By Keith Sharp
Even though former Allman Brothers’ great, Gregg Allman passed away on Saturday due to complications from liver cancer, his publicist Ken Weinstein has announced Allman’s legacy will continue in the form of a new album, `Southern Blood’ which will be released later this year.
Allman, aged 69, passed away at his home in Savannah Georgia having been ill for sometime. Having endured a liver transplant in 2010, he was forced to check into the Mayo Clinic last year, cancelling the majority of tour dates with his Gregg Allman Band and then cancelling further dates planned for this year.
However, understanding that he was in declining health, Allman pushed ahead with a final recording, it’s a trait a number of former great musicians have achieved in being able to leave their own musical legacies. David Bowie released Black Star in 2016, knowing he was terminally ill, Chuck Berry completed “Chuck” earlier this year before he died of a heart attack and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, bravely fought to record the final verses of “Made In Heaven” before he succumbed to AIDS in 1991.
Allman will always be remembered as a founding member of The Allman Brothers who along with older brother and lead guitarist Duane Allman, bassist Berry Oakley, guitarist Dickie Betts and dual drummers, Butch Trucks and Jai Johnny Johanson, launched a Macon Georgia-based Southern Rock sound in 1969 which opened the door for other southern based bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band.
Fueled by Allman’s fiery blues voice and distinctive B-3 organ sound, the Allmans enjoyed chart success with tracks like “Ramblin Man”, “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post” and recorded a legendary album in the form of their `Live At The Fillmore East 1971’. Sadly, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, bassist Oakley suffered a similar fate the following year and Gregg Allman moved on create his own Gregg Allman Band. Drummer Butch Trucks took his own life earlier this year.
A brief, controversial marriage to pop singer/actress Cher, produced a son, Elijah Blue, who grew up to play guitar with his father, and Allman, himself, reformed The Allman Brothers Band, briefly in 1990, was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995 and receiving a Lifetime Grammy Achievement award in 2012.
Allman documented all the highs and lows of his colourful career in his 2012 autobiography, “My Cross To Bear” and recorded an album, “Low Country Blues” in 2011 which would be the last album released while he was alive.
By Keith Sharp