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Rock - Released September 8, 2017 | New Rounder

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Rock - Released October 1, 1973 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released September 8, 2017 | New Rounder

"My Only True Friend," from Southern Blood, Gregg Allman's final album, is a cipher, much like the man himself -- private, reserved, and complex. Though twin, ringing, blues-drenched guitars introduce it, the song just as quickly morphs into a ballad: "You and I both know, this river will surely flow to an end/Keep me in your heart...I hope you're haunted by the music of my soul...But you and I both know, the road is my only true friend...." The blues guitars cascade in again, adding resonance. This is the only track here that Allman co-wrote, but it's fine enough to join the shortlist of his classics -- "Midnight Rider," "Melissa," "Ain't Wastin' Time No More," etc. When Allman and producer Don Was commenced work on Southern Blood, the clock was already ticking. The singer had undergone liver transplant surgery, but the cancer had returned. Tunes and charts were painstakingly chosen. Allman's road band and some friends were invited to FAME Studios at Muscle Shoals, the same place that Duane Allman had recorded his initial Stax sessions, and where, according to Was, the Allman Brothers had their first rehearsals. Following "My Only True Friend" is a stunning reading of Tim Buckley's "Once I Was," which accentuates its surrender, followed by the bitter acceptance in Bob Dylan's "Going Going Gone": "I'm closing the book on pages and text/And I don't really care what happens next...." But it's not so cut and dried. That acceptance is balanced by a Celtic-tinged, even hopeful read of the Grateful Dead's hymn-like "Black Muddy River." But Allman didn't let his blues and R&B roots to be scattered by the winds. He delivers Willie Dixon's "I Love the Life I Live" with passion, fire, and humor as he celebrates hedonism. In Lowell George's "Willin'," Allman looks back without surrender; he expresses the desire to keep rolling along even when discovering the highway's dead end in his headlights. He offers Johnny Jenkins' hoodoo blues "Blind Bats and Swamp Rats" from 1970's Capricorn-issued Ton Ton Macoute with vengeance, as if to make up for lost time. (He was the only Allman member who didn't play on the original). Muscle Shoals makes its voice heard in Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn's 1967 deep soul single "Out of Left Field." Allman imbues it with grit, heart, tenderness, and power enhanced by backing vocals from the McCrary Sisters and a powerful three-piece horn section. Jackson Browne's "Song for Adam," written for a lost comrade, features the songwriter on backing vocals. In delivering this song, Gregg is obviously singing about Duane, whose premature death shaped his own life. Greg Leisz's whining pedal steel becomes another singing voice, especially at the end when Allman gets too choked up to deliver the final two lines -- and Was didn't even try to make him. Southern Blood is almost perfect; there isn't a better final album Allman could have made. It belongs on the shelf between 1973's Laid Back and the mysteriously withdrawn but amazing One More Try: An Anthology. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released August 7, 2015 | New Rounder

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Gregg Allman gave this concert -- captured in his first-ever solo home video release, accompanied by a CD-only version -- on January 14, 2014, just a few months before the Allman Brothers Band said farewell with a series of concerts at the Beacon Theater in New York City. The Beacon was an unofficial home base for the Allmans -- they played over 200 shows there since 1989 -- but Macon, Georgia was their original stomping ground, so Gregg's 2014 show was something of a homecoming. Appropriately, Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA exudes relaxed warmth, a comfortable groove that allows Allman and crew to slip into solos without losing sight of the song. That's the big difference between Back to Macon, GA and an epic Allman Brothers Band show: apart from the epic encore of "One Way Out," everything is relatively concise, clocking in around the five-minute mark. This allows Allman to fit 16 songs into 90 minutes and while all the expected staples are here -- the show opens with "Statesboro Blues" and "I'm No Angel," then concludes with "Whipping Post," with "Ain't Wastin' Time No More," "Melissa," and "Midnight Rider" all making appearances along the way -- there are a few deep dives into his solo catalog that help give this show a nice dimension. More than anything, this live show is distinguished by its casualness -- there are hits, but not enough for this to be an oldies revue; there are obscurities, but they don't distract; there is virtuosity, but no showboating; there's stylistic diversity, but it feels unified -- and that's why it's worth experiencing: it's an old pro whose home is a stage, no matter where that stage is and who happens to be on it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released October 16, 1997 | Sony 550 Music

In his initial solo recordings, Gregg Allman tried for a more eclectic pop approach than the Southern blues-rock of his day job with the Allman Brothers Band. His later solo work, done during breaks in the Brothers' career, was much closer to the traditional ABB sound. On his first solo album since the Allmans' re-formation in 1989, he again makes what is essentially an Allman Brothers Band record without the other members, except new guitarist Jack Pearson, whose Duane Allman/Dickey Betts-style slide work is all over the disc. Allman signals the same-but-different approach by opening the album with an "unplugged" version of the Allmans' signature song, "Whipping Post," and though he adds horns to some tracks for a more R&B feel, the rest of the album finds him growling through standard-issue blues-rock, some of the songs originals, some covers, among them an excellent version of "Dark End of the Street" and an arrangement of John Hiatt's "Memphis in the Meantime" that makes it sound like a Betts country-rocker. Recovering from personnel changes, the Allman Brothers Band didn't release an album in 1997; this record should help tide their fans over. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released October 1, 1973 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released January 31, 2012 | Epic - Legacy

