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Gregg Allman – My Cross to Bear with Alan Light

August 6, 2012

I am real sucker for rock and roll autobiographies and biographies.   I breezed through this one in about a week – fast for me.  Not as good as Keith Richards’ Life – but that who can compete with a candid Keith Richards.

The Allman Brothers are one of the most innovative bands in the history of rock and roll – incorporating the blues, R&B, country and jazz into an amazing gumbo.  Although they invented southern rock, they spurned the redneck pride associated with the genre. Their greatness can’t be denied and Gregg Allman is one of the all time great rock and roll vocalist and songwriters.

Gregg (or as we learn Gregory to his real friends) writes a candid autobiography.  Living in the shadow of his brother Duane (who makes most top 10 lists of greatest guitarist) was a mighty curse.  He avoided that challenge with drugs and alcohol.   I am a fan of both the Brothers and Gregg solo – and I am amazed he produced the kind of excellence he did given the mess he was.

Gregg had so much bad press in his time: married to Cher (true), Narc (sort of), minor talent compared to his brother (not true), junkie (true), alcoholic (yeah), womanizer (hey only 6 marriages)  and douchebag (yeah).   It is amazing he was able to rise above all of that.  His story is pretty compelling and the concept of the Allman Brothers is pretty amazing to survive multiple tragedies and abuse.

I have seen the Bothers twice – both times the modern Derek Truck/Warren Haynes version – and when you read this book it is even more amazing that they could survive into this millennium, let alone reinvent themselves into a band that rivaled their early greatness.  Gregg literally took every opportunity to shoot himself in the foot and shit can his career, yet his artistic output transcended his stupidity.

If you are a fan, you should read this book.  It will make you appreciate Gregg and the Brothers that much more.

As a side note, by reading this book I discovered Johnny Jenkins Ton-Ton Macoute!- a truly amazing album.


From → The Word

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