256

The Allman Brothers Band: Hittin' the Note

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
The Allman Brothers Band: Hittin' the Note The Allman Brothers Band last recorded a studio album of new material in 1994 ( Where It All Begins, on Epic). Since that time, the band fired original member Dickey Betts and added Butch Truck’s nephew, Derek, plus the exquisite bassist, Oteil Burbridge. This nominal lineup appeared on Peakin’ at the Beacon to the reserved glee of this writer. With Betts gone, only three original members of the band remain and do you, gentle reader, understand what that means?

Not a damn thing.

Hittin’ the Note is the best studio recording by the Allman Brothers Band since Eat a Peach. The major reason is Derek Trucks, who is a virtuoso slide guitarist of the highest order. It is very obvious that Mr. Trucks studied Live at the Fillmore East very carefully as his slide guitar tone, attack, and approach are well grounded in the style of the late Duane Allman. But the young Mr. Trucks is not content to be a mere imitation; his talent elevates him to a technical superiority to his tutor by proxy.

A critic once opined that Duane Allman could play with Muddy Waters, but Lowell George could play with Thelonious Monk. Well, no, it is Derek Trucks who could play with Thelonious Monk. I submit that he is the first significant jazz slide guitarist as evidenced by this recording and his solo recordings.

But the disc is not all Derek Trucks. Gregg Allman sings and plays with a renewed dedication and drive spurred on by the younger members of the band, specifically Trucks and bassist Oteil Burbridge. Warren Haynes serves as a perfect foil to Trucks, but neither is a Dickey Betts... and that's okay. Their guitar interplay recalls, but does not copy, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Whipping Post." For the best example of this, cue up "Instrumental Illness." The two guitarists sound like a trumpet-tenor saxophone hard bop front. As a vocalist, Haynes spits grief on "Woman Across the River," where he laments bad choices and broken promises.

The foundation of the band remains the twin drum attack of Butch Trucks and J. Jaimoe Johnson, who recall Fillmore East on the centerpiece, "Desdemona," arguably the most jazz-oriented piece on the record. The two drummers play in throbbing unison, propelling the band. The group brilliantly covers the Rolling Stones’ "Heart of Stone," taking the classic, filtering it through Muscle Shoals and then Stax to achieve a totally new take of English blues.

While many bands from the early 1970s are content to rest on their laurels and regurgitate their old material, the Allman Brothers Band – rock music’s true phoenix – produces some of its most necessary music.

For more information, see the Allman Brothers Band and Sanctuary Records .


Track Listing: Firing Line; High Cost Of Low Living; Desdemona; Woman Across The River; Old Before My Time; Who To Believe; Maydell; Rockin' Horse; Heart Of Stone; Instrumental Illness; Old Friend.

Personnel: Gregg Allman

Title: Hittin' the Note | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Peach/Sanctuary


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Live At Okuden" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Okuden
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Plays New Zealand" CD/LP/Track Review Plays New Zealand
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Knock A Hole In It" CD/LP/Track Review Knock A Hole In It
by James Nadal
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.