Gregg Allman's second solo album was a live double LP, following quickly in the wake of his debut's success. It was recorded with a large band, consisting of Allman himself (lead vocals/organ), Tommy Talton (lead guitar), Scott Boyer (rhythm guitar), Chuck Leavell (piano), Kenny Tibbetts (bass), Bill Stewart (drums), Johnny Lee Johnson (drums/percussion), Randall Bramblett (soprano & alto sax), David Brown (tenor sax), Harold Williams (baritone sax), Todd Logan (trumpet) and Peter Eklund (trumpet), plus backing vocals from Annie Sutton, Erin Dickins, and Lynn Rubin... and a 24-piece orchestra! Leavell was playing with Allman at the time in The Allman Brothers Band, and Boyer he had recorded with back in 1968 (see the album Duane & Greg Allman). He had also recorded one of Boyer's songs ("All My Friends") on Laid Back.
Most of the backing musicians (Talton, Boyer, Stewart, Bramblett and Brown) were actually a band called Cowboy, on the same label as Allman (Capricon). They got to perform two of their songs in a guest spot, with Talton singing lead (plus Bramblett moving over to organ and Brown moving to bass).
The plan was an ambitious one, but it came together wonderfully into an excellent live album which mixed rock, soul, blues and gospel, the orchestra adding some lovely touches. The songs were a mix of those from Laid Back, a few Allman Brothers tunes in new arrangements ("Stand Back" and "Dreams"), a couple of new songs ("Double Cross" and "Oncoming Traffic"), and some choice covers (including Chuck Willis' "I Feel So Bad" and Bobby Bland's "Turn On Your Love Light").
The album only performed modestly on the charts (#50), but it firmly cemented Allman's reputation as an massively talented singer and bandleader away from the Allman Brothers.
Laid Back (1973) <|> Playin' Up A Storm (1978)
More from Gregg Allman