" One More Silver Dollar - The Solo Years 1973-1997 "
Finally Gregg Allman gets a well done and appropriate compilation of (mostly) his best solo tracks, as the Australian Raven Records label does a fine job selecting tunes from Gregg's (non-Allman Brothers) solo studio efforts that span more than twenty-five years from his six albums. Plus, we get a tune from Bonnie Bramlett's Ladies Choice where Gregg contributes with Don Robey and John Riley Brown's "Two Steps From the Blues."
Fortunately there aren't any cuts here from Allman and Woman that he cut with then wife Cher. Chronologically offered, this set highlights Gregg's debut 1973 Laid Back album which was produced by Johnny Sandlin and Gregg that featured a cross-section of New York City studio musicians, most notably David "Fathead" Newman, Buzzy Feiten, and Bill Stewart along with good old southern revelers Scott Boyer, Tommy Talton, Chuck Leavell, Jaimoe, Butch Trucks and others.
This is not a guitar album and is not reminiscent of any ABB record, even though they rework "Midnight Rider," and "Please Call Home" (The ABB version was proudly produced by Joel Dorn.). The drop dead gorgeous "Queen of Hearts" features a stellar workout from the sax of "Fathead' Newman. From the hard to find Gregg Allman Tour we get Oliver Sain's "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing," and Chuck Willis' classic "Feel So Bad" which are both down home romps that somewhat resembles the ABB's grittier side, (without dueling guitars) and are much more groove oriented.
Unfortunately the latter day albums show a decline in inspiration as rearranged covers of ABB's "Come and Go Blues" and "Whipping Post" are nothing memorable or special. What does work are Clarence Carter's "Sweet Feeling" (which really is Carter's "That Old Time Feeling") from the LA sessions of Playin' Up a Storm with Willie Weeks on bass, Neil Larsen's piano, Bill Stewart (again) on drums, and the hit "I'm No Angel" written by Tony Colton and Phil Palmer from the album of the same name.
There are two other Gregg Allman compilations, (both seem carelessly thrown together) Sony/Legacy's No Stranger to the Dark and Mercury's 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection, but Raven's edition is much more sensitive and caring considering the selections chosen. Plus they also offer excellent (six-page) liner notes from Ian McFarlane, and a detailed breakdown of which tracks were derived from the various Gregg Allman albums. My only issue is that it would have been nicer to have more specifics as to who played on each track, but it's a minor quibble, as McFarlane provides most of this info in his liners. Last but not least, this insightful collection is also re-mastered beautifully, and the audio quality is outstanding and even throughout. Enjoy Gregg, especially the vintage '70s tunes.
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com