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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rounder Records presents: Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective - New release Review

I have just received the new 7 CD release, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, documenting Duane Allmans amazing career. I have been a Duane Allman fan since I was a fairly young man and actually learned to play guitar specifically due to Duane Allman's influence. I am one of the lucky fans who actually had the opportunity of seeing Duane live with the Allman Brothers. Having spent years amassing a large vinyl collection and making every effort to capture every groove that I could find (and a few feet of unreleased tape as well) I have had the pleasure of listening to much of Duane's work for many years. This incredible retrospective not only compiles selections from the earlier released Allman Brothers albums, Derek and the Dominos, Duane Allman double disc Anthology One and Two and The Allman Brothers' Dreams; terrific additional tracks from  all of those records that the Anthologies were compiled and much much more.  The first of the "new" stuff is three tracks by the Escorts (1965 unreleased tracks with Duane and Gregg), the most interesting of these to me is the No Name Instrumental. This is a cool track with heavy reverb and traces of inventive creativity to come but other tracks definitely showing Gregg's developing vocal style and the brothers love of R&B. Two additional unreleased tracks by the Allman Joys, track Duanes following of Jeff Beck and the Yardbirds and Allmans take on their songs. A few single releases by The Bleus (single only with Duane on guitars) have a bit of a country flair. Two solid R&B tracks by Laura lee featuring Duane on lead guitar are a real treasure. The single track by Spencer Wiggins featuring Duane on slide is another terrific track. I don't know much of Spencer's work but this is terrific! A single track by Willie Walker (previous single release) crosses into the R&B funk stage and Duane is fat under the vocals. Two tracks by the Lovelles (single release featuring Duane on lead guitar) show just how Duane could meld his guitar playing to work with a band needs. On an upbeat, heavily horn infused three tracks by the Soul Survivors (from a lesser know album featuring Duane on guitars) again Allman rips some sweet riffs shining through production. A single track by The Sweet Inspiration (featuring Duane on slide) finds Cissy Houston on vocal and of course a great backing band. An additional track (the B side of Goin'n Up The Country featuring Duane on guitar) by the Duck and the Bear is also included. A strong soul vocal track from Doris Duke album is a real cool addition with Duane playing in the upper frets over a really nice track. An extraneous track from an album by Eric Quincy Tate featuring Duane on guitar has a classic Duane signature slide part. A pop like track by Laura Nyro from a earlier cited album again showing Duane's adaptability. Two tracks by Ella Brown (a single featuring Duane on guitar) shows the breadth of session work that Allman was called to do. A track by Bobby Lance  (from an album featuring Duane on slide) is definitely dated but does have some clear work from Duane. A live unreleased track from the Grateful Dead featuring Duane on lead guitar puts Duane into jam mode. I have a strong appreciation for Duanes extended solo's and this gives his fans a chance to hear him shine with one of the all time great jam bands. The three tracks from Herbie Mann's Push Push album featuring Duane on guitar allowing him to move more into a jazz setting and spread his wings from the traditional R&B /Blues mode.I haven't written a letter about the spectacular work which has been included from artists such as Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett, Arthur Conley, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Barry Goldberg, Otis Rush, Boz Scaggs, Ronnie Hawkins, Lulu, Johnny Jenkins, John Hammond, Sam Samudio (Sam The Sham) and Cowboy. Much of the work included in this package, some of it previously included on an earlier release for Duane and all of it released on individual albums by the artists are an incredible treasure of Duane's work with some of the greatest artists in the business. I'm guessing if you have interest in this release, you have some familiarity with these artists and the previous work done there, but if not, it is overwhelming and you must check it out. This is a great compilation bringing it all together in one place with a lot of great extras. Three tracks from Delaney and Bonnie (previously unreleased) feature Duane on acoustic slide and of course some of his most enjoyable acoustic work. This ultra deluxe package includes incredibly interesting liner notes by Scott Schinder. This retrospective has been compiled by Duane's daughter, Galadrielle who also writes a very inciting recollection of stories with Bill Levenson. A number of terrific photos are also included in this package making it a must have for any Duane Allman fan. An incredible amount of time has been put into this package featuring a photo of one of Duane's guitar cases as the cover.
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