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An Orange-Blue Hue: Allman Brothers All-Time Top Five

Greg Allman is at it again. He’s writing memoirs and having seventh marriages. He has hepatitis and is long-lived for a man who’s lived so many lives. Hanging Chad doesn’t really care so much about the current messy details. The Allman Brothers make Hanging Chad’s Top Five All-Time, and that’s that. You already know about Led Zeppelin. Who else should really be in the Top Five all-time? Suggestions? Always open to changing my mind. The Dude abides. Hanging Chad hangs.

But what about the top five of one of the top five? Now we’re even moving on the existential reality of High Fidelity.

They are driving the big orange wagon. It’s about anything or nothing else. It’s about the road. It’s about leaving. Cleaving. Meaning, I am not departing. Or maybe I am, and always. Whatever, I am not taking another whack out of the mole. They are forever leaving and arriving, forever born rambling. They are from Georgia. Savannah of all places. No father for Greg by the time he was two. Felt inspired to the blues when he saw his first live show at 10. Turns out, his younger brother Duane is the guitar phenom. No problem. Greg turns to other things like his soulful voice, and hitting the keys.

Okay, so I’m not writing a Rolling Stone article here. Just a top five of a top five band. So here goes:

Technically, for the best song overall you probably have to say “Whipping Post,” I have to say that growing up I always valued “Rambling Man” and “Blue Sky” so much more. “Jessica” is so classic, and I just love when the piano solo erupts about halfway through. So that leaves room for just one more. I’m tempted to choose a lesser known “B-side” selection, but I think it would be wrong to ignore “Midnight Rider.” As simple and repetitive as it is, it’s also a defining Allman Brothers song, and let’s face it, part of the genius is in its very simplicity. Okay, now I’m regretting keeping “Southbound” off the top five. I can’t do this…

While Greg Allman gets all the media attention lately (and of course he founded the band with his late-great brother), the great Dickey Betts really gets very little credit for the defining Allman Brothers sound, not to mention he wrote some of the very best songs. The dude was wild. The dude was outrageous. The dude was kicked out of the band? I don’t know why. Apparently some issues between him and Greg? In the video below, you can tell he hardly knows what to do with himself when he isn’t touring and on the road. You can also tell he’s lived a hard life. Safe enough to say? Maybe the band has become almost a caricature of itself. Maybe they’re pushing for one last glow in the spotlight of relevance. Whatever the case, they’ve always been some bad dudes.

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