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Album Review: Gregg Allman – Low Country Blues



Gregg Allman didn’t have to choose a bunch of little-known blues songs with popular names behind them for his seventh solo album (his first being Laid Back in 1973), but he did—and the result is a straight-ahead set of approachable blues tunes.

Covering such artists as Junior Wells, B.B. King, and Otis Rush, Greg Allman’s Low Country Blues is a decent, twelve-song set of organic, laid-back blues tunes, complete with ghost-like Hammond B3 organ and some fine guitar work from the former Allman Brothers front man. While these songs don’t exactly rise up and take a blues listener’s ears by storm, they do add up to one of Allman’s better solo releases.

For some reason, Allman’s past solo efforts have flown under the radar of even diehard Allman Brothers fans, including 1997’s Searching For Simplicity, in which Allman seemed to lack direction and passion throughout most of the songs.

Low Country Blues is slightly elevated from past solo albums, thanks to some material and a singer who truly seems to be “feeling” the music that he’s singing. While the songs on the album are quite customary and surely won’t blow you away as far as blues music goes, they will advance front-and-center when compared to Allman’s past releases.

“Tears, Tears, Tears” has a background wash of organ playing alongside Allman’s laid-back vocal style, which is a typical blues feel with a late-night sound. The reciprocal of this tune may be Bobby Bland’s “Blind Man,” a vibrant, horn-infused belching from Allman that proves he still has some gas left in the tank.

Elsewhere, “Floating Bridge” is raw and simple, relying on its see-saw rhythm and back-lighting of the B3 to soothe its sorrowful aura, while “Just Another Rider” may be the strongest track on the album; an Allman and Haynes (Warren Haynes from The Allman Brothers Band) written collaboration that has an upront rock attitude and a bluesy sheen that mixes well throughout the song—accompanied by some fine guitar styling near the song’s end.

So-so efforts like the “Blueberry Hill”-sounding “Please Accept My Love” and Junior Wells’ “Little By Little” are standard blues fare with dashes of keyboard raining here and there for color.

Allman’s talents can be appreciated on “My Love Is Your Love,” which sports a slippery, back-porch mood. Down-home and pure, this tune may be the best example of Allman’s ability to capture a true, blues essence.

Gregg Allman took the right approach on this album. Yes, the songs are covers, but they are somewhat obscure as far as blues songs go, which in turn gives Allman a chance to sing them with his own style of panache and gritty flair—and he does accomplish this.

As far as Allman’s solo repertoire is concerned, it’s the rawest and bluesiest out of all his own efforts. Extreme blues lovers may not find any “wow factor“ in the songs chosen here, but long-time fans of both his solo work and The Allman Brothers Band will notice that Gregg may have hit the nail a little stronger this time; it’s a good blues album, but it’s a great Gregg Allman album.

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