Gregg Allman died today. He was 69 years old.
I don't know if there is anyone here who doesn't know who he was. In case you don't, he's the surviving brother (until today) in the Allman Brothers Band, their lead vocalist and organ player. He is known in some other circles for being married to Cher for four years.
I saw his band in concert twice, both during the early to mid seventies, during the period with Chuck Leavell on piano, once at RFK Stadium in DC with the Dead and once at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
He is the most significant figure I know about in southern rock. His older brother Duane, a killer guitar player particularly on slide, made it big first and was perhaps best known prior to his own band for being in Derek and the Dominoes with Eric Clapton. If you've ever heard Layla, you've heard Duane.
His record label wanted him to found a group. They pictured a power trio, but every time he thought of having a band he pictured his brother's voice. He went with two drummers, a second guitarist, bass, and Gregg on organ and vocal. The band was known for its twin lead guitar sound.
If you've ever heard Gregg sing, you know why Duane pictured his voice.
Give this a listen and you'll get the idea:
Sorry it's a link. My iPad won't embed.
Duane died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, soon after the band made it big. If anything, the band made it bigger after his death. Gregg played both with the band and as a solo artist. He performed until his health gave out, with concerts cancelled within the last year.
His organ playing was not flashy but was as consistently tasteful as any I've ever heard. In recent years the incarnation of the band had two guitarists again and no pianist. When I became familiar with them, piano was a big part of the band's sound.
This is my favorite Allman Brothers instrumental. They're known for a two guitar lead sound but if you listen closely to this cut, you'll notice that the top voice isn't guitar, it's organ.
I can't list all my favorites here. I'll give you two, though.
One does not feature Gregg singing, just to show you another style of the band:
And one more, just because it's very typical of the sound of the band and is just a great song (and I heard them do it live)
Nothing much else to say. I've written posts about a lot of famous musicians who have died, but over the years I've probably spent more time listening to this one than any of them. When I heard I texted two friends immediately.
RIP Gregg Allman