USA Today Images, Ron Elkman

The Old Blues Soul of Gregg Allman

May 30, 2017

Gregg Allman was not just an amazing singer and keyboard player, he could write blues songs that sounded like they were written by an old blues guy, like Elmore James, Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson.

Was it early tragedy that gave Gregg a blues soul? His father was murdered by a hitchhiker when Gregg was just two years old. And we all know about the life of his brother Duane, cut short at just 24 years old. (He died when he crashed into a truck on his motorcycle. Gregg said Duane had two speeds: stopped and 100mph.)

When I first started to get into the Allman Brothers Band as more than a casual listener, I was surprised to learn that some of my favorite songs of theirs weren't covers of old blues classics. I was fairly certain that "Whippin' Post" was an old blues classic. Nope. Gregg wrote it. He also wrote "Midnight Rider," and "It's Not By Cross To Bear."  Not songs you'd expect to written by someone who spent most of his childhood in military school!

If you want to immerse yourself into the blues, Allman Brothers Band style, go pick up the album "Fillmore East."  Here's a little taste.