Searching for Simplicity

CD Cover Gregg Allman

Review by Darren Kerr

45-second excerpt from "Whippin' Post" (various formats)

When I was handed this new Gregg Allman album I dealt with it the only way I deemed proper: I dove headfirst into a big bag o' weed and cranked the mother. The Allmans have provided me with quite a few timeless moments: the first time I heard "Pegasus" and "Dreams" on record; the incendiary performance of Gregg and his band (especially 'Dangerous' Dan Toler on guitar) at Molson Park, nine years ago; and the night my high school sweetheart succumbed to my charms as the strains of "Morning Dew" crept out from the speakers of my Lloyd's stereo.

Given all that history, I still have to say that I think of the present day Gregg Allman the same way I think of post-addition Clapton, or Garcia after discovering MIDI -- it's all very competent and fluid, with miles of heart and soul, but without edge. The definitive version of Allman's "Whippin' Post," found on Live at Ludlow Garage, cuts me to the quick every time I hear it, but the reworking of it here is slickly limp and unnecessary. Songs like "House of Blues," "Rendezvous with the Blues" and "Wolf's A-Howling," to name a few, are by-the-book blues that lack excitement and danger.

Maybe I'm dwelling too much on past glories, or maybe Gregg's getting old and set in his ways. Probably both. But for whatever reason, Allman doesn't knock me on my ass like he used to. This record is for those hundreds of thousands of blues purists, but not for me.

[ed. And what's with the slimmy advertising on this CD? Pop it into your computer and a program tries to automatically sign you up for some American Internet service... is Allman that short of cash?]

First published in Drop-D Magazine on March 14, 1998

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