Gregg Allman’s First Solo Forays Re-Released
Gregg Allman’s 1973 solo album Laid Back followed some extreme ups and downs. Earlier that same year, the Allman Brothers Band’s fourth album Brothers and Sisters forecast the future for Southern rockers and jam band enthusiasts. During the same time period, Allman grieved the 1971 death of his brother and band mate Duane and the 1972 passing of bassist Berry Oakley.
To wrap his head around rock stardom and grieve the loss of friends and family, Allman created a soulful, reflective album that lives up to its title. On Laid Back, Allman dabbles in his gospel and R&B influences in ways that wouldn’t gel with his better-known project’s guitar slinging M.O. He also does country and folk covers justice while adding his own touch to traditional tune “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and the Jackson Browne classic “These Days.” More famously, he hat-tipped musical brothers and sisters by making the Allman Brothers’ 1971 single “Midnight Rider” a top 20 hit.
Universal/UME will honor the late musician on Aug. 30 with reissues of Laid Back. These include a two-CD version featuring early mixes, demos, outtakes and alternate cuts. For completists, there’s also a vinyl reissue with no bonus material, available on black or purple and white marbled wax.
That same day, The Gregg Allman Tour, the out-of-print double album from the Laid Back tour, will be reissued on vinyl. It’s very 1973 (Allman traveled with a 24-piece orchestra to future punk rockers’ dismay) and very Capricorn (the amazing band Cowboy backs up Allman).
Both albums represent a key moment in a Georgia music legend’s lengthy and influential career. Even if repurchasing an old album on vinyl sounds like a waste, all of us regional music geeks who’ve still got CD players should give those bonus tracks a spin.