Eat A Peach

The Allman Brothers Band

Capricorn Records, 1972

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Eat A Peach was supposed to be the album for The Allman Brothers Band which officially set them up as superstars. Then, their world collapsed in on them with the death of guitarist/songwriter Duane Allman in a motorcycle accident. Devastated but not broken, the remaining bandmates (including Duane's brother Gregg, now the sole surviving Allman brother) regrouped and nursed their wounds with music.

Eat A Peach is really three albums rolled into one. First, it's a continuation of the tight-but-loose concerts that were captured on The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East in March 1971. Second, it is the document featuring the final recorded performances by Duane Allman. Finally, it's a reminder that life must indeed go on, and the band proceeds to do just that.

Ironically, it's on one of the songs recorded while Duane was still alive that a stylistic change is again noted in the band. This in itself is nothing new; the Allmans had been all over the musical road to this point, confounding anyone who tried to pigeonhole them into one unique genre. But it is "Blue Sky," a track penned by guitarist Dickey Betts, which serves as a pointer that the band would soon follow career-wise. (I still disagree that this was an example of "Southern rock," even in its infancy; rather, this was a merge of rock with country.) Even today, it's a beautiful track, and Duane Allman's friendly guitar "duel" with Betts shows just how talented this line-up was.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Listening to the live tracks, one wonders why they didn't make the original cut for At Fillmore East. Maybe it was because the band didn't want to seem like they were relying on older material, thus leaving a tasty live version of "Trouble No More" off. Maybe they couldn't figure out how to include a fourth lengthy jam in the set, thus leaving the 33-minute "Mountain Jam" off. (On vinyl, which is what I'm working from, this track is split onto two sides - not a major point of contention, until one realizes the first part was side two, the second was side four. Why not keep these two halves together on the original pressing? 'Course, the full version on the CD makes this argument moot.)

Quite possibly the most beautiful piece of music the Allmans have ever created is one of Duane Allman's final tracks - "Little Martha," featuring just Duane and Betts on acoustic guitars. Again, listening to the chemistry these two had, as well as the way they feed off each other, makes me want to cry for what could have been. The third and final of the studio tracks featuring Duane Allman, "Stand Back," is not as strong of a track by comparison, and is a bit of a letdown.

If you look at the vinyl of Eat A Peach, the first side features the regrouped band, paying tribute to their fallen comrade by keeping the music alive. Interestingly enough, the direction of the music doesn't change here from what the Allmans had become known for. "Ain't Wastin' Time No More" is an absolute barn-burner, while "Melissa" is a gentle ballad that shows the tender side of this group. "Les Brers In A Minor" was a piece hinted at in a jam on At Fillmore East, and comes into its own here - yet one wonders if it was truly ready to be displayed, or if it needed a little more development. No matter; it's enjoyable enough.

There are those who declare Eat A Peach to be the ultimate Allman Brothers recording - and while I don't argue that this one should be in everyone's CD collection, it's not quite as perfect as some would like the listener to believe. "Stand Back" is proof of this. Yet it remains an album that serves not only as a tribute to Duane Allman (and a fitting one at that), but shows the power of the human spirit to rise above adversity. If only the heartbreak for the Allmans ended on that October day in Macon, Georgia; tragedy would pay yet another visit.

For everything that was going on in their lives, Eat A Peach is an amazing disc - and it rightfully deserves to be considered one you must own.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A



© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capricorn Records, and is used for informational purposes only.