When Duane Began To Slide – My Personal Tribute Composition to Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers Band)
I’d like to share my composition that I titled “When Duane Began To Slide” with you and also the story behind it.
I remember when I heard “Statesboro Blues” by the Allman Brothers Band for the first time.
I was astonished by the slide guitar playing of Duane Allman the band’s founder and leader.
Although the Allmans aren’t as well known today as other bands from the time they were very much one of the most innovative and trailblazing bands.
Even though Duane Allman wasn’t a schooled musician he had an enormous listening experience with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of Blues from all periods; he had his finger on the pulse of what was current in popular music as well as Jazz that included a keen interest in Miles Davis.
We know that “Kind Of Blue” and “Bitches Brew” were the two groundbreaking Miles albums, ones that Duane listened to intently and drew influence from.
Duane and his younger brother Greg were born in Nashville Tennessee but also lived in Florida and Georgia.
Their father was murdered by a hitchhiker that he’d picked up when they were 3 & 2 respectively.
That must come under the heading of “no good deed goes unpunished”.
Their mother raised the boys on her own and the story is a heartbreaking account of a mother courageously and selflessly sacrificing to give her children the best start she could.
The boys took up music and the guitar in their mid teens and unbelievably within a few short years were doing gigs and playing professionally!
Their band “Hourglass” was signed by a record label in L.A. (which didn’t actually work out) but that speaks volumes about the promise they showed which they definitely delivered as the Hourglass evolved into The Allman Brother Band.
Mandatory Listening and Viewing Picks
If you’re not familiar with their music you must hear the album “The Allman Brothers Band Live At The Filmore East”. On this album Duane shines and announces his arrival as one the leading voices of the electric guitar, especially with his slide playing.
Also you must see the movie “The Allman Brothers Band Live At The Beacon Theatre” from 2003 with two monster guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks both of whom were heavily influenced by Duane and about carrying on Duane’s heritage.
Sadly Duane died at the age of 24 in 1971 but he was able to pack so much into a very short period of time and influenced so many guitar players including me which is why I recorded my composition and tribute here “When Duane Began To Slide”
I just loved his slide guitar playing and I love the story about how he came to started playing slide.
It seems Duane loved adrenaline and was a bit of a daredevil.
Adrenaline And Slide Guitar Mastery
He said that he had “a motorcycle Jones” which means he loved motor bikes and tragedically died in a motorcycle accident. But fortuously how he came to learn slide was when he had a riding accident, he came off a horse and was bed ridden while convalescing.
His brother Greg bought him what was the latest Taj Mahal album with his guitarist Jesse Ed Davis playing slide on “Statesboro Blues”.
Greg also got him a bottle of Coriciden cough tablets.
Duane was so intrigued by the slide guitar licks on the record that he tipped the tablets out and used the bottle on his ring finger to learn Jesse Ed Davis’s slide licks.
Once he’d mastered those licks he wasn’t about to stop there…
Duane made a thorough study of the best slide players and their recordings and even copied blues harp licks on the slide.
If you listen to Jesse Ed Davis play Statesboro Blues then compare it with the Allman’s version with Duane lifting the roof with his slide guitar “tour de force” we can see evolution in operation.
Then to see where Derek Trucks took what Duane had initiated we can maybe get a glimpse at the creative energy that took us as a species from hunter gatherer societies all the way to sending rockets to the moon!