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Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Album review: Gregg Allman, "Low Country Blues"

By Bill Friskics-Warren

gregg allmanGregg Allman's first album in 14 years is a spirited salute to the blues.

Gregg Allman's first solo album in 14 years consists almost entirely of vintage blues material from the '40s, '50s and '60s. And yet it's more than just a salute to the music that formed the backbone of the Allman Brothers' Southern rock aesthetic. Electrifying throughout, the record's 12 performances testify both to the durability of deep, down-home blues and to how completely the Brothers' keyboardist and lead singer -- still in fine, if craggy, voice -- has made them his own.

A gutbucket version of country bluesman Sleepy John Estes's "Floating Bridge" kicks off the proceedings, followed by a reverb-heavy take of Chicago harp player Junior Wells's "Little by Little." The latter features smoky organ fills and fat, dirty-toned guitar. Otis Rush, Bobby Blue Bland, Muddy Waters and Skip James get their due here as well, Waters with a nasty, slide guitar-laced version of "I Can't Be Satisfied," James with a wraithlike take of the Delta blues classic "Devil Got My Woman."

Produced in hands-off fashion by the ubiquitous T Bone Burnett, the album also boasts Dr. John on piano and Doyle Bramhall II on some of the most lacerating electric guitar this side of Chicago big axe Hubert Sumlin. Allman recorded the project last year, not long before receiving a liver transplant after years of suffering from hepatitis C. With nods to his landmark "Midnight Rider," "Just Another Rider," the sole Allman original on the album, finds the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer pondering his personal and artistic legacy.

Recommended Tracks: "Little by Little," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Devil Got My Woman"

By Bill Friskics-Warren  | January 18, 2011; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  Gregg Allman  
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