The Iconic Times Duanne Allman Made Records Better
via Jeff Costlow / YouTube
Duane Allman was the epitome of slide guitar greatness. Even though he didn’t invent the slide guitar, his work with the Allman Brothers elevated his instrument into a sonic symbol of Southern rock. He may not have claimed credit for everything, but his talents on a slide are all it took to elevate some of the tunes to legendary status. Below, are just the five of them.
Herbie Mann – “Push Push” (1971)
Working with Herbie Mann, a jazz flutist, he showed us a new aspect of southern rock. Thankfully, Allman was no newbie when it comes to hauling long jam sessions. If you listen to At Fillmore East, you’ll notice that Allman and his bandmates had a mutually beneficial relationship, and a song like this is like hearing Allman in his element.
Delaney and Bonnie – “Living On The Open Road” (1970)
Lots of great guitarists got their start at Delaney and Bonnie. Delaney had hired Allman by complete mistake, thinking he was hiring Ry Cooder to play slide, but really hiring Allman.
Derek and the Dominoes – “Layla” (1970)
Once you reach Duane Allman’s status, legends like Eric Clapton will seek you out. Clapton once invited him to sit in with Derek and the Dominoes, to perform the latter’s masterpiece, “Layla.” Allman’s slide licks could as well be the sound of Clapton’s heart wailing in sorrow, given that the song was written about Clapton’s unrequited love for George Harrison’s wife Patti Boyd.
Wilson Pickett – “Hey Jude” (1969)
In this cover of Paul McCartney’s popular song, Allman asserts that he can perform the guitar better than the Fab Four. There isn’t as much glitz on here, but Allman’s lyrical touch on guitar is on full display, with the musician clearly paying close attention to each note emanating from his six-string. Despite Pickett’s strong performance, Allman’s guitar captures the depth of McCartney’s lyrics in a single note.
Aretha Franklin – “The Weight” (1969)
Allman’s slide immediately draws you in as the first bars of Robbie Robertson’s most well-known song. As for when he imitates Franklin’s voice, that’s when musical nirvana really begins to unfold. Truly, what Allman performs here has an almost religious feel to it.