Exclusive Excerpt: Gregg Allman My Cross To Bear (On Recording The Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts, Bill Graham…)
No sooner do we get in there than Dickey set his guitar down and said, “Man, there ain’t no windows in this place—it’s like a padded cell.” He got his 335 unpacked, took it out, and hit a few licks. Of course it sounded dead, because there were all these baffles around. I’m not sure what song we started with, but I know “Dreams” was up toward the front, because Dickey Betts isn’t on the recording of “Dreams.” He finally packed up his guitar, didn’t say a thing, and walked out.
Butch stood up and said, “What in the hell is he doing?”
“Just leave him alone,” Duane said.
I couldn’t see what the turn-off was for him, but maybe Dickey was such a country boy that at first the studio technology was too much for him. Duane played all the guitar that you hear on “Dreams,” and then he left. Duane got Dickey to come back, and then we did the instrumental piece, “Don’t Want You No More.” My brother must have really liked Dickey, because there weren’t too many people that he would take that kind of time with.
Dickey finished the record, because he wasn’t going to be whipped, not in front of the whole group. I mean, it does happen to people—it’s like taking a little kid out of Sri Lanka and throwing him into a Publix.
I was very unhappy with the vocal sound on the first record. I’ve always wanted to recut the vocals. They were recorded with the regular old tape echo “Heartbreak Hotel” setting. That was the one thing where me and Adrian Barber—who was actually an engineer and had never produced a record before—did not see eye to eye, but I didn’t want to rock the boat, so it’s my own fault.
Overall, I felt that we had been rushed through an artistic piece that was only about halfway done. The songs were all written, but we hadn’t road-tested all of them, so I wasn’t sure about all the different phrasings. When you’re that new at it, two weeks is just not long enough—especially if you’ve got a couple of guys in the band who have never been in a studio. It really slows things down, because you’ve got to explain so much and it’s confusing at first. I’ve never seen anybody go into a studio who didn’t think it was a weird way to go about recording music.
I knew that record wasn’t going to make it. We didn’t spend enough time on it, we didn’t refine it enough, and we were better than that. Phil Walden gave us a pocketful of change, enough for hot dogs and recording, pinned it to our shirts, and sent us on our way. When it came out at the end of 1969, it just barely grazed the charts—No. 188 with an anchor.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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