In memory of Skydog, I will talk about the last album he recorded with the Allman Brothers Band, 1972's Eat A Peach. Side 1 was recorded after Duane's death, while the live (Side 2 and 3) side is taken from their infamous Fillmore East concert and Side 4 was the last sessions Duane was involved in before his fatal motorcycle accident.
1. Ain't Wasting Time No More - I've read from different sources that the band wrote this in defiance of those who said they were done as a band after Duane's death. When you look at it like that, it makes sense in the lines "Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain/A week before, it all seemed the same" could be seen as the sadness Gregg feels about the loss of his brother and then "With the help of God and two friends, I've come to realize/I still got two strong legs and even wings to fly" could be him realizing that he is still alive and healthy and then the chorus sounds like him telling himself that he won't stay in sadness anymore and get back to what he's good at The organ in the bridge sounds triumphant along with the slide guitar playing throughout the song. Definitely a song of rebirth.
2. Les Bres in A Minor - This song is strange as it reminds me more of Santana thane regular Allman Brothers Band material. It has an open, free form feel, especially in the bass playing and percussion (which includes the first instance of using monkey skulls as percussion that I've heard) The song settles into a Latin/jungle groove at about 3 and a half minutes in with a great guitar and organ riff with descending bass lines and it takes on some jazzy qualities in a bridge section. A drum/percussion section breaks out and is followed by a short bit of bass chords before going into a guitar solo. This is obviously a showpiece for each member, and probably was extended quite a bit live.
3. Melissa - This is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Apparently, this was one of Duane's favourite songs that Gregg ever wrote, with good reason, and they recorded it in 1968 when Gregg and Duane were in the group the 31st of February. The band re-recorded it for the album to end the 1st side with it. A fitting tribute. The melody is gorgeous and the lead guitar soars like it has wings. It's seriously an amazing song in every way. I can see why Duane loved it so much.
4. Mountain Jam - Wow. At 33+ minutes, I think this could be the longest single jam I've ever heard. It's a lot to take in at once, that's for sure. The jam is based off of Donovan's "There Is A Mountain" and you can hear the chorus melody quoted in the first few guitar lines, but for the most part, this is a jam at it's core: A band having a skeleton of a song to float over. There are some people who can't sit through stuff like this and honestly for me, it depends on the day. Sometimes I'm like, "Holy shit, this is way too long.." and other times I can just sit there and marvel at the playing for hours, regardless of the length of the song. Luckily for this review, it's the latter. The energy of the song never wavers during the 33 mintes of this song and Duane's slide playing takes on monumental proportions near the 20 minute mark.
5. One Way Out - After the monumentally huge Mountain Jam, this is a short but sweet cover of a blues song. The main focus here is, of course but I personally really love the chorus where the band suddenly stops after the line "Well there's a man down there...", leaving Gregg to sing "...Might be your man, I don't know"
6. Trouble No More - The drums in this are just great. They pound in the intro until the nasty riff comes in. One thing I have to point out is I believe that Gregg Allman is a very underrated singer. He has that natural Southern blues voice, which I like to call "the honey-and-whisky voice" He could hit some beautiful notes than a second later move into a blues holler. This song is a perfect example of that.
7. Stand Back - There's something almost funky about this. It's almost Southern boogie meets funk, which you would think would be a natural fit, but isn't as done as you'd think. It has that loose, slinky groove of a funk song but the guitars and pianos are that Allman Brothers flair.
8. Blue Sky - I think this is the first Dicky Betts vocal on an Allman Brothers record, but I could be mistaken. In any case, it has that soft, breezy country tinge to it that Betts would perfect on their only hit, "Ramblin' Man" I love how Duane does the first solo, then him and Dicky share a melody line, then going into Dicky's solo. I've always loved when bands do that. I don't know, it's like a communal thing, if that makes sense.
9 Little Martha - Fittingly, the album ends with Duane Allman's only sole composition for the band. It is a guitar duet between Allman and Betts. It really is a beautiful song and I love how you can hear them breathe into the mics, giving the song a real intimate feel. There's a feeling of sadness when the guitars fade out, ending the album, knowing that Duane was gone.
I'm not a huge fan of Southern rock by nature, but the Allman Brothers energy and sincerity of the music they play endears them to me. This is really a phenomenal album, combining the best elements of their studio and live sound.
Duane Allman, R.I.P.
Favourite Tracks: Ain't Wasting Time No More, Melissa, Mountain Jam, One Way Out, Trouble No More, Blue Sky, Little Martha