Music

Ten of Gregg Allman’s Must-Hear Performances

These lesser-known tracks showcase the gone-but-never-forgotten rocker’s place in Southern music history

photo: Danny Clinch


When Gregg Allman passed away in May, I expected to hear from all of my music-nerd friends reminiscing about the epic “Mountain Jam” improvisation in At Fillmore East or how many of Allman’s live shows they saw. (For the record, I saw the Allman Brothers Band band twelve times, but funnily enough, never in the South; they all were at the Beacon Theater in New York City during the band’s infamous Peakin’ at Beacon March runs.) But what surprised me was how many other friends/relatives/acquaintances I heard from, ones whom I wouldn’t have dreamt would be Allman fans, lamenting his passing. So, in that spirit, whether you’re a superfan or a casual listener, here’s a playlist of some deeper cuts that shows how great and far-reaching Allman’s influence really was.


“Demons”
No Stranger to the Dark: The Best of Gregg Allman

Allman’s howl at the :50 mark shows why he’s one of the greatest blues singers in music history.


“Before the Bullets Fly”
Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, Georgia

The live version of the title track from the Gregg Allman Band’s 1988 album trades the original’s gloss for some much-needed grit.


“All My Friends”
Laid Back

Tucked away on side B of Laid Back, the sweeping “All My Friends” is Allman at his most contemplative. The song was written by Allman pal Scott Boyer after some 50-odd friends crashed at his rented house in Gainesville, Florida, before the owner kicked them all out.


“The Dark End of the Street”
Searching for Simplicity

Allman’s version of the 1967 soul number—originally made famous by Memphis singer James Carr—is a devastating weeper.


“Oncoming Traffic”
The Gregg Allman Tour

It’s just Allman at the piano and it happens to be the favorite song of Allman’s best friend, Chank Middleton. That’s all you need to know.


“Just Another Rider”
Low Country Blues

The only original on Allman’s 2011 insta-classic Low Country Blues, it’s an evocative sequel to the ABB anthem “Midnight Rider.”


“Devil Got My Woman”
Low Country Blues

Allman’s eerie version of the Skip James blues classic will send shivers up your spine.


“Blind Bats and Swamp Rats”
Southern Blood

Johnny Jenkins’s voodoo power takes the shape of a slithery organ and evil guitar line that gives way to the heavenly vocals of the gospel quartet The McCrary Sisters.


“Song for Adam”
Southern Blood

Allman always felt this Jackson Browne song was an apt elegy for his brother, Duane. Minutes after approving the final mix of the song for his last album, Southern Blood, Gregg was finally reunited with him.


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