Gregg Allman's volume in Sony Legacy's Playlist series contains six of the 13 cuts from his 1997 album Searching for Simplicity, produced by Tom Dowd and engineered by Johnny Sandlin; that set also featured Oteil Burbridge and a young Derek Trucks. There are three tracks -- including the hit title track -- from I'm No Angel, and four from Before the Bullets Fly. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released March 26, 2002 | Mercury Records

This midline-priced best-of surveys Gregg Allman's stop-and-start solo career of the 1970s, which he conducted during hiatuses in the career of the Allman Brothers Band that, at the time, were thought of either as temporary or permanent. The first track, "Melissa," actually is an Allmans recording from the 1972 Eat a Peach album that was a minor singles chart entry and that serves as a good introduction to the set, since it is a Gregg Allman-written and -sung ballad. Following the success of 1973's Brothers and Sisters, Allman cut a solo album, the aptly titled Laid Back, from which five tracks have been excerpted, among them his remake of the Allman Brothers song "Midnight Rider," which became a Top 20 hit. On his own, Allman is a much more mellow performer, contrasting the rock & roll drive of the band with a ballad style that invites in strings and horns, as well as the occasional steel guitar, which turns up in his cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days." The version of the Allmans' "Dreams" comes from The Gregg Allman Tour, a live track that re-conceives the song, even finding room for a lengthy saxophone solo. The last three tracks come from the only moderately successful 1977 solo album Playin' Up a Storm, recorded at a time when the Allman Brothers had broken up and Allman had formed his own backup band. The compilation rescues three appealing ballads from it, and they are in keeping with the soft tones of the rest of the disc. Gregg Allman's solo forays have proven to be a sidelight to the career of his main band, but if you are a lover of his voice who has always wished you didn't have to sit through all those guitar solos, this is the collection for you. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released October 1, 1974 | Island Def Jam

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Pop/Rock - Released June 6, 2002 | Epic - Legacy

Even if you accept that a best-of for Gregg Allman can focus wholly on his solo career (as this one does) and not include any of his work with the Allman Brothers, this could not by any stretch be considered "the best of Gregg Allman." It's really the best of what he's recorded for Sony, which is really an entirely different animal. That means there's nothing from his three 1970s albums, which most listeners would view as containing his best solo work; the chronological stretch on this comp only covers the last half of the 1980s and the 1990s. Like, say, Rod Stewart, this was a time in which his recordings had really only a shadow of their old power, although (like Stewart) his voice was still in good shape and he didn't stoop to levels as low as Stewart did. Given the pool of what it has to work with, this disc is a reasonable selection, evenly spread between highlights of the I'm No Angel, Just Before the Bullets Fly, and Searching for Simplicity albums. And there are a few extras that might make this worth getting for Allman completists: previously unreleased live cuts from 1987 ("Melissa") and 1998 (his long-lived staple cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days"), a studio outtake from 1985, and "Brother to Brother," a duet with Lori Yates that was on the 1989 Next of Kin soundtrack. Overall, though, it's hardly a guide to even some of his best work, the 1980s tracks suffering from slick period production and unmemorable AOR material. His voice is certainly operating at a level above the quality of many of the songs, and is better served by the occasional cuts on which the blues-soul elements come more to the foreground, like "I've Got News for You" and the cover of "Dark End of the Street." ~ Richie Unterberger
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Rock - Released August 7, 2015 | New Rounder

Gregg Allman gave this concert -- captured in his first-ever solo home video release, accompanied by a CD-only version -- on January 14, 2014, just a few months before the Allman Brothers Band said farewell with a series of concerts at the Beacon Theater in New York City. The Beacon was an unofficial home base for the Allmans -- they played over 200 shows there since 1989 -- but Macon, Georgia was their original stomping ground, so Gregg's 2014 show was something of a homecoming. Appropriately, Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA exudes relaxed warmth, a comfortable groove that allows Allman and crew to slip into solos without losing sight of the song. That's the big difference between Back to Macon, GA and an epic Allman Brothers Band show: apart from the epic encore of "One Way Out," everything is relatively concise, clocking in around the five-minute mark. This allows Allman to fit 16 songs into 90 minutes and while all the expected staples are here -- the show opens with "Statesboro Blues" and "I'm No Angel," then concludes with "Whipping Post," with "Ain't Wastin' Time No More," "Melissa," and "Midnight Rider" all making appearances along the way -- there are a few deep dives into his solo catalog that help give this show a nice dimension. More than anything, this live show is distinguished by its casualness -- there are hits, but not enough for this to be an oldies revue; there are obscurities, but they don't distract; there is virtuosity, but no showboating; there's stylistic diversity, but it feels unified -- and that's why it's worth experiencing: it's an old pro whose home is a stage, no matter where that stage is and who happens to be on it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 1, 1973 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released June 16, 2015 | New Rounder

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Blues - Released December 7, 2010 | New Rounder

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Rock - Released July 17, 2015 | New Rounder