The Southern rock pioneers at their creative peak.
David Quantick 2011-10-19
Named after a quote from Duane Allman, 1972’s Eat a Peach is also a memorial to the genius guitarist, who was killed in a motorbike crash before the album was released. It’s also probably the foundation stone of Southern rock, one of the most popular sub-groups of 1970s American guitar music which evolved out of the Allmans’ work through the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band, and currently exists in rude, grinding health in the hands of The Black Crowes, Drive-By Truckers and others. As such it’s a great pioneer for a kind of music which, at its worst, is baccy-chawing good ol’ boy rock and, at its best, is funky soul music (perhaps best encapsulated by Skynyrd’s tribute to the South, Sweet Home Alabama).
Most of all, though, Eat a Peach will always be a memorial to Duane Allman’s fluid, slide-based blues playing (he’s also the man who played the great bit on Derek and the Dominos’ Layla). And it’s this brilliance that makes some of the more period moments bearable – most notably the 33-minute instrumental Mountain Jam (a track understandably left off the band’s live debut, At Fillmore East). There are also beautiful acoustic moments here, like the delicate Little Martha, but this is essentially well-played, surprisingly lean bluesy rock.
The Allmans continued without Duane – brother Gregg Allman even briefly married Cher, and they made an LP together under the amazing banner Allman and Woman – refined their sound with hits like Ramblin’ Man and the Top Gear classic Jessica, and still exist in various forms out there (Gregg released an acclaimed solo album, Low Country Blues, in 2011). But here you’ll find them at a creative peak, albeit one that involves half-an-hour-long live jams.