on November 10, 2006
To the general public, Duane Allman is known either as a long dead guitar player or Gregg Allman's older brother. To his legions of fans, however, Duane is a revered messianic figure who is remembered and thought of on a daily basis despite his death 35 years ago. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to know why. You see Skydog was not just a revolutionary guitarist, though he was. He was the founder, and spiritual force behind the great Allman Brothers Band. The Allmans remain a force to this very day and Duane still remains the guiding spirit.
Poe's book traces Duane's story from his birth through his childhood and into his growth as a musician. There is much that has never been written before, especially about Duane and Gregg's early groups the Escorts, The Allman Joys and the Hour Glass as well as Duane's year as a studio player at Muscle Shoals which led to his meeting Phil Walden which led to history. There is much about the Allman Brothers Band and about Duane's great work with Derek and the Dominos. It is almost unbelievable that Duane died before his 25th birthday and his death seems so foolish and unecessary. Allt his is chronicled in the book. Poe finishes up by tracing the aftermath as the continued without Duane through a rise, a collapse, a comeback, another collapse and finally a triumphant resurgance in 1989 that continues to this day. All this is a trubute to the vision that Duane had back in 1969.
My only complaint is that the book is too short. I read it in one day. Rock fans will love this book and those who are not Allman Afficianados will learn a lot and be surprised by the life and times of Skydog. Don't miss it!
on October 18, 2006
This is one of those rare books that make me wonder what had more impact. Was it the truly worthy subject of Duane "Skydog" Allman or was it the superb writing? Truth is, I read this book in two sittings because the story is so terrific and the way it's told completely spellbinding. It's my favorite rock book of 2006 thus far.
Any genuine rock or blues guitar lover has a giant love affair with Mr. Allman's recorded legacy, which was surpassed only by the live shows. I'm no exception, especially having heard the original band perform about 10 times - each an indelible memory of precise doses of passion and power. Imagine my joy at learning the backstage environments of such classic shows as the 2nd Annual Atlanta Pop Festival (I'm looking at the poster and my "unused" tickets on the wall right now).
Mr. Poe is balanced perfectly on the editorial tightrope. He affords all due respect to the colossal talents of Skydog, whilst never turning a blind eye to his many character faults. Loved as Mr. Allman was, his appetite for drugs of all manner and his relentless professional drive combined to make him all-to-human. We get both perspectives in this book and ultimately come away with an honest representation of Duane the guitar God and Duane the youthful.
In a short time, Skydog became equal to the most prominent musicians of his time. His work with Clapton, Aretha, Wilson Pickett, John Hammond Jr., Herbie Mann, and King Curtis displays Mr. Allman's breadth and scope of ability. Equally vital is the insight of the offstage talents: Tom Dowd, Jerry Wexler, Rick Hall, etc.
Best of all was the book's examination of his relationships with the Brothers, both musicians and road crew, and the extended "family."
What's particularly nice for me is the book's continuation of Mr. Allman's influence. It'd have been easy to fade-to-black after Skydog's death. However, Mr. Poe's book brings us current. And that leaves me feeling warm rather than recalling the hollowness inside that followed Duane Allman's early death.
on October 31, 2006
Finally, Duane Allman gets the biography he deserves, and one his fans have been waiting for. This book is well written, easy to read and hard to put down. Full of facts I've never read anywhere else (including Midnight Riders), the pieces really come together for those of us wanting to know more about the original leader and inspiration of The Allman Brothers Band. The book is also full of ironies, like Duane and Gregg's early band, The Escorts, getting their "big break" opening for The Beach Boys, and then a few short years later when The Beach Boys demanded to close the show on The Fillmore East's final concert, they were told by Bill Graham that The Allman Brothers Band were closing the show, take it or leave it. Also, imagine what Duane felt when he was told the California music executives weren't interested in the band (The Hour Glass), but he was welcome to audition for Gregg's studio band. It was then he stayed in Muscle Shoals to work as a session guitarist, and eventually form the ABB. The book takes us from his birth through childhood, his early struggles as a young musician, the triumphs of the ABB, the "Layla" sessions, his untimely death in a motorcycle accident, and then a concise history of the ABB from there to the present. We also learn where his nickname came from (Wilson Pickett dubbed him "Skyman", later it was changed to "Skydog"). The last paragraph in the book, titled "And a Final Word from Gregg Allman", is a nice touch. I also enjoyed the photos in the book.
on January 30, 2009
First, I'd like to mention the author, Randy Poe, he was raised in the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama. He has quite an amount of experience in the music industry. Then there is a great "forword" to the book, written by ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, where he shares some of his memories & personal experiences with Duane, and the early ABB. This book covers Duane's life from childhood, all the way through his untimely early death in a motorcycle accident, and even beyond his death. It also covers a very good history of the early, Allman Brothers Band, and how Duane put the band together. Each musician was "hand-picked", directly by Duane.
It covers the time spent by Duane, as a session guitarist, at a recording studio, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He played guitar on many songs recorded there, by Wilson Pickett, to Boz Scaggs and several other artists. There is a great double CD on Duane's session work, it's called Duane's Allman's Anthology, it's carried by Amazon. Also, Duane was a recording, session guitarist on Eric Clapton's "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs". Duane was one of the best guitar players ever. He was especially good playing "slide", electric guitar.
