To many of my generation, Gregory Lenoir Allman and his band of Brothers forged a lasting soundtrack to our lives. And for many musicians of my era, the Allmans along with their numerous exemplary solo endeavors, set the bar for excellence as improvisers, ensemble players, composers, interpreters, and recording artists. They became as important as the blues icons who influenced them, and whose music they brought to the masses.
Longtime Gregg Allman Band bassist Ron Johnson (Warren Haynes, Les Nubians) keeps it warm and in-the-pocket for the late, truly great singer’s fitting farewell waxed at FAME Studios amid the ghost of brother Duane.
Akin to Gregg’s timeless solo bow Laid Back (1973), the grooves are slow, swampy, and swingin’. Produced by bassist Don Was, Johnson glides through the changes – dig Ron’s growling Fender resonance on Gregg’s heartfelt reading of Lowell George’s “Willin.”
Johnson fortifies his fallen bandleader though poignant renditions of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s “Black Muddy River,” Bob’s “Going, Going, Gone,” Jackson Browne’s “Song for Adam,” and Tim Buckley’s “Once I Was.” The best bassists tend to let the songs play themselves…and that’s exactly what Ron Johnson does in the service of one of rock’s greatest vocalists.