The other day on the Weekly Song Challenge I chose as my song for "a coin" Boz Scaggs’s "Loan Me A Dime," mentioning that it had some fiery guitar work by Duane Allman. I first heard that on Capricorn Records’s 1972 album Duane Allman: An Anthology, which was a summary of the late lead and slide guitarist’s work with The Allman Brothers Band as well as the session work he did for such luminaries as Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others. He did so much session work, in fact, that Capricorn ended up releasing Duane Allman: An Anthology, Volume 2 in 1974. Listening to the albums again reminded me what a remarkable guitarist he was and how he could be comfortable playing just about any genre. I practically read the words off the pages of the booklet that came with the first book, and I’ll share some of those as we go through some of the better songs (i.e. the ones I like best) from the first Anthology. Which means that, at a later date (probably next Friday), I’ll be sharing songs from the second.
- Wilson Pickett, "Hey Jude": As I recall, it was Duane who suggested that Pickett cover "Hey Jude. Pickett was reluctant, but they started jamming on the song and pretty soon they had a possible hit on their hands. The song reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the R&B chart. Eric Clapton heard this and wanted to know who the guitar player was, and a couple of years later invited Duane to play with Derek & The Dominoes. Jerry Wexler, head of Atlantic Records, hired Duane to work on other Atlantic Records projects, while Jimmy Johnson, guitarist with the Muscle Shoals house band, said that Duane’s performance was the beginning of Southern Rock.
- Aretha Franklin, "The Weight": One of the first beneficiaries of Duane’s session work was Aretha Franklin, who used Duane on her 1970 album This Girl’s In Love With You, from which "The Weight" was taken. The song reached #19 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart the previous year.
- Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, "Livin’ On The Open Road": Songers and songwriters Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett fronted Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, which at one time or another included Duane and his brother Gregg, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, George Harrison, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, and King Curtis. Duane and Delaney became close friends through their association, and it led to Clapton asking Duane to play on the Layla sessions. This is a track from D&B’s 1970 album To Bonnie From Delaney.
- Derek & The Dominoes, "Layla": Duane participated on 1970’s Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. The title track features both Eric and Duane playing slide guitar: the solo at the end of the first part of the song was played by Duane, who recorded it on a Gibson Les Paul, while the slide in the second part is played by Eric, who recorded it on a Fender Stratocaster. "Layla" was released in 1971 and only reached #52 in the US; its re-release, in 1972, reached #10.
- Allman Brothers Band, "Statesboro Blues": From the ABB’s 1971 live album At The Fillmore East. It was written by Blind Willie McTell and The Allmans’ version was inspired by Taj Mahal’s 1968 recording with Jesse Ed Davis playing slide guitar. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranked it #57 on their list of "100 Songs Of The South," while Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #9 on their list of "100 Greatest Guitar Songs."
Duane Allman, your Five For Friday, March 12, 2021.