Duane was also a great person. He started a racially intergrated rock band, in the deep south, in the late 1960's, with the selection of Jaimoe as a drummer. Jaimoe certainly turned out to be an outstanding drummer. Duane was an innovator, and a motavator, and basically was the "Father" of Southern Rock".
Overall, this is some great reading on the life & times, of the legendary Duane Allman. You will not be disappointed in this book for sure. Thanks!!!
on February 12, 2010
I bought this book as a Christmas gift for my 30yo son, an Allman Brothers fan, so I am just passing on his comments to me. He loved the book; he said it's not a superficial account, but a thoughtful and detailed portrayal of Duane Allman's life by someone who was there. He's not easy to please, but this book really impressed him.
on March 4, 2012
I kind of kept wondering throughout the book why it was titled "Skydog".
Although it was explained how Duane acquired the name, I don't see where he was ever called that very much if at all. Anyway, this being the only biography written on him I liked it. I also have "Midnight Riders" and will need to read that again. The Allman Brothers would have to be my most favorite group ever and I love them so much. Unfortunately I did not ever get to see Duane perform, my first concert was just a couple months following his death---most unfortunate for me, but even more unfortunate that he lost his life. When I read this paragraph at the end of the book it just brought a tear to my eye. "In September 2003 'Rolling Stone' published its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", placing Duane at #2 just behind Jimi Hendrix. Gregg Allman commented that he thought it was a very wonderful gesture and said "...I thought 'You made your mark man. You didn't make any money, but you made your mark."' Rounding out the top five were B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Robert Johnson---pretty impressive company for a kid from the South who didn't even live to see his 25th birthday.". That still sobers me as I copy this and fills my eyes with tears. I love your music, you sounded like a wonderful person---no one had anything bad to say about you. I'm sorry I never got to hear you in person but you live in your music that I still listen to, to this day and I love you.
on February 27, 2007
To anyone with even a passing interest in one of the truly great guitar players of all time "SkyDog" by Randy Poe which was released late last year is a must read. Poe takes you behind the scenes to Tennessee where the young Allman brothers grew up, the tragic murder of their father, Daytona Beach start up bands, and the ultimate result in 1969 of Duane finding the right mix of musicians to fulfill his life dream of expressing a music form that had not yet been heard before. The details in the book are engrossing, interesting (ie: a 21 year old unknown long haired musician convincing Wilson Pickett to cut a version of "Hey Jude" in Muscle Shoals Alabama studio) and informative. Another tidbit is the story of Boz Scaggs' first album in 1969 recorded at another legendary studio in Muscle Shoals and a song called "Loan Me A Dime". Duane's guitar work on that song has become legendary and for good reason.
Summing it all up, "SkyDog" will give the reader a clear idea of just how incredibly talented and ahead of his time Duane truly was. His influence on music will be felt for a very long time and he did it all at such a ridulously tender age. Think about what you were doing at age 22 to get some perspective! Enough said........go right out and get this book.
on December 14, 2014
I'm a real Allman Brother's fan. I've been one for 45 years. I went to 7 concerts when Duane was still alive and playing with the band he but together. I was just a young kid back from vietnam, and when I heard the brother's play they just touched something inside of me that I still feel to this day.I'm not going to debate or tell anyone who was the best guitar player ever, but Duane was way up there. His playing touched me, and I'm thankful for that. Dickey Betts , Gregg, Butch and Johnny Jay were all part of it. But Duane was the man, the leader, and to me, they just never sounded the same without him.He was the driving force.
This book is good, and tells you ever thing about Duane, the warts and all. I really enjoyed it. It's written well. Randy Poe did a great job.
I highly recommend this book, whether you heard Duane while he was alive, or you're just leaning about the man and his music.
on October 19, 2006
This is a fast and engaging read about one of the most important musicians of the late 60s. Duane Allman was more than a musician but the leader of the southern music movement that started in the late 60s and into the 70s. This book gets a lot of stuff right, especially giving you a good picture of the man. There isn't a lot of rumour and rock star stories, but the author is blunt about Duane's shortcomings as well as his musical genious.
There's not a lot of myth here - the book is well researched. Some of the recollections may not be accurate to all sources, but all the important stuff is covered. The book also covers the ABB briefly after Duane's death, but this IS a Duane Allman biography, not a history of the ABB. We'll have to wait for another book to cover this to the band's satisfaction.
The final chapter on equipment seems like an afterthought, but is a nice addition none-the-less.
IF you are at all interest in the southern sound that is often called southern rock, then get this book and learn about the guy that inspired it all. Highly recommended.
on May 10, 2012
I read Skydog when it first came out and reread it last night.I put on Duane Allman Anthology 1 and 2 and the ABBs box set.Peaches and mushrooms all night long.A great book and amazing music.No matter what your mood or circumstances,put on Duane and the ABB and drift back to a better time.I sure do miss Duane Allman and where ever he's at,I hope he knows what joy he brought to everyone with his music.