I was never much of an Allman Brothers fan. There were so many bands playing blues-based rock’n’roll that you had to draw the line somewhere. Oh, sure, I had a copy of the double live album At Fillmore East, like most of my friends. It was a mark of ‘cool.’ Duane Allman was the next guitar hero, and when he joined with Eric Clapton on the Derek & the Dominos' classic Layla album, I showed a bit more interest. There were just so many bands! And the Southern US had more than their share. Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Wet Willie, to name a few. They each had a hit or two, many had twin lead guitars and a soulful singer, and they knew how to mix country with blues and come up with something new. But the Allman Brothers Band? No, I just filed their LPs away with the rest.
Gregg Allman is a survivor. His brother Duane was killed at age 24 in a motorcycle accident over 40 years ago. Bassist Berry Oakley drove his motorcycle into oncoming traffic about a year later. Drug use took its toll on the band, and its crew, including singer and organist Gregg Allman, Duane’s younger brother. In his new autobiography, Gregg drops one word from one of the ABB’s songs for his title. The song was called “Not My Cross To Bear,” but reality has hit Allman hard, and when it comes to his life he now realizes it is My Cross To Bear (William Morrow, 2012).