Contact Us

Duane Allman, ‘Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective’ – Album Review

Duane Allman Skydog
Rounder

Before the Allman Brothers Band hit it big, guitarist Duane Allman had played with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Boz Scaggs and others. After their breakthrough live album ‘At Fillmore East,’ he continued working as a busy session musician, clocking gigs with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Derek & the Dominos and Laura Nyro. Through it all he established himself as one of rock’s great instrumentalists; a master axman with a show-stopping signature style who’d step out of the spotlight and let others shine.

The seven-disc, 129-track ‘Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective’ documents his short, but surprisingly packed career (Allman died in a motorcycle accident in 1971 at the age of 24). The box is arranged more or less chronologically, so it unspools as Allman’s musical history, from his scrappy early days in garage and R&B cover groups to the groundbreaking southern rock he played with the Allman Brothers Band.

And those early days were a bit rough. The first disc is made up almost entirely of familiar covers like ‘Turn on Your Love Light,’ ‘What’d I Say,’ ‘Crossroads’ and even the Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’ by forgotten groups the Escorts, the Allman Joys and Hour Glass.

But Allman’s distinct playing and burning leads eventually reveal themselves, giving way to his much-heralded session work with ‘60s soul-music giants who recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala. He still played cover songs — ‘Light My Fire’ (Clarence Carter), ‘Hey Jude’ (Pickett), ‘The Weight’ (Franklin) — but his fluid solos, and particularly his searing slide work, give them their own personalities. Allman’s greatest work, though, can be found in the band he co-led with brother Gregg — ‘Skydog’ doesn’t overload on Allman Brothers material; instead, it collects a handful of representative tracks — and in Derek & the Dominos with Eric Clapton (ditto).

As with any project of this size and scope, ‘Skydog’ plods at times. While the early recordings from the pre-Allman Brothers groups he played in with Gregg offer reference points, there’s nothing too remarkable about their covers of ‘60s garage-band staples like ‘Spoonful’ and ‘Shapes of Things.’ And the zigzagging among the disparate artists Allman worked with later in the decade — at one point, ‘Skydog’ tears through Ronnie Hawkins, Lulu and Johnny Jenkins — can seem somewhat unfocused. But Allman’s career was like that: occasionally messy, often brilliant. ‘Skydog’ serves that legacy well.

Next: Top 10 Duane Allman Studio Sessions

More From 106.9 The Rock

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://1069therock.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on KLUB 106.9 The Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on KLUB 106.9 The Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!