Rocker Gregg All­man has died at age 69

The Standard Journal - - OBITUARIES - By Russ Bynum and Kristin M. Hall Gregg All­man, of the All­man Brothers Band who was known for his bluesy vo­cals and a soul­ful touch to the or­gan, died peace­fully and sur­rounded by fam­ily Satur­day.

SA­VAN­NAH — Gregg All­man, a sur­vivor of tragedy, knew the blues mu­si­cally and in a painfully per­sonal way.

Raised by a sin­gle mother af­ter his fa­ther was shot to death, he idol­ized his gui­tar-sling­ing older brother Duane and be­came his mu­si­cal part­ner. They formed the nu­cleus of The All­man Brothers Band, which helped de­fine the South­ern rock sound of the 1970s.

Their songs such as “Whip­ping Post,” “Ram­blin’ Man” and “Mid­night Rider” laid the foundation for the genre and opened the doors for groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Mar­shall Tucker Band.

Gregg All­man, whose bluesy vo­cals and soul­ful touch on the Ham­mond B-3 or­gan helped pro­pel the All­man Brothers Band to su­per­star­dom, died Satur­day. He was 69.

All­man died peace­fully and sur­rounded by loved ones at his home near Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia, his man­ager, Michael Lehman, told The As­so­ci­ated Press. He blamed can­cer for All­man’s death.

“It’s a re­sult of his re­oc­cur­rence of liver can­cer that had come back five years ago,” Lehman said in an in­ter­view. “He kept it very pri­vate be­cause he wanted to con­tinue to play mu­sic un­til he couldn’t.”

All­man played his last con­cert in Oc­to­ber as health prob­lems forced him to can­cel other 2016 shows. He an­nounced Aug. 5 that he was “un­der his doc­tor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “se­ri­ous health is­sues.” Later that year, he can­celed more dates, cit­ing a throat in­jury. In March, he can­celed per­for­mances for the rest of 2017.

Born in Nashville, Ten­nessee, the rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida.

In his 2012 mem­oir, “My Cross to Bear,” All­man de­scribed how his older brother was a cen­tral fig­ure in his life in the years af­ter their fa­ther was mur­dered by a man he met in a bar. The two boys en­dured a spell in a mil­i­tary school be­fore be­ing swept up in rock mu­sic in their teens. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a gui­tar, it was Duane who ex­celled at it. So Gregg later switched to the or­gan.

They spent years in bands to­gether, but failed to crack suc­cess un­til they formed The All­man Brothers Band in 1969. It fea­tured ex­tended jams, tight gui­tar har­monies by Duane All­man and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drum­mers and the smoky blues in­flected voice of Gregg All­man.

Based in Ma­con, Ge­or­gia, the group also had drum­mers Jai Jo­hanny “Jaimoe” Jo­han­son and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oak­ley. They reached the pin­na­cle of the bur­geon­ing mu­sic scene, par­ty­ing to ex­cess while defin­ing a sound that still ex­cites mil­lions.

Their self- ti­tled de­but al­bum came out in 1969, but it was their sem­i­nal live al­bum “At Fill­more East” in 1971 that cat­a­pulted the band to star­dom. Con­sid­ered one of the great­est live al­bums ever made, the two LP record opened with their ver­sion of Blind Wil­lie McTell’s “States­boro Blues,” with Duane All­man on slide gui­tar. The al­bum in­tro­duced fans to their fu­sion of blues, rock and jazz.

Duane All­man was killed in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber 1971, just months af­ter record­ing the Fill­more shows.

File, Joe How­ell / The As­so­ci­ated Press

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