitar players to me was not only his passion, but he had the “soft” that could also knock u out. He was so melodic that his solos took u on a journey.
And that is timeless.

Rick Mifflin April 18, 2013, 07:02:36

Duane was my biggest inspiration and influence, not just musically, but on how I live my life.though I grew up in St Louis and can recall the Allman Joys and Hour Glass playing around the area as a kid,I only saw him play live once, with Delaney and Bonnie, but his music guides me to this day. Nobody else touches him musically, though I often feel maybe he passed on a bit of himself to Derek Trucks.Thanks so much Galadrielle, for this gift to us, and the world.Skydog Lives!

kirk Lauritsen June 28, 2013, 22:03:45

Galadrielle . Did your father name you? Its a beautiful name. I can assure you his influence will live on for decades. There is only one key influence to what I have always tried to play to and that is Duane. Be it soft, slow, fast , hard,or loud he did it all with a soul and passion that will not be duplicated ever.

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