MIDNIGHT RIDER-A TRIBUTE TO THE ALLMAN BROTHERS.

MIDNIGHT RIDER-A TRIBUTE TO THE ALLMAN BROTHERS.

Earlier this year, Cleopatra Records released what was one of the best compilations of 2014, so far, A Psych Tribute To The Doors. The latest instalment in the “Tribute To” series is The Allman Brothers, one of the founding fathers of Southern Rock.

Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers  was released on  Cleopatra Records on 16th June 2014. It features twelve tracks. Eleven of the tracks were taken from The Allman Brothers’ discography. The other track was taken from a Greg Allman album. These tracks were recorded by an all-star cast.

Among the luminaries to feature on Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers  are Pat Travers, Leon Russell, Molly Hatchett, The Artimus Pyle Band, Steve Morse, Tinsley Ellis, Eric Gales and Eli Cook. This shows just how highly regarded The Allman Brothers are among their fellow musicians.

This isn’t surprising. Look at The Allman Brothers recording career. It began in 1969 with their eponymous debut album. It failed to chart. So did The Allman Brothers’ sophomore album, Idlewild South, which was released in 1970. Commercial success and critical acclaim wasn’t far away though.

1971 saw The Allman Brothers released Live At Filmore East. It reached number thirteen in the US Billboard 200 charts and was certified platinum. So was 1972s Eat A Peach, which reached number four in the US Billboard 200 charts. 1973s Brothers and Sisters gave The Allman Brothers their only number one album and their third, and final platinum album. After this The Allman Brothers never enjoyed the same commercial success.

After a gap of two years, Win, Lose Or Draw was released. It reached number five in the US Billboard 200 charts. This gave The Allman Brothers their first gold album. There was problems within the band. They weren’t getting on, like they had in the past. It was affecting the music, Win, Lose Or Draw didn’t match the quality of previous albums. The tension within the band was affecting the quality of music. When this started to happen, it was time for The Allman Brothers called it a day…albeit for a few years. 

1979 saw The Allman Brothers return with their seventh studio album, Enlightened Rogues. It featured new guitarist Dan Toler and bassist David Goldflies. They played their part in an album that reached number five in the US Billboard 200 charts. It was also certified gold. This was The Allman Brothers’ penultimate gold disc. They’d not enjoy the same commercial success for another fifteen years.

Reach For The Sky was released in 1980, and reached number twenty-seven in the US Billboard 200 charts. 1981s Brothers Of The Road saw another change in lineup. Dummer Jai Johanny Johanson didn’t feature on the album. It’s the only Allman Brothers’ album he doesn’t feature on. It reached just number fifty-three in the US Billboard 200 charts. At least it featured The Allman Brothers last top forty hit, Straight From The Heart. However, this was The Allman Brothers’ last album for nine years.

The nineties saw The Allman Brothers make a return. Their nineties debut was 1990s Seven Turns, which reached number fifty-three in the US Billboard 200 charts. 1991s Shades Of Two Worlds was The Allman Brothers’ least successful studio album, stalling at number eighty-five in the US Billboard 200 charts. Things however, were about improved for The Allman Brothers.

In 1994, The Allman Brother released Where It All Begins. It reached number forty-five in the US Billboard 200 charts, and was certified gold. This wasThe Allman Brothers last album to be certified gold. After this, it would be another nine years before The Allman Brother released another studio album.

2003 saw The Allman Brothers release their twelfth studio album, Hittin’ the Note. It reached number thirty-seven. This was the highest chart position of any Allman Brothers’ album since 1980s Reach for the Sky. This seemed a fitting finale to The Allman Brothers’ thirty-four years recording career. During that period, they released twelve studio albums

These twelve studio albums released by The Allman Brothers, feature a plethora of possible material for artists looking to record a tribute to The Allman Brothers. However, eventually, eleven Allman Brothers and one Greg Allman album were chosen for Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers, which I’ll tell you about.

Opening Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers, is Pat Travers’ cover of Midnight Rider. This is a track from The Allman Brothers’ 1970 sophomore album Idlewild South. Canadian rocker, Pat Travers, delivers what’s best described as a vocal powerhouse, as he turns the track into an anthem.

 Ramblin’ Man is regarded as the Southern Rock national anthem. It’s an Allman Brothers’ classic. The Oak Ridge Boys are given the job of covering this track. This is an inspired choice. They don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Instead, they deliver a fitting, country-tinged homage to one of the founding fathers of Southern Rock.

Molly Hatchet are were founded back in 1975. Since then, they’ve been playing Southern Rock. Their first three albums were their most successful. 1978s Molly Hatchet and 1980s Beatin’ The Odds were certified platinum. 1979s Flirtin’ With Disaster was their Magnus Opus. It was certified triple-platinum. These three albums ooze quality. So does Molly Hatchet’s cover of Melissa, a track from The Allman Brothers’ 1972 classic album, Eat A Peach. Its ethereal beauty makes this one of the highlights of Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers.

The Allman Brothers covered Blind Willie McTell’s Blue Sky on 1972s Eat The Peach. For newcomers to The Allman Brothers’ music, Eat The Peach is the perfect starting place. On Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers, The Artimus Pyle Band cover Blue Sky. It’s a fusion of Southern Rock, country and blues. Wistful and beautiful it’s a track that’ll have you digging into The Artimus Pyle Band’s back-catalogue.

