Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gregg Allman: The Midnight Rider

Gregory Lenoir Allman (born December 8, 1947 in Nashville, Tennessee), known as Gregg Allman (sometimes spelled Greg Allman), is a rock and blues singer, keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter, best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. He was inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and personally received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2006. His distinctive Southern-accented voice placed him in 70th place in Rolling Stone Magazines list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time"
After 42 years, more than 30 albums, and thousands of concerts, Gregg Allman never gets tired of singing them. Reid asked Allman why he loves singing so much.

"It's like going to an analyst and just spilling your guts," he said. "You know, something that's been bugging you for a long time and you finally tell this person, 'Look, here's the way it is.'"

In the mid- to late-1960s, the Allmans played in a series of bands including The Escorts and Allman Joys, mostly playing around the Southeastern United States. Toward the end of the decade, The Allman Joys relocated to Los Angeles, California, and were signed to Liberty Records, which renamed them The Hour Glass. Strongly controlled by the label, the group produced a pair of psychedelic blues albums.

All the players were deeply dissatisfied with the results; Duane Allman in particular spoke bitterly of the Hour Glass' output. The label however, was impressed with Gregg Allman's vocal abilities and abilities as a keyboardist."He knew just that much more than me," Gregg said, "and if we’d lived to be 95 and 96, I’d still be 'little brother.'"

But it was Gregg who first discovered music, when as a 9-year-old he saw a neighbor with a guitar.

"I said, 'What you got here, Jimmy?' He said, 'Well, it's a guitar, boy!'" Gregg laughed. "And he played 'She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain.'"

"So did you fall in love with the guitar the first time you saw it sitting there?" Reid asked.

"Yeah, I did. I did. It was like sparks flying, it was," he said.

Gregg taught Duane, who quickly became a virtuoso. They played together until 1969 when Duane assembled what would become the Allman Brothers Band. Gregg was reluctant to sign on - having already been accepted into college to be a dental surgeon.

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