Earlier today the news started circulating about another legend joining that Big Band In The Sky, as reports of the passing of the absolutely incredible Gregg Allman hit our screens and mobile devices. The iconic Southern Rock trailblazer was 69 years old and had been plagued by a bout of health concerns over the past few years. His passing would be from complications of liver cancer. Back in 2010 the musician received a liver transplant after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C and once a sufficient recovery time had gone by it was right back to the road for lengthy residencies at hallowed venues like NYC’s own Beacon Theatre. Residencies such as these only ceased to take place back in 2014 when Allman announced an end to live band activity. I only managed to catch one of the residency shows because while I was a “casual” fan by comparison to the friends I had, they were events that often sold out well in advance because the diehards would go to one, two and even the whole run of a single residency. This practice was based on the fact that the group often changed up the set and had numerous guest appearances in each and every city that they visited.
Born Gregory LeNoir Allman but commonly referred to as Gregg, the musician was born in 1947 and would form the legendary Allman Brothers Band with his brother Duane. The pair were instrumental in the beginning stages of the Southern Rock genre and had quite a bit of mainstream success with the live album “At Fillmore East” which I cannot stress be added to your music library enough because its that good. Fans of today are fortunate since numerous tracks from the shows have been added to form a larger body of musical work. I never owned the original myself based on my age and when this was originally released but trust me its a good one. Sadly, Duane Allman would be killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971 but after a grieving process it was back to work for Gregg and his constantly busy touring lineup. Gregg’s skills on guitar, piano and as a singer/songwriter helped make songs like “Ramblin’ Man”, “Midnite Rider”, “Melissa” and so many more absolute classics. His voice had a special tone to it and mixed a soulful Blues with this new and forming thing that we would learn to call Southern Rock. It was unmistakable for sure. Growing up I would listen to a lot of Rock radio and you would always hear two or three Allman Brothers Band tracks across the course of the day. Hearing the band like this allowed me to get a good background on them without really following them in the usual fashion. It’s without question that I enjoyed what I was listening to even though I was more of the Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple kid at the time. Oh yeah and KISS, there was a lot of KISS in my music listening back around that time as well, but I digress.
The residency show that I caught was long and I had to admit that I was not at all used to this sort of thing but as the friends I joined would teach me this was par for the course at any show that Gregg Allman was bringing to town. I think the show I witnessed was just over or just under three hours in length and two of the guests that appeared were Susan Tedeschi and Dr. John. Tedeschi would eventually marry Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks and together they would build their own chapter in musics history books. All of this would grow from seeds planted by Allman’s influence and the countless inspiring gigs. Given the fact that I was more of the kind of fan that always enjoyed a listen to the band but didn’t follow them through each and every town over the years and considering there is far too much history to denote I’m again deferring you to learn more care of the artists official Wikipedia entries which have been linked below. Thank you Gregg Allman for so many years of dedicated musical service and for being one of those performers who pretty much played until the very end. You’ve joined your long missed brother and have become another whose music will keep our spirits listed for many, many years after your passing. May you Rest In Peace.
Official Artist Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_Allman
Official Artist Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Allman_Brothers_Band