Jimmy Hall and Steve Morse join forces to cover Whipping Post. It featured on The Allman Brothers 1969 eponymous debut album. Here, the track is reinvented. This cover is best describe as a fusion of drama, frustration, anger and sadness. New life and meaning is breathed into a familiar track.

Roy Rogers, John Wesley and Jim Eshelman collaborate to cover Jessica. It’s a track for the 1973 album Brothers and Sisters. It also featured on the 1976 live album Wipe The Windows, Check The Oil, Dollar Gas. Jessica is a stonewall Southern Rock classic. Again, Roy, John and Jim don’t try and reinvent the track. Instead, they replicate this classic track, which epitomises everything that’s good about Southern Rock.

Robben Ford and Martin Gerschwitz cover One Way Out on Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers. It’s a case of playing to their strengths. They unleash some spellbinding, scorching guitar licks during another glorious example of Southern Rock at its very best.

One of the most beautiful songs on Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers is Soulshine. This is down to the duet between Debbie Davies and Melvin Seals. They’re the perfect foil for each other. Their vocals are emotive, heartfelt and needy. Accompanying them is an arrangement is a fusion of Southern Rock, country and blues. The result is a quite beautiful and emotive track.

Statesboro Blues was a staple of many an Allman Brothers’ concert. It’s also featured on many of the live albums The Allman Brothers released. Here, Eli Cook covers Statesboro Blues. From the get-go, he combines blues and rock. Crucial to the song’s success and his kerosene soaked vocal and scorching guitars. The result is a blistering, blues-rock cover of an Allman Brothers’ staple.

Memory Of Elizabeth Reed featured on Idlewild South, The Allman Brothers’ 1970 sophomore album. Eric Gales covers Memory Of Elizabeth Reed. He combines a mellow, laid-back sound with elements of drama. There’s even a nod to vintage Santana. Later, it’s all change as Eric delivers what can only be described as a guitar masterclass. All you can do is sit back and enjoy the maestro showboating.

Commander Cody and Sonny Landreth collaborate on Southbound, a track from The Allman Brothers’ 1973 album Brothers And Sisters. It’s given a blistering blues-rock makeover. With Commander Cody taking charge of the vocal, while Sonny Landreth unleashes some spellbinding guitar licks. He’s a master of the slide-guitar, who released his debut album Blues Attack in 1981. Since then, he’s been honing his trademark sound, which proves the perfect backdrop for Commander Cody’s worldweary vocal.

I’m No Angel closes Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers. It’s a collaboration between Leon Russell, Reese Wynans and Ronnie Earl. This isn’t an Allman Brothers’ track. No. It was released by Greg Allman as a single in 1987. With Leon delivering a grizzled vocal, Reese on keyboards and Ronnie on guitar play their part in a freewheeling slice of Southern Rock. This proves the perfect finale to  Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers.

The tribute album isn’t a new concept. Far from it. There’s been plenty of them released over the years. Previously, they’ve differed in quality. Previously, I’ve described them as the good, bad and downright ugly. No wonder. Many are thrown together, cash-ins. Often, they’re by labels that should’ve known better. These thrown-together compilations have since become stains on the record company’s discographies. Other labels take more care over tribute albums. This includes  Cleopatra Records.

Cleopatra Records released Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers on 16th June 2014. It features twelve tracks. They’re all filler no killer. No wonder. Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers features an all-star cast. There’s contributions from Pat Travers, Leon Russell, Molly Hatchett, The Artimus Pyle Band, Steve Morse, Tinsley Ellis, Eric Gales and Eli Cook. The result is a fitting followup to A Psych Tribute To The Doors, which Cleopatra Records released earlier in 2014. Both albums have one thing in common, their quality.

In the case of Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers, it’s a fitting tribute to one of the founding fathers of Southern Rock. Over twelve tracks, an all-star cast combines Southern Rock with elements of blues, country and rock. it’s a glorious musical melange, that anyone who loves either Southern Rock or the music of the seventies will enjoy. Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers is also a reminder of one of the most successful groups of the early-seventies.

Often, when people talk about the music of the early-seventies, they overlook The Allman Brothers. As a result, they’re one of the most underrated groups of the seventies. They don’t receive the plaudits of their contemporaries. They enjoyed commercial success and critical acclaim. However, like many groups, they brought about their own downfall. Tension within the group saw them split-up in 1975. They didn’t release another studio album until 1979. Although they enjoyed some commercial success after that, they never enjoyed the same commercial success. Their time had passed. However, forever, The Allman Brothers will be remembered as one of the founding fathers of Southern Rock. So, The Allman Brothers definitely deserve the great and good of music to pay tribute to them.

As tribute albums go, Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers is just like A Psych Tribute To The Doors. It’s without doubt, one of the best tribute album money can buy. Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers is a perfect reminder of one of the founding fathers of Southern Rock. The Allman Brothers were also one of the most successful groups in the history of Southern Rock. That’s why the calibre of artists have come together to pay homage to The Allman Brothers. They’ve done The Allman Brothers proud, on Midnight Rider-A Tribute To The Allman Brothers, which is a glorious reminder of the undisputed Kings of Southern Rock.

MIDNIGHT RIDER-A TRIBUTE TO THE ALLMAN BROTHERS.

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