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Low Country Blues (Deluxe Version)

Gregg Allman

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iTunes Review

In an inspired pairing, producer T Bone Burnett teams up with Gregg Allman on Low Country Blues, the veteran Southern rocker’s first solo album in nearly 14 years. The voice of the Allman Brothers Band does more than trade on his legendary status here — he renews his stature by reconnecting with the blues and R&B sounds that inspired him in his youth. Allman makes these songs his own by infusing them with a sense of his personal trials and hardships. His raw-throated takes on Otis Rush’s “Checking On My Baby” and Sleepy John Estes’ “Floating Bridge” are at once pain-wracked and commanding; on Bobby Bland’s “Blind Man,” he displays the seductive finesse of an uptown bluesman. Even more visceral is Allman’s treatment of Skip James’ ”Devil Got My Woman,” rendered here as a swampy roadhouse stomper. Burnett surrounds the singer with an A-list crew of players, with Mac (Dr. John) Rebennack’s moody yet ever-swinging piano and Doyle Bramhall II’s slithery guitar lines lending support. Gritty, haunting and eloquent, Low Country Blues marks Allman’s return to the front ranks of American music.

Customer Reviews

Allmusic's Hal Horowitz

Given his place in the pantheon of American rock music, Gregg Allman's solo career away from the Allman Brothers Band has been generally disappointing. Perhaps that's why it took nearly a decade between his previous album, 1997's Searching for Simplicity (its title alone indicates his frustrations) and 1988's over-produced yet underwhelming Just Before the Bullets Fly. A whopping 14 years later, Allman joins forces with roots producer to the stars T-Bone Burnett, hoping that some of the latter's mojo can rub off on a singer who is one of the great white soul and blues vocalists in rock music. For the most part it does, as the duo choose 11 relatively obscure covers from classic artists such as Bobby "Blue" Bland, Junior Wells, and B.B. King that have clearly influenced Allman's musical approach. The backing is organic but far from stripped-down with horns, multiple guitars, and even background vocalists supporting the singer's patented crusty growl. From the opening raw thump of the ominous Sleepy John Estes' "Floating Bridge" to a peppy yet intense take on Muddy Waters' "I Can't be Satisfied" and a fiery reworking of Magic Sam's "My Love Is Your Love," Allman sounds invested and inspired by this material and his musical surroundings. Veterans such as Dr. John (credited here with his real name, Mac Rebennack), Doyle Bramhall II, and Burnett's often used rhythm section of drummer Jay Bellerose and Dennis Crouch on bass keep a taut yet easygoing lock on the groove. That's particularly evident on the predominantly acoustic version of Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman." The horns that appear on five tunes never overpower the sound yet help propel Allman's soul-searing performance of Bland's "Blind Man." Ditto for Otis Rush's slow blues "Checking on My Baby," which brings the vocalist back to his "Stormy Monday"-styled beginnings. One original co-written with Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes, "Just Another Rider," while not a terrible song, pales in comparison with the rest of the material and could have been saved for the next Brothers album, where it might make a better fit. Allman is credited with B-3 on the majority of the tunes, but his contributions are generally mixed so low as to be nearly inaudible. His organ can be heard on a low-down run-through of Amos Milburn's "Tears, Tears, Tears" that captures a sweet, jazzy noir West Coast blues. It adds up to Allman's best and surely most focused and cohesive solo release, and one where the template can hopefully be repeated in less time than it took this to appear.

Disappointing

Disappointing.

I LOVE Gregg Allman. I have every Gregg Allman album, oddball song, bootleg, etc. I have every Allman Brothers album. I am a huge music fan and understand T Bone's place in the industry, but I've got to tell you, when a producer makes you conscious that it's his work instead of enhancing and drawing out the talent of the artist, he has failed at his job. This is an acceptable album because of Allman, but it should be advertised as a T Bone Burnett album featuring Gregg Allman, not a Gregg Allman album. Vocals are great and it's hard not to enjoy significant parts of the record, but music lacks the urgent passion of Gregg's band. It's layered with calculated jazz tinged backing instead of the raw blues that are Gregg Allman's calling card.

It wouldn't be accurate to say the album is bad. It's not. What it is however, is disappointing. Gregg's solo output is rare. When we're blessed with a new release, one would hope for better.

Perfect

This album is simply perfect. It's Gregg Allman. It'll be on my playlist for a long, long time. Enough said.

Biography

Born: December 8, 1947 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Gregg Allman's most visible contribution to rock music is as lead singer, organist, and songwriter with the Allman Brothers Band, founded by his brother Duane (d. 1971) in 1969. He has never threatened to eclipse the band that carries his family name, but he has found occasional success and popularity with his...
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Low Country Blues (Deluxe Version), Gregg Allman
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