on March 18, 1999
Webster's dictionary defines a masterpiece as "An artistic work done with consummate skill". Gregg's "Laid Back" certainly qualifies that definition. Almost as spectacular is the fact that this was his first solo effort. Blues imply melancholy and this album is loaded with it. What sets this music apart from others, is the cleansed feeling it gives you after it ends. It's as if you have been baptized in cool southern waters. "These Days", "Queen of Hearts", "Please Call Home", and "Multicolored Lady" are four of the best but don't miss the rest as this album has more "hits" than some artists collect in their entire career! After I first heard the lyric, "Please don't confront me with my failures, I'm aware of them" from "These Days", I have felt it typifies the mood Gregg was in and what blues was all about. This was released in 1973 but sounds as fresh today as it did then. This is the Gregg Allman I'll remember.
on June 21, 2007
Jackson Browne's "These Days" was such a fitting anthem for Brother Gregg Allman back in '73 when Laid Back was released. I remember seeing the ABB on Thanksgiving night in 1971 at Carnegie Hall. It was their first concert following the tragic death of Duane Allman. I never would have thought The Allman Brothers Band would perform "Will The Circle Be Unbroken". Gospel?...The Brothers?....Yea Right! But there it was at the end of that very memorable evening. I watched Gregg as he shared with the audience his pain and his grief, and something more.
That something more manifested itself two years later with this very rewarding debut solo effort. It took those two years for him to reflect upon his first five years on the road. Three years with his big brother and the next two years without him. Gregg was truly inspired to lay down his finest vocal performance ever and "Queen of Hearts" delivers just that. What feeling! what depth! just stunning! The two ABB covers, "Please Call Home" and "Midnight Rider" evoke the deep loss and agonizing despair of burying Brother Duane and then reopening the wound just one year later with the loss a of original band member Berry Oakley.
Not without it's faults, Laid Back is my favorite solo album by Gregg. It took courage and it took fortitude for Gregg to stay the course. I'm sure he knew in his heart it was what Duane would have expected of him. Till this day, when I listen to Laid Back, I can't help but see his face before me on that long ago Thanksgiving night. Hurt beyond belief, but determined to go on and go on he did. Keep on keeping on Brother and thanks for all the great music and wonderful memories along the way.
on December 2, 1999
This was Greg's first recording without his beloved brother,Duane. There is an introspective feel to this release, as shown in a gret cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days." It is a nice departure from the southern rock Allman Brothers sound and "Queen of Hearts" will move the hardest of souls. The strings and horns show a production that Allman Brothers fans have never heard. If I were stranded on a desert island, this is one of the ten I would take with me.
on November 6, 2001
For Allman Brothers fans who have all the band's classic albums in their collection and are still hungry for more, or those who would like to hear some variation from the basic Allman Brothers' sound, this is the album to get. "Laid Back" is an outstanding collection of songs, imaginatively arranged and performed with passion and grace by singer/organ player Gregg. On his first solo outing Gregg strays far from the expected twin-guitar-southern-rock-blues sound, and instead offers horns, jazzy arrangements, strong hints of gospel, and even a Jackson Browne cover ("These Days"), with it all working wonderfully. His next album, "Playin' Up A Storm", is similar but not as strong. After that his solo albums became copies of the Allman Brothers Band sound.
on September 1, 1998
This is Greg's first solo effort and it is nearly a tour de force. It's style differs significantly from that of the Allman Brothers Band at the time, but only in a good way. I think, however, that its somewhat maudlin tone can best be understood in light of the tragedies that stalked Greg and the other members of the ABB at the time. The album begins with a stripped-down version of "Midnight Rider" that features a nice acoustic guitar riff. He then wastes no time in getting to what is definitely the best song on the album "Queen of Hearts". It's an upbeat, jazzy number that's backed up with a beefy horn section and an exciting electric piano solo or two by Chuck Leavell. After losing steam a bit with "Please Call Home", he gets it back with the bright boogie of "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing". The good stuff just keeps coming, with a version of Jackson Browne's "These Days" that sounds better than the original, with Greg's smoky voice added to the mix. "Multi Colored Lady" is a trancendent, inspired love song. The album closes with the slow ballad "All My Friends" and an a-cappella rendering of the traditional spiritual "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". All in all, a fine effort from Allman and friends that really showcases his talent as a songwriter and a musician.
on June 25, 2007
In 1973 Gregg Allman went into the studio to record his first solo album with Chuck Leavell, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton of Cowboy, Allman Brothers Band producer Johnny Sandlin, and produced a near perfect album of reflective, sorrowful, romantic, and acoustically beautiful songs, and it has been the hallmark of his solo recording career. The production is glossy, yet never overdone. The acoustics are crisp and clear, the orchestration is lush yet never intrusive, and the musicianship is precise and professional. Gregg's voice has never sounded better as he interprets these songs of love, loss, hope, sadness, and regretful contemplation.
