Perhaps a little surprisingly, there is a local slant to this live tribute, All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman, recorded this past January at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. The musical director for the evening, the man with the unenviable task of pulling together a multitude of different musicians (doing a Geldof, as we now like to call it) was our very own Don Was.
There something a bit weird about this – it feels like a sort of musical obituary, but Allman is still very much with us. But hey, if a bunch of musicians want to give the old man credit while he’s still alive, who are we to argue. Perhaps it’s the sort of thing that should happen more often.
The cast list is mildly eclectic but hardly contemporary. You won’t hear this and say, “Wow, Allman has influenced all manner of current musicians.” To be fair, the title of the CD/DVD package is All My Friends, and those are the very people who turned out to play his songs.
The performers include Jackson Browne, Dr. John, John Hiatt, Taj Mahal, Wet Willie singer Jimmy Hall, soul man Sam Moore, Keb’ Mo’, Vince Gill and Martina McBride.
It feels like the sort of thing you could see at 3 a.m. on VH1. Nothing wrong with that, but two CDs and a DVD feels a little like overkill.
If you’re an Allman completist, you might want this. If you kinda like the guy, the original versions of all these songs are better. Tribute albums are always like that, aren’t they?