Gregg Allman – Laid Back

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We were surprised at how well recorded the album is, dramatically better than the Allmans’ album from the same year, Brothers and Sisters. Full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with especially smooth, present vocals, this is the sound we love at Better Records.

AMG Review

Recorded in the same year as the Brothers and Sisters album, this solo debut release is a beautiful amalgam of R&B, folk, and gospel sounds, with the best singing on any of Gregg Allman’s solo releases. He covers his own “Midnight Rider” in a more mournful, dirge-like manner, and Jackson Browne’s “These Days” gets its most touching and tragic-sounding rendition as well. Although Chuck Leavell and Jaimoe are here, there’s very little that sounds like the Allman Brothers Band — prominent guitars, apart from a few licks by Tommy Talton (Cowboy, ex-We the People), are overlooked in favor of gospel-tinged organ and choruses behind Allman’s soulful singing.

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Laid Back received glowing reviews from music critics at the time of its release. Rolling Stone reviewer Tony Glover said “Laid Back isn’t quite what you’d expect from Gregg’s work with the Brothers Band. Instead, it’s a moody LP, often tinged with grandeur, and maybe just a little too rich and one-colored in spots. But on the whole, a moving look at another side of a finely charismatic singer/writer.”

Billboard named it a “Spotlight” pick among its Top Album Picks in November 1973, with the reviewer deeming it “a masterpiece of a set … featuring exceptional displays of vocal and instrumental talent in many musical areas.”

The album has continued to receive positive attention in the years since its release. In 2006, Tom Moon of NPR reviewed the album as a part of his “Shadow Classics” series, calling it “amazing stuff, deep and intense yet nowhere near the decibel levels of his work with the [Allman Brothers] band. … But he’s equally compelling — maybe even more so — in a quieter space, when he’s less fired up.”

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Midnight Rider 
Queen Of Hearts
Please Call Home
Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing

Side Two

These Days
Multi-Colored Lady
All My Friends
Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Laid Back

Opening the album is a version of “Midnight Rider”, which Allman first composed and recorded for the Allman Brothers Band’s second album, Idlewild South (1970). For the new recording, Allman aimed for a “swamp”-like atmosphere, “with the image of moss hanging off the trees, alligators and fog, darkness, [and] witches,” he later wrote.

Boyer wrote the song “All My Friends”, which Allman provides harmonies on. “I’ve always loved the Everly Brothers style of harmony, but I didn’t want it to just follow the traditional 1–3–5 pattern,” he recalled.

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