Great Allman Brothers Show at Wolfgang's Vault

This weekend, we’ve been listening to a 12/31/73 New Year’s Eve show by the Allman Brothers, via Wolfgang’s Vault.

This set, from San Francisco’s Cow Palace, is full of highlights, including a magical, half-hour version of Les Brers In A Minor, with Jerry Garcia and Bill Kruetzman sitting in.  But as a huge fan of the Chuck Leavell-era Allmans, I have to share this excellent version of Southbound.

Wolfgang’s Vault is a great place to find some great, live music from back in the day when the music actually mattered.  Back when the Monkees were the exception, and not the rule

Kids & Music: Are the Allman Brothers the New Vic Damone?

vicdamoneMike Miller at Be a Good Dad has a post today about kids and music. Specifically transitioning kids from kids music to non-kid music. He talks about a new CD that, he says, has Metallica songs done in a more kid friendly manner. I’m not a Metallica fan, but I have tried, and mostly failed, to introduce my kids to the music I enjoy.

When I was a kid, I thought most of the music my parents listened to was horrible. I remember records by Johnny Mathis, Vic Damone, Perry Como, etc. I still think that stuff is horrible, so it wasn’t purely a parent/child issue. So how do you expose your kids to your music in a way that minimizes the chance they will write all of it off as music for old fogies? In other words, how to you keep the Allman Brothers from becoming your kids’ Vic Damone?

I’ve tried a few approaches. Initially, I would occasionally call one or more of my kids into my study and play selected songs for them- Grateful Dead, Beatles, Muddy Waters, etc. Other than briefly making my oldest a James Brown fan, this plan didn’t work. They viewed it as a chore and couldn’t wait to be freed to resume playing, etc.

Then I bought them some “transitional records,” like any of the excellent records by former Del Fuegos frontman Dan Zanes. Dan calls his records “family music,” and that’s a great description. Other great transitional records include Jerry Garcia and David Grisman’s Not For Kids Only and Jonathan Edwards’ Little Hands. (Warning: if you have daughters, you better have a crying towel or two ready the first time you listen to the title track on Little Hands).

While I got some good new music out of the deal, that plan didn’t really work either, as my kids are much more interested in the Cheetah Girls, Hannah Montana, High School Musical and the other music they hear on the Disney Channel, etc. In other words, they are interested in music being made by kids- not so much music made by grownups for kids.

All of which led me to my current approach. Other than pointing out the occasional guitar riff or piano solo, I don’t try to teach them about my music. I just play it and hope they’ll come to appreciate it via osmosis.

Only time will tell if it works, but it’s the only chance I have to save the Allman Brothers.

An Old Jones Rediscovered

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No record on earth is more associated with the beginnings of my love of music than The Allman Brothers’ Brothers and Sisters album. I became an Allman Brothers fan the very first time I heard Idlewild South (and specifically In Memory of Elizabeth Reed). Then when I heard At Fillmore East, I decided they were my favorite band (they’ve been neck and neck with the Grateful Dead pretty much ever since). The future was bright with the promise of new music until Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were killed in motorcycle accidents within about a year of each other.

When Brothers and Sisters was released after various delays, no one knew what to expect. What we got was an instant classic, with Dickey Betts moving easily onto center stage and Greg Allman sounding as soulful as ever. The record epitomizes southern rock and roll- it’s a soulful mix of rock, blues and country. It is not an overstatement to say that if there was a soundtrack to my youth, this would be it. When I listen to it, every single song reminds me of somebody I knew back then or some crazy thing we did. At one time or another during every stage of my life, I have rediscovered how much I love this record and created a new set of memories and associations. That’s what is happening now in my house. My kids are sick of hearing how incredible the opening of Southbound is; and how great the piano is in Come and Go Blues. When I saw the Dickey Betts concert on HDNet, I made them watch it with me (fantastic show; check it out).

There are 7 absolute classics on this record. The song most people know, Ramblin’ Man, while a great song, is no better than the 5th best song on the record, behind Wasted Words, Come and Go Blues, Southbound and Jessica. The other two songs (Jelly Jelly and Pony Boy) are also tens on a 10-scale.

I didn’t have this record on CD until a couple of weeks ago. I realized that it was crazy to have as much music as I do on my music server without having maybe the greatest rock and roll album of all time. So I bought the CD and have been listening to it non-stop ever since.

If there’s a song in the world that rocks better than Southbound (playing on my stereo right now), somebody point me to it.