Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hey Jude by Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Lefsetz pointed me to a fucking great min-documentary (those wizards at the BBC will do a doc on almost anything; they were VICE decades before most VICE reporters were even born) about the history of Southern Rock.

It wasn't so much an overview as it was a biography of the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Both 1970s bands cut their teeth in the Southern club circuit for several years honing their skills. The musicians in both bands were complete outlaws. The music industry saw them as drunken rednecks, while racist and narrow-minded Southerners dismissed them as long-haired hippies. That's why those bands really knew how to belt out the blues. They lived that anguish and turmoil, but put their own modern rock-n-roll twist onto things.

Duane Allman is the greatest guitarist I've ever heard. No exceptions. Duane is like Clapton and Trey and Miles Davis all rolled into one skinny redneck. But Duane died young. Too young. We never really got to hear what he could really do because he died in a motorcycle crash in Macon, GA. Duane Allman was 27. Urban legend suggested he was killed by a peach truck, hence the cover of Eat of Peach. One thing is for sure... Duane died in a wreck with his motorcycle and some sort of truck. A year later, the Allmans' bass player died in a horrific motorcycle accident, which happened four blocks from where Duane died.

And you know the tragedy that befell Lynyrd Skynyrd. 1977 Plane crash. It took off from Greenville, SC en route to Baton Rogue. Half of the band died in a tragic plane crash in the swamps of Mississippi, which is how the music world lost the barefoot troubadour Ronnie Van Zant.

The doc is good. Definitely worth a watch. It tells the stories about two epic southern rock bands, plus the two devastating tragedies encompassed both bands. The Allman Brothers carried on without Duane. They had no choice. As Greg Allman said, if they didn't keep playing, they'd all end up jail or dead or dealing drugs.

For non-fans of Duane Allman, his guitar work is most known on Eric Clapton's Layla. He's one of the dueling guitars you hear during the sick instrumental. Duane originally sat in with Clapton while Clapton recorded an album in Miami. That's how talented Duane was... everyone wanted to hire him to play slide guitar on their own albums. Duane was channeling the ghosts of the Delta blues and trying to play Coltrane-like scales using his guitar. He was true alchemist, willing to mix in everything and anything.

Probably my most favorite Duane riff is at the end of a cover of Hey Jude by Wilson Pickett. Duane's solo is barely a minute long and you have to wait until the end of the song to hear it, but there's more soul and gravitas in that quick burst than there is in all the soulless music ever created in the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the clip Pauly, a little gem for both artists.