Gregg Allman

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Gregg Allman

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This midline-priced best-of surveys Gregg Allman's stop-and-start solo career of the 1970s, which he conducted during hiatuses in the career of the Allman Brothers Band that, at the time, were thought of either as temporary or permanent. The first track, "Melissa," actually is an Allmans recording from the 1972 Eat a Peach album that was a minor singles chart entry and that serves as a good introduction to the set, since it is a Gregg Allman-written and -sung ballad. Following the success of 1973's Brothers and Sisters, Allman cut a solo album, the aptly titled Laid Back, from which five tracks have been excerpted, among them his remake of the Allman Brothers song "Midnight Rider," which became a Top 20 hit. On his own, Allman is a much more mellow performer, contrasting the rock & roll drive of the band with a ballad style that invites in strings and horns, as well as the occasional steel guitar, which turns up in his cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days." The version of the Allmans' "Dreams" comes from The Gregg Allman Tour, a live track that re-conceives the song, even finding room for a lengthy saxophone solo. The last three tracks come from the only moderately successful 1977 solo album Playin' Up a Storm, recorded at a time when the Allman Brothers had broken up and Allman had formed his own backup band. The compilation rescues three appealing ballads from it, and they are in keeping with the soft tones of the rest of the disc. Gregg Allman's solo forays have proven to be a sidelight to the career of his main band, but if you are a lover of his voice who has always wished you didn't have to sit through all those guitar solos, this is the collection for you.

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