Duane Allman and Aretha in the studio
Aretha Franklin, throughout her career, recorded with stellar jazz and rock musicians. From 1967, when she began her phenomenal run of hit R&B singles on Atlantic Records under producer and Atlantic VP Jerry Wexler, through 1969, she had three memorable moments with equally memorable guitarists, two of whom became iconic in their own right.
My survey of the productions of Rick Hall, creator of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama recording scene with his Fame Studios, scene of countless hit records from 1962 on. Hall died of prostate cancer on January 2.
On a cold January 17, 1971, some friends and I, all of us attending Pitt (Greensburg campus) blew into the Syria Mosque to see Little Richard, then in the throes of a revival, including repeated appearances on network talk shows where he'd snap "Shut up!" at the audiences and his two opening acts.
This week's Believe Your Ears music podcast (not yet posted) will review Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, a definitive 7-CD box set on Rounder covering the guitar master's career from 1965-1971. It's more than just a "Best of the Allman Brothers" collection. This one builds on earlier anthologies of Duane's work to look deep at his early playing in smalltime Southern bands with brother Gregg to his extraordinary session work in Muscle Shoals and New York with everyone from Aretha Franklin and Wlson Pickett to King Curstis, Boz Scaggs, Lulu, Ronnie Hawkins and of course Derek and the Dominos. There's a good helping of Allman Brothers material, of course.
Speaking of the Allmans, you had to hear the classic band, with Gregg and the guitar team of Duane and Dicky Betts, liive. I did, on Sunday night January 17, 1971 at the now-vanished Syria Mosque in Oakland. Taj Mahal was the opening act. We didn't get there in time to catch Taj, but arrived just before the Allmans started and it was extraordinary, opening with "Statesboro Blues," Duane and Dicky Betts ripping away and Gregg singing his ass off. As for Little Richard, that's another story.
A soundboard recording exists of the Mosque show, and someone put the whole thing up on YouTube. Caution: it's an hour plus but worth hearing.
2.Trouble No More
3.Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
4.In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
6.You Don't Love Me