Allman and Woman

Two the Hard Way

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The perversely fascinating thing about this legendary, largely unheard disaster is that, in their Southern and Southern California conceptions of blue-eyed soul, Gregg Allman and Cher really are not that far apart. Allman, steeped in the sound of his blues heroes, emotes convincingly, of course, and Cher can act the part, so their duets aren't entirely without merit, at least when the material is as pedestrian as it is here. Although the music is mostly in Allman's Southern folk-blues-rock style, nobody is asking Cher to sing "One Way Out," and by following her husband's lead most of the time (a habit she no doubt learned with Sonny Bono), she doesn't get into too much trouble. (In fact, on Jackson Browne's "Shadow Dream Song," which wouldn't sound out of place on Allman's Laid Back solo album, you hardly notice her.) And Allman's grittiness frequently makes the songs sound more substantive than they are. Still, it's hard to get over the head-shaking unlikeliness of this musical union, and when they tackle a song standard such as "You've Really Got a Hold On Me" or (God help us!) "Love Me," you can tell how far below Allman's usual standards they actually are.

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