Skydog - The Duane Allman Story

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Skydog - The Duane Allman Story

Postby blueswriter » Tue May 29, 2007 10:24 pm

Hi folks...

It's been a little too long but I'm back with more reviews. First up is Skydog - The Duane Allman Story. There's more coming today and all week including The Mannish Boys new Delta Groove release, Big Plans, the reissue of Memphis Slim's Southside Reunion featuring Buddy Guy, the newly-released fourth volume of the American Folk Blues Festival DVD and much more. My apologies for the length of time between my last reviews and these upcoming additions, but there will be plenty to enjoy. Thanks for your patience. ;)


Skydog
The Duane Allman Story
Backbeat Books (2006) Hardcover - 300 pages.

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Just how important Duane Allman was to the history of guitar can be assessed simply by looking to those who still speak highly of him, his legendary touch, tone, and phrasing and his looming influence more than three-and-a-half decades after his death at the age of twenty-four. His ascent seems almost meteoric when one considers just how short his recording career was, yet it certainly didn't come overnight. Allman's early years in the music field included work with the Escorts and the Allman Joys, and he soon found himself fighting producers who attempted to steer him, and his younger brother, Gregg, toward pop stardom on the West Coast. Tired of waging a war he wasn't going to win, Duane cashed out of California, headed back to his familiar Southern roots, and planted his feet as a session player in Muscle Shoals recording with Otis Redding, Otis Rush, Clarence Carter, John Hammond and many others. His guitar work graced labels like Atlantic, Cotillion, Vanguard and many more before putting together The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. As much as he loved his music, Duane also loved living life on the edge, and author Randy Poe, no stranger to music journalism, shows Allman as a young man who lived for the bright lights, sweltering stages and a growing legion of fans while he battled the demons of drug addiction. There's a rather bizarre and twisted foreword from ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, just what one might expect from the big-name blues rocker, and Poe does an admirable job with his task. He covers Duane's early and difficult life, his dawning days as a musician, and his determination to stake his own ground on his own terms, but Skydog unfortunately mines much of the same territory as Scott Freeman's 1995 effort, Midnight Riders - The Story of The Allman Brothers Band (Little, Brown and Company). In fact, Poe seems to have logged most of his research time within the pages of Midnight Riders, following Freeman's route by interviewing many of the same musical counterparts and asking many of the same questions. The outcome, naturally, affords similar responses about Duane, his vision, his direction and his musical prowess. On the plus side, Poe hands in a finely-detailed discography of Duane's recordings as a bandleader and session player along with a well-researched breakdown of the artist's stage and studio gear. In the end, Randy Poe's offering may not be a complete throwaway but it certainly doesn't uncover much in the way of new information, and often rehashes previously-known facts minus the conversational approach Scott Freeman offered a dozen years ago. Readers will be better served turning their attention to Freeman first before laying out the cash for Randy Poe's recent Skydog.

Skydog

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© 2007 by Craig Ruskey
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