THE ALLMAN BETTS BAND
Bless Your Heart
Still Carrying the Torch and Waving the Flag for Southern Rock.
Well; you certainly get what it says on the tin, no more and no less ……. two of the famous surnames from not just Southern Rock but Rock Music itself – Allman and Betts from The Allman Brothers Band.
Hey presto, those two surnames are 100% guaranteed to grab the attention of a whole bunch of Rockers of all ages.
But wait, you actually get an even better deal here, cos it’s 3 for the price of 2.
Yes, the 2nd. generation formed the new 7 piece band back in 2017 and are undoubtedly keeping the faith with Gregg’s son Devon Allman (guitars & vox), Dicky’s son Duane Betts (guitar & vox) plus Berry’s son Berry Duane Oakley (bass & vox) along with 4 others talented musicians who somehow, somewhere clearly have the very same rocking DNA.
Sticking to the winning formula of their debut studio album from 2019’s “Down to the River” the follow up entitled “Bless Your Heart” is another cracking collection of Blues, Soul, Jazz & Rock ensuring the legacy lives on. So, fourteen months later, they went back down to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio (where else, I hear you ask) with more confidence and even more ambition. Re-enlisting top producer Matt Ross to repeat his magic, along with further help from singer-songwriter Still Vaughn.
The opener of the 14 tracks “Pale Horse Rider” was one of two tracks released ahead of the album as a teaser and has Devon singing the clear lead vocals and featuring a dual guitar solo highlighting the lonely trek across dry and dusty prairies.
You get a similar western feel with Betts delivering “Ashes of my Lover”. Whilst “Savannah’s Dream” is slightly over 12 minutes long, it certainly recreates an uncanny anthemic bluesy tune, bordering on jazzy even, trademark of the original Allman Brothers iconic sound.
All three Daddies would be rightly proud of this potential classic crowd pleaser.
Of the slower numbers “The Doctors Daughter” stands out, it’s Berry’s song and as well as the lead vocals he also takes over on piano, with Devon happy to cover the Bass duties.
“Magnolia Road” was actually the first single released off the album where Devon and Duane share the vocals with the finale building to more terrific slide from the talented Johny Stachela.
Then, you get the Johnny Cash like baritone vocals from Devon on the country sounding “Much Obliged”.
I’m somewhat juberous at elevating any track to my absolute favourite, but if you’re gonna push me then I’d likely vote for “Airboats and Cocaine,” which really rocks, with plenty of glorious slide guitar too.
Sophomore albums are always fraught with doubt and trepidation, but fear not folks, this is a lot more collective than last years effort, it has an additional eclectic spectrum that may have stretched the band, but boy has it been worthwhile.
The albums final track is entitled “Congratulations” and that is precisely what I would say to The ABB, carrying the torch and waving the flag for the sub-genre that was forged by their fathers.
Southern Rock is certainly alive and well.
Bless Their Hearts indeed.
Jack Kidd : “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com
Released on 28th. August 2020