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| posted on 6/2/2011 at 07:05 PM|
Gregg Allman to perform at bergenPAC
Thursday, June 2, 2011 Last updated: Thursday June 2, 2011, 7:39 AM
BY JIM BECKERMAN
Two words: "Whipping Post."
Yelled out at a Gregg Allman concert, it means that someone wants to hear one of the greatest and most masochistic of all rock anthems, made famous by the granddaddy of all Southern rock groups, The Allman Brothers Band.
"I love that song," Allman says. "It's real good. Only, ask me at the end of a tour, I'm about wore out with playing it."
Allman might well feel like he's been tied to the whipping post recently. Between his diagnosis of hepatitis C in 2007, the liver transplant in 2010 and the subsequent recovery that caused him to miss several gigs (including one at Englewood's bergenPAC in January; tonight's show is the rain date), it's been a fraught couple of years.
"I still have little residual pains and aches," he says. "I have to take it kind of slow. I don't move as fast as I used to. I think that'll go away."
Oddly, given his recent history, Allman was at one time studying for a medical degree. Which made him, during last year's troubles, an unusually savvy patient. "[The doctors] were a little astonished," he says. "I used a couple of terms on 'em."
The other odd thing is that, amid his health issues, Allman has managed to be so productive.
There's a memoir, for starters, due out in 2012. Not really, says Allman, the "tell-all" book that some have been anticipating, all juicy details about his tabloid-fodder marriage to Cher (1975-1979), his drug arrests and motorcycle accidents, and so on.
"I'm not going to cuss everybody out who ever gave me a wrong turn," he says. "The purpose of the whole thing is to hold your interest. I'm gonna try to lean on the funny side. 'Cause man, I've had some yuks."
There's also his new album, "Low Country Blues" (his 11th as a solo artist), on Rounder, which came out this year. The album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, is a sampler of the kinds of classic blues tunes that Allman, a Nashville native, heard as a kid on Nashville's WLAC: songs like "Little By Little" (Junior Wells) and "I Can't Be Satisfied" (Muddy Waters).
Many of these tunes will be featured at bergenPAC, where the ace Hammond organist, smoky vocalist and songwriter will appear backed by piano, sax, guitar, bass and drums.
Of course Allman has to be mindful, in his shows, of getting the right mix. That is, he has to balance his own solo legacy, beginning in 1973 with his first album, "Laid Back" and including such hits as "I'm No Angel" (the unforgettable MTV video of the 1980s ends with him being hanged) and "Midnight Rider," with the vaster legacy of The Allman Brothers Band, formed in 1969 by Gregg and his late brother, guitarist Duane Allman.
You can expect a sampling of Allman Brothers hits at tonight's show, including possibly "Ramblin' Man," "Statesboro Blues" and yes, "Whipping Post."
"I'll be doing some of all of it," he says. "Songs that I wrote for the Brothers. … We try to rearrange them a little bit, and it all comes out real good. It's a little taste of it all."
Not every rock band leaves a legacy. The Allman Brothers, as they boogie on into the sunset, will leave two: They were the forerunner of the "Southern rock" tradition that gave the world Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels and Molly Hatchet, and they were one of the progenitors, along with The Grateful Dead, of the "jam band" movement that came into full flower with bands like Phish, Blues Traveler and String Cheese Incident.
Allman likes to say that The Allman Brothers are not a jam band, but "a band that jams."
"Well, a jam band is someone who jams constantly," he says. "They'll start a song, and it will go on. Just like we do – when we do it."
"I'm hung up on dreams I'll never see."
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