Monday, 4 June 2018

Gregg Allman - Southern Blood (2017)

Blind bats and swamps rats....


Released September 2017

Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama

This is a very sad album because, as many know, Gregg Allman passed away not long after its recording. That event means that whole album is tinged with sadness and emotion.


1. My Only True Friend

2. Once I Was
3. Going, Going, Gone
4. Black Muddy River
5. I Love The Life I Live
6. Willin'
7. Blind Bats And Swamp Rats
8. Out Of Left Field
9. Love Like Kerosene
10. Song For Adam                                    

Viewed on purely musical terms, it is not an album of all blues rock attack. Not in the slightest. It is often laid-back, melodious, gentle and subtle. Saxophone is used quite a lot, and various guitars, including pedal steel, horns and female backing vocals. It is a very tuneful and uplifting album."My Only True Friend" sets the tone for the album, with its impressive guitar and saxophone. "Once I Was" is beautiful. A lovely ballad with a nice saxophone solo. Gregg's cover of Bob Dylan's "Going, Going, Gone" (from "Planet Waves") is heartbreaking, lyrically. Lovely horns and pedal steel guitar and a great guitar solo at the end. Quality stuff.

"Black Muddy River" is slow, sad and valedictory. A country blues anthem again with impressive solo guitar. "I Love The Life I Live" is the album's first real slow burning blues but with saxophone to the fore again. "Willin'" keeps the blues fire burning and then we get the marvellous, mysterious "Blind Bats And Swamp Rats" - an atmospheric New Orleans blues with references to the "Big Easy" and cajun culture. Yet again, some outstanding guitar work. "Out Of Left Field" is another heartbreaking, sad slow blues ballad and "Love Like Kerosone" gets the spirits up again with a rocking blues.

"Song For Adam" is a duet with old mate Jackson Browne (originally from Browne's debut album, "Saturate Before Using") and is just lovely, but, obviously, terribly touching at the same time. Impossible to listen to this album and not be moved if you know the story behind it. Trying, with great difficulty, to assess it dispassionately, it is a very impressive album, for many reasons.


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