“With Warren” marked the resurrection of the Allman Brothers Band. Warren Haynes showed up at studio in 1989 to do some vocal backup work. Dickey Betts was recording there as well. Dickey had heard Warren play and asked him, in jest, if the producer had brought Warren in to replace him on his own solo record. They had a laughed and Warren ended up complimenting Dickey’s playing on the solo effort, “Pattern Disruptive”. Next thing, Warren is the new guitarist in the ABB. Warren brings a spark that they had been missing since the death of Duane. Don’t misunderstand, Warren isn’t the new Duane. Playing styles are completely different but what Warren did bring is a the drive and work ethic that Duane had back to ABB. He pushed them to be more than what they had become and remember why they got into the ABB in the first place.
“Seven Turns” starts off blazing with “Good Clean Fun“ and runs through numbers like “Low Down Dirty Mean,” “Shine It On,” and “Let Me Ride“. Almost all completely written by Dickey (aided by new pianist Johnny Neel and Warren). The killer for me is the track “True Gravity“, probably the best instrumental to come out of the ABB since “Jessica”.
“Shades of Two Worlds” was almost overlooked by most people. This returned ABB to their truest blues roots since “Idlewild South” . “Bad Rain” and “Come On In My Kitchen” are flatout smokin’ acoustic blues. They both invoke a back porch feel that is missing in a lot of electric blues.
“Where It All Begins” might not be as strong as the previous two but contains some of my favorite tracks. This is a “live-in-the-studio” album. Recorded like the days of old without many overdubs. It has a good earthiness to it as well. It has possibly my favorite and simplest Haynes’ composition “Soulshine”. To me, an absolutely beautiful folk song. Other high points, IMHO, are “All Night Train”, “Sailin’ Cross the Devil’s Sea” and “No One to Run With”. These are well written and have the good blend of lyrical content and jam sessions. “Back Where It All Begins” is a great groovin’ jam with Dickey and Warren trading really hot licks.
Then 9 years later, “Hittin’ The Note”. A little background here, ABB had pretty much called it quits – Allen Woody and Warren Haynes left to form Gov’t Mule. Dickey was working on Great Southern, Gregg was putting the finishing touches on “Searching for Simplicity”, Butch was doing Frogwings with Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, Marc Quinones and Oteil Burbridge. In 2000, Allen Woody, bassist on the previous 3 albums, died while preparing to tour with Gov’t Mule. This was the impetus behind Warren coming back to a new version of ABB. Butch Trucks brought Derek Trucks and Oteil Burbridge to Jaimoe and Gregg. He convinced Warren to come back and they moved on without Dickey for the first time since the formation of the Allman Brothers Band. What was produced was the most electrifying album since “Brothers and Sisters“. The combination of Warren and Derek are the closest thing I have heard to Duane and Dickey. Truly complimentary, truly melodic and just amazing. This is also the first time we hear Haynes taking a big role vocally. This bounces back from smokey lounge jazz fusion that would make Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock take notice to whiskey drinkin’, cryin’ in your glass blues that could make Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker sob in their graves. “Firing Line“, “Who To Believe”, “Rockin’ Horse” are the real rockers on the album. For those in need of serious blues, “High Cost of Low Living”, “Desdemona”, “Old Before My Time” and the Stones’ cover “Heart of Stone”. Jazzers will love “Woman Across the River”, “Maydell” and the amazing “Instrument Illness“.
Thank God that Warren Haynes
found his way into the studio that
Dickey was playing in!!!
Thick electric and acoustic blues
throughout the whole album.
This album as a whole might be the weakest
of the first 3 but still has some
of the best songs.
Just my favorite ABB album.
Warren Haynes and Johnny Neel in some pre-ABB work
Gregg rehashes the ABB sound without the
band but included Derek Trucks