If you think that The Allman Brothers Band would be hurting without
Dickey Betts, I have two answers to that situation that most people
felt was detrimental to the band, a guitar player named Warren Haynes
and a new album called Hittin The Note.
Not only is the music food for though, so is the cover of the album.
A small child stands in amazement at a mushroom growing out of barren
dry land with a herd of elephants coming straight at him. The boy
seems unaffected by what is coming his way because he is so amazed
with the mushroom. Can you imagine having that much focus? There is
a lot of meaning behind this image and when you open the case and
pull the CD out of the tray, there is a picture of several giant mushrooms
with a large crowd paying tribute to them (which is obviously a concert
crowd with mushrooms superimposed onto the image).
This has to be the best album that this band has recorded in 20 years.
It absolutely floored me. I listened to this CD several times while
shaking my head wondering where this band has been all these years.
When the first few notes of Firing Line strike an iron into the fire
and Gregg Allman starts singing, You have been raisin hell since you
were a child, you know without a doubt that the Allman Brothers are
back in big way. Allman has not lost anything in the vocal department
and Warren Haynes plays some of nastiest and meanest slide guitar
on the planet, not to mention summoning up some of the most commanding
and seasoned vocals in rock music. This is a band igniting their entire
set of spark plugs at the same time. They have regained the quintessential
spirit that drove them to great heights from 1969-1972.
Instrumental Illness is a remarkable flexing of their musical muscles.
Songs like that display the kind of talent that they have at their
disposal. Haynes and Allman alone are quite a combination, and then
you have Derek Trucks on slide guitar and Butch Trucks behind the
drum kit to kick up the energy level another few notches. Desdemona
has some tight riffs weaving a colorful quilt of rock-blues and a
peppering of jazz, which may surprise some of you long time fans.
There is not a song under four minutes on this entire album, it harkens
back to their heyday when album oriented rock was at its peak. Even
their cover of the Rolling Stones classic Heart of Stone is good,
and that usually does not work out very well when a band does a song
so far out of character, once again, it proves out their tremendous
resilience and talent. Some of the runs during the longer tracks are
reminiscent of when Duane Allman was with the band and when Eric Clapton
got together with him to make some of the most memorable blues-rock
music ever recorded with Derek and the Dominoes. I do not think I
could give this album a better compliment than that.
This is Southern Rock at its very best; it does not get any better
than this, period. Half the year is gone and I already know that this
album will make my top ten of 2003 without a problem. This music will
bring a tear to your eye and offer some of the most distinctive bone-chilling
guitar you will ever hear. If there is one album that is a must have
this year it is this one, get it.
1. Firing Line - 5:17
2. High Cost of Low Living - 7:52
3. Desdemona - 9:20
4. Woman Across the River - 5:51
5. Old Before My Time - 5:23
6. Who to Believe - 5:38
7. Maydell - 4:35
8. Rockin' Horse - 7:23
9. Heart of Stone - 5:06
10. Instrumental Illness - 12:17
11. Old Friend - 6:12
The Players Are:
Gregg Allman - Piano, Organ (Hammond B3), Vocals, Clavinet , Lead Vocals
Warren Haynes - Lead, Slide, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr),
Producer, Mixing (Left Side)
Oteil Burbridge - Bass
Jaimoe - Drums
Marc Qui¤ones - Percussion, Conga
Butch Trucks - Drums
Derek Trucks - Lead, Acoustic, Slide Guitar (Right Side)