Gregg Allman first started playing music with his older brother Duane in the southeast during the mid 60s. The two of them played in a number of bands, including The Escorts, The Allman Joys, and The Hour Glass, before they founded The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. With the Allman Brothers, Gregg acted as the lead singer, and also played the Hammond organ. The band were pioneers in the genre of Southern rock, and also were recognised as one of the best 'jam bands' of their era. With the death of Duane Allman in 1971, things looked set to fall apart, but they perservered and released the commercially successful Brothers And Sisters in 1973.
Around the same time as Brothers And Sisters, Gregg worked on his first solo album. Laid Back came out in October 1973, and showed a different side to him, eschewing the improvisational focus of the Allman Brothers in favour of short, concise soul-based songs. With backing singers and orchestral arrangements, it was music that would not have fit in with the band's style. It featured strong original songs alongside covers of "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing" (by Oliver Sain), "These Days" (by Jackson Browne), the country-folk standard "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", and "All My Friends" (by Scott Boyer, who Allman had briefly worked with in The 31st Of February). It also featured new versions of his own "Please Call Home" and "Midnight Rider", both originally Allman Brothers Band songs (from Idlewild South), the latter re-worked into a moodier and more elaborate arrangement, helped along by some powerful string and horn backing - it got to #19 on the pop charts.
The album was a great success, and showed what Gregg could do outside the band, casting him in the role of a soulful singer-songwriter.
|> The Gregg Allman Tour (1974)
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