The Allman Brothers Band
Idlewild South


4.0
excellent

Review

by Travis Marmon USER (32 Reviews)
May 30th, 2014 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The South's greatest sons provide a taste of what's to come before their superstardom a year later.

Every week for the foreseeable future (or until I get bored of the project), I will be reviewing a handful of albums from a given year. They may be albums that I feel are overlooked; that are in need of a review; or are just something that I want to write about. This week: 1970

To call the Allman Brothers Band the greatest and most important southern rock band would be an understatement. Although the duo's classic era was a brief five years due in large part to the tragic deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, that string of albums defined a sound for generations to come. Their sophomore effort, Idlewild South is perhaps their least popular work from that time period, but it establishes itself as an important part of the southern American musical canon in just half an hour.

The Allman Brothers Band were:

Gregg Allman - vocals, piano, organ
Duane Allman - lead guitar, slide guitar, acoustic guitar
Dickey Betts - lead guitar
Berry Oakley - bass
Butch Trucks - drums, timpani
Jai "Jaimoe" Johanson - drums, congas, timbales, percussion


Despite its 30-minute run time, one could make a case that Idlewild South packs more diversity than anything else in the Allmans' catalog. The four tracks that make up side one could all be by separate bands. Opener "Revival" is gospel by way of the hippie movement; "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'" is a standard blues boogie; hit single "Midnight Rider" is a country road tune; and the album's instrumental centerpiece, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," is the Allman Brothers at their jazziest. Through it all, Duane Allman and Dickey Betts show why they were America's greatest guitar duo, deftly playing all of those different styles and unleashing some blistering solos on "Elizabeth Reed"--it wasn't as big of a hit as "Jessica," but that song didn't have Duane's magic in it.

Side two is closer to a blues workout, starting with a fiery interpretation of Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man" and ending with the wicked groove of "Leave My Blues at Home." In between those two pieces is the ballad "Please Call Home," which provides the best chance for Gregg Allman to demonstrate his vocal abilities. It would be forgivable to mistake Allman for Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant at the beginning of the song, as his style is a clear influence on Van Zant. He doesn't totally lose it like on the iconic "Whipping Post," but it's still Allman at his most soulful.

All three songs on side two feature (again) the dueling guitars of Betts and Duane Allman, which are always welcome, but special attention should be paid to the two drumsets of Jaimoe and Butch Trucks as well as the solid bass foundation provided by Berry Oakley. "Leave My Blues at Home" ends with the a fade out of the full band jamming, which is what they do best. More importantly, it leaves the listener wanting more. The brevity of this album does little to prepare for the length of their live jams or the double album masterpiece Eat a Peach, but it's clear that the Allman Brothers Band were on a steep upward trajectory toward their peak. Unfortunately, like this album, that time would be all too brief.



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user ratings (101)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
HenchmanOfSanta
May 30th 2014


1926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know I'm a day early for it to be "this week," but I've been itching to get back into reviewing. It's been a long time.

I'm shooting for five albums per week, but we'll see how that holds up as I start working more. For the summer though, I should be alright.

EDIT: Two days early, actually.

wacknizzle
May 30th 2014


13713 Comments


Love the Allman brothers, gotta check this, only know a few songs from it but they rule.

Digging: The Banner - Greying

Friday13th
May 30th 2014


2807 Comments


This band is sweet. This is probably their third best album. Love Elizabeth Reed!

Digging: Asia Minor - Between Flesh And Divine

KerfuffleinaHussle
May 30th 2014


823 Comments


Nice to see some love for this band on the site. Good review, the album needed one. Elizabeth Reed is tasty

wabbit
May 30th 2014


7035 Comments


gj keeping rock'n roll alive

drjisftw
May 31st 2014


3 Comments


I'm actually listening to this album today since I recently bought an Allman Brother's 5-pack. It's a killer album, only complaint is that it's only 30 minutes. Atco was right to package this and their debut as a double album.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
May 31st 2014


928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You make the album sound good. I love "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Midnight Rider." Will have to check this out. Nice review--pos.

Digging: Galleon - From Land to Ocean

manosg
May 31st 2014


6736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to see this one reviewed. "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is a beast and The Allman Brothers were pioneers regarding the use of two guitars.

Digging: Whitesnake - Slide It In

HenchmanOfSanta
May 31st 2014


1926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback (and the pos's). Three to five albums might be a little bit more reasonable now that I think about it.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
May 31st 2014


928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, this album is very short (but very good).

boleyn2
May 31st 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's one thing in your review that makes me wonder:"It would be forgivable to mistake Allman for Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant at the beginning of the song, as his style is a clear influence. He doesn't totally lose it like on the iconic "Whipping Post," but it's still Allman at his most soulful."
The Skynyrd's debut album was released in 1973, and Idlewild - in 1970; i dont know how you came to conclusion gregg might have been influenced by ronnie's style. if it's not your mistake, the only explanation i can find is that ABB came into being a few years after ronnie had established Skynyrd and that gregg must have known their output before they even launched their career.

HenchmanOfSanta
May 31st 2014


1926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's worded unclearly. I'm saying that Allman influenced RVZ.

I edited it to clarify.

boleyn2
May 31st 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok, now that's clear; thx for reply; pos'd



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