Thursday, September 24, 2015

idlewild south

The Allman Brothers Band ran to keep from hiding and left their blues at home to catch this midnight love revival.   Although their self-titled debut had failed to make much of an impact on the charts, the band had continued to win fans one gig at a time with their incomparable live shows.   

'Idlewild South'  was recorded from February to July of 1970 at Capricorn Sound Studios in Macon, Georgia;   Criteria Studios and Atlantic South in Miami, Florida;  and Regent Sound Studios in New York City during breaks from their extensive tour in which they played five hundred shows in two years.     The title come from the nickname of the cabin that the band rented near Macon where, according to roadie and songwriter Robert Payne, "the brotherhood came to pass...There was a pact made out there around a campfire—all for one and one for all. ... Everybody believed [in the band] 100 percent."

'Idlewild South'  features  Gregg Allman on vocals, organ, and piano;   Duane Allman on slide guitar, lead guitar, and acoustic guitar;   Dickey Betts on lead guitar;   Berry Oakley on bass guitar, vocals on "Hoochie Coochie Man", and harmony vocals on "Midnight Rider";   Jai Johanny Johanson on drums, congas, timbales, and percussion;   and   Butch Trucks on drums and timpani;   with   Thom Doucette adding harmonica and percussion.   With the exception of Joel Dorn helming "Please Call Home", the sessions were produced and engineered by Tom Dowd with the help of engineers Bob Liftin, Howie Albert, Jim Hawkins, and Ron Albert.   Dowd remembers:   "The Allman Brothers needed what I guess you’d call a disciplinarian more than any thing else. First off, it’s unusual for a band to have two drummers. It’s also unusual for a band to have two lead guitar players as good as Duane and Dicky Betts.  Much of what I did was simply ironing out the polyrhythmic confusion that often existed as a result of those two guitars and two drums. Now you can’t just go in there and say to them 'You play this and you play that' you have to put it diplomatically. It would be more like 'Why don’t each of you take turns on that lick, and then that will make room… ', etc ... They had to get on the road to support themselves. They were working 300 days a year. So they would just blow in and do some songs and blow out. That was it — in and out — just like that."

Betts:   "['Idlewild South'] was a little more studio-oriented...Well, it was still pretty live when I recall those songs. We’d set the amps up in the studio just like we did onstage. We’d run the producers crazy [laughs]. Instead of baffling all the amps off, we’d just set up like we do onstage and we’d even stand like we did onstage on a lot of those tunes. “Midnight Rider” was more of a studio cut song."

Gregg Allman:    "There was a great deal of pressure around the second album, man. We were in debt to the record company, and we were touring so much that it was hard to set aside time to even get into the studio. That is why ‘Idlewild South’ was recorded in spurts between Macon, Miami and New York. The good news was that the songs certainly were road-tested — I mean, we were on the road for 300 days in 1970, man — and the better news was Tom Dowd was behind the board this time. ‘Idlewild’ did much better than our first album; I believe it broke into the Top 30, but I still didn’t believe we were going to make it. I was always the Doubting Thomas of the bunch, and I don’t think I was convinced about the Allman Brothers until ‘Fillmore East’ hit – that one removed all doubt!"

Trucks: "For a long time our only mode of travel was an Econoline van. Eleven of us, with nine sleeping in the back on two mattresses. The only way we made it was with a great big old bag of Mexican reds and two gallons of Robitussin HC. Five reds and slug of HC and you can sleep through anything...Phil Walden had complete faith in us, and I’ll respect him forever for that. I think he sunk about $150,000 in us. He was close to bankruptcy a lot of the time and Atlantic kept telling him we didn’t have a chance. But during that first three years, Phil never once tried to change us."

Duane Allman:   "There's a lot of different forms of communication, but music is absolutely the purest one...Develop your talent, man, and leave the world something. Records are really gifts from people. To think that an artist would love you enough to share his music with anyone is a beautiful thing."

'Idlewild South' peaked at number thirty-eight on the US album chart. 


"Midnight Rider"

"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

'Idlewild South' 
full album:

All songs written by Gregg Allman, except where noted.

Side one
"Revival" (Dickey Betts)  – 4:05
"Don't Keep Me Wonderin'" – 3:31
"Midnight Rider" (Gregg Allman, Robert Payne)  – 3:00
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (Dickey Betts)  – 6:56
Side two
"Hoochie Coochie Man" (Willie Dixon)  – 4:57
"Please Call Home" – 4:02
"Leave My Blues at Home" – 4:17

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