Late Nite FDL: Mo’ Music
I’m going a little YouTube crazy. I won’t subject you to this (though I think it’s sublime) or this (and the boys can back me on this one — hello star quality!) but I am a lifelong, sincere Duane Allman freak and the live version of Whipping Post from the Fillmore East is on my list of top-10 all time faves. I don’t think I’d ever seen a piece of tape of him playing live before — I don’t believe many exist — so this was a rare treat. He had a short but extremely prodigious career:
In November 1968 Hall hired Duane to play on an album with Wilson Pickett. Duane’s work on that album, Hey Jude (1968), got him hired as a full-time session musician at Muscle Shoals and brought him to the attention of a number of other musicians, such as guitar great Clapton, who later said, "I remember hearing Wilson Pickett’s ‘Hey Jude’ and just being astounded by the lead break at the end. … I had to know who that was immediately – right now."
Duane’s performance on "Hey Jude" blew away Atlantic Records producer and executive Jerry Wexler when Hall played it over the phone for him. Wexler immediately bought Duane’s recording contract from Hall and wanted to use him on sessions with all sorts of Atlantic R&B artists. While at Muscle Shoals, Duane was featured on releases by a number of artists, including Clarence Carter, King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Otis Rush, Percy Sledge, and jazz flautist Herbie Mann. For his first Aretha sessions, Duane traveled to New York, where in January 1969 he went as an audience member to the Fillmore East to see Johnny Winter and prophetically told fellow Shoals guitarist Jimmy Johnson that in a year he’d be on that stage; the Allman Brothers Band indeed played the Fillmore that December.
A couple of years ago when Rolling Stone listed its top 100 guitar players of all time, Duane Allma came in at #2 behind Jimi Hendrix. He died in a motorcycle accident just shy of his 25th birthday.