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Album Review by Tom Beninate
Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues
Summary

This is essentially a tribute to folks like B. B. King, Muddy Waters, and other blues originators who inspired Gregg and his brother Duane when they were young. If you are looking for straight out blues and oldies, then this album is for you. On the other hand if you are looking for the level of inspiration that is on any of the first three Allman Brothers records, then you might not be happy with this. T Bone Burnett does a nice job of producing this album though Gregg’s vocals seem a bit over processed. The top shelf musicians that are featured on this record are well versed in the blues and set a very believable foundation for Gregg’s vocals.

The only original song on this record is, “Just Another Rider” which was written by Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes. As the title suggests, this song reminds us of Gregg’s great song, “Midnight Rider” but doesn’t quite reach that level. Perhaps this album would have been better if it contained all original music.

Gregg Allman knows what it takes to write great songs and to perform on them. So it is a bit disappointing when listening to Low Country Blues for the first time and not hearing something on the level of “Midnight Rider,” “Whipping Post,” or “Dreams.” That said, Gregg Allman can still sing the blues and this is a good album. It just doesn’t have any great hooks, spectacular soloing, or memorable uniqueness.

Buy this record if you are a collector of anything containing blues or simply want to own everything Gregg Allman has recorded. The rest of us ought to pass on this one.



Songs

01 Floating Bridge Gregg takes us way back in time with this John Adam Estes tune. It would have been great for these guys to simply break out and take this song to a higher level. Interestingly, Gregg sings slightly different lyrics from what is written in the booklet.

02 Little By Little This song begins with Gregg on the B-3. He sings the song with authority but without that deep down emotion that he is capable of. The other musicians play their parts well but fail to convince us that they are living the lives of true bluesmen.

03 Devil Got My Woman Here, Gregg sings the blues as though he’s got a job to do. It almost seems like he trying to sound like someone else. Funny, most people want to sound like Gregg Allman.  This song features Colin Linden on the dobro.

04 I Can’t Be Satisfied This version of the upbeat Muddy Waters song is great for the hardcore blues listener.

05 Blind Man Gregg certainly sounds like himself on this one.  Darrell Leonard did a fine horn arrangement although at times the brass tend to overpower and take some shine from Gregg.

06 Just Another Rider This is Gregg’ best effort on the album. It’s too bad that this is the only song that Gregg wrote for this album. At times this song sounds like an extension of “Midnight Rider” but none the less it is what you would have thought the entire album might have sounded like.

07 Please Accept My Love This Fats Domino influenced tune written by B.B. King and Sam Ling takes us straight back to the 1950s and 60s.

08 I Believe I’ll Go Back Home This is another example of a job well down though lacking in inspiration.

09 Tears, Tears, Tears There’s nothing very special here.

10 My Love Is Your Love The nice thing about this song is we get the full complement of that Gregg Allman growl.

11 Checking On My Baby Another fine effort on Gregg’s part on this Otis Rush song. Again, we’ve heard this type of blues for decades. Although the very capable musicians in this band certainly should be congratulated for their interpretation of the blues, they simply don’t raise the bar.

12 Rolling Stone This traditional song typifies this record. Gregg seems a bit tired and the other musicians play their parts with authority but we’re left uninspired. This is too bad because there is a lot of talent on this record.



Components

Songwriting As previously mentioned there is only one original song on this record. The rest are covers. “Just Another Rider” is a good song but unfortunately fits into Gregg’s “B” level material.

Arranging It seems like several people were involved with arranging. All of it is professional and supportive of the songs.

Album Presentation Larissa Collins did a nice job laying coordinating and laying out this package. There’s plenty of information including a nice introduction by Robert Gordan. Danny Clinch’s photography sets the stage for the music on this record and brings us up close to Gregg.

Artwork Larissa’s art direction and design is first class. The insides of the sleeves were decorated and matched to the disc design. Although it’s just paper and plastic, Larissa makes this package seem more valuable.

Originality Again, this is all cover material except for one song. There were no ventures down unbeaten paths.

Performance This is a quality record performed by quality musicians. There are no weak spots in the performances. Gregg, starts the album sounding a bit tired but very quickly wakes us up. Once he gets into it, he reminds us of how good of a singer he is.
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Date: August 8, 2012
Artist:Gregg Allman
Album Title: Low Country Blues
Artist's website: www.greggallman.com
©2011 Rounder Records

Rating:out of 5

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