Classic Rock

Allman Betts Band

Down To The River

- Max Bell

Passing the flame.

BMG

While they’ve orbited like satellites around each other for several years, it was inevitable that Devon Allman (son of Gregg) and Duane Betts (son of Dickie) would come together to share a peach. Fifty years after the original Allman Brothers Band started out in Florida, the two men (now in their forties) retain a familiar template. Allman provides the soulful grit, Duane the sweet stuff, while old-timer Chuck Leavell puts in a shift on keyboards.

Song-wise they’re better at atmosphere than resolution and the album has elements of smoke-and-mirrors round the edges. Still, there are good moments. The title track evokes Al Green and Bobby Bland, while Autumn Breeze has a revivalist fervour. Much of the rest is heavy on nostalgia; they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. Allman’s swampy funk is the dominant force, while Betts handles the catchier melodies. Significan­tly, the best track is a cover of Tom Petty’s Southern Accents, here treated as a piano ballad. And in case you’re wondering: yes Duane Betts is named after Duane Allman. The family that plays together… ■■■■■■■■■■

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