Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman Galadrielle Allman 400 Pages ISBN: # 978-1400068944 Spiegel & Grau 2014
Galadrielle Allman was two-years old when her father, Allman Brothers Band founder Duane Allman, was killed in a motorcycle accident October 29, 1971. Since that time, she has been chasing a phantom and that chase has manifested as Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman. It is a welcome addition to the DA bibliography, joining Randy Poe's Skydog: The Duane Allman Story (Back Beat, 2006). Please Be With Me emerged in close proximity to the CD-boxset Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective (Rounder Records, 2013), which was produced by Galadrielle Allman.
What Galadrielle Allman brings to her father's story (compared with Poe's) is an intimacy and immediacy that further humanizes Allman as not only a musical genius, but also a wayward kid who died just short of his 25th birthday. Allman comes up short in the human interest portion of Poe's account with the author baring Allman's shortcomings (selfishness and child abandonment) in a harsh light. The guitarist's daughter does not pull any punches with her father, but also passes no judgment, rendering an even-handed account of the musician's life that that of her young mother during a period of great change and innovation in American music.
Galadrielle Allman highlights the short six years that her father appeared as an in-demand session musician and the mere 31-month tenure he had leading the Allman Brothers Band. Allman was like Schubert in that he was musically active for only a very short time, but crammed that short time full of music, some of which has gone on to be an example of the best America had to offer. Galadrielle Allman's account of the formation and founding of the Allman Brothers Band may be the best in print. Its emphasis on the period following the death of her father is searing and effective. As much a labor of love as an academic study, Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman is a thorough look at a short life that has proven to live forever.