The opening song, Midnight Rider is done with an acoustic guitar, a dobro, an electric piano, horns, and bongo drums. It's that excellent, slow, swampy version that you've heard on the radio. Queen Of Hearts is a love song that features some great vocals from Gregg and a jazzy tempo change for the piano and saxophone solos. Please Call Home has gospel singers and electric guitar along with the standard piano the Allman Brothers song is known for. Allman steps up and rocks a little bit on the piano boogie Don't Mess Up A Good Thing. The Jackson Browne penned These Days is a highlight here and of Gregg's solo career. With an arrangement that features a beautiful pedal steel guitar and Allman's mournful vocals, the song will send you into thoughtful rumination and it sounds just great. Multicolored Lady is an acoustic guitar and orchestra ballad that tells the tale of the singer boarding a bus and sitting "next to a broken-hearted bride". It's sentimental , and the tender story of two lonely strangers holds your interest as it unfolds. All My Friends is an acoustic guitar based song with plenty of orchestration and a nice electric guitar solo. Very moody, very contemplative, and very good. The spiritual Will The Circle Be Unbroken closes the album with a full-tilt gospel arrangement, and Gregg's most sorrowful singing ever. With the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley still recent, the song takes on a new life, once again, and sounds as sad and melancholic as it ever has.
Laid Back is a beautiful album, with many moods and textures, and it has a sort of resigned and reflective feel to it. This is the type of album that's best listened to on a cold and cloudy or rainy afternoon, while sitting next to a window. It's Gregg Allman's most romantic and well produced solo album,and probably his best, too.
on July 14, 2013
Gregg Allman's debut album, Laid Back, is a stunner. Just don't go in thinking you're going to hear the long and awesome jams of the Allman Brothers Band. This is a look into Gregg's soulful side. The musicianship throughout is top notch, more steeped in rhythm and blues with plenty of horns and strings and of course, Gregg's organ playing. The title of this album is very appropriate since most of the songs are slower, putting a lot of emphasis on Gregg's voice, which was still an American treasure at the time this was recorded. The big hit is his remake of "Midnight Rider", which would become the more definitive version with its arrangement more akin to something out of an old Western. He also remakes his own "Please Call Home", giving it more of a gospel feel. "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing" is a cool honky tonk tune that is the only song played at a faster tempo. "Queen of Hearts" plays like a classic with its arrangement and jazzy solos while the oft-covered Jackson Browne track, "These Days", is given an old-country feel that works very well. "All My Friends" and the standard "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" are also very strong, more gospel than country with the backing vocals making these tracks even better. And as great as all of these songs are, it's his own "Multi-Colored Lady", that shows the man at his best. In fact, I'd say this song is on par with the best songs he wrote with the Allman Brothers Band, a band whose music I have loved for 25 years. All told, Laid Back is a classic album from one of the great American voices in music. Highly recommended.
on February 22, 2004
One Hell Of An Album! What do you do after 4 great studio albums, Filmore East and Eat A Peach. If you're Brother Gregg Allman, you harness the band and lay down some true beauties. Queen Of Hearts stands alongside Gregg's very best vocal performances as well as one of his absolute best compositions. Mess Up A Good Thing is Southern, it's got absolutely rock solid bottom. These Days is truely heartfelt, gut-wreching, oh so compelling, as good today as when it hit the streets almost thirty years ago. Still, I believe his best studio record.
on November 15, 2001
Gregg Allman was still developing his promising songwriting talent at this stage, but the highlights are a great remake of his very own classic, 'Midnight Rider', and a sublime reading of Jackson Browne's 'These Days', sad as can be (the pedal steel guitar is wonderfully depressing) without falling victim to the overwrought arrangements that detract a little from some of the other cuts. Gregg sounds even more world weary than usual here, and strikes just the right note for this material. Worth more than all the rest of his solo stuff put together.
on July 16, 2001
Gregg Allman takes on a mellow style on his first solo release and it works to a charm. The different arrangements of Midnight Rider and Please Call Home are just excellent. The horn arrangements on Queen Of Heaarts is just beautful and Will The Circle Be Unbroken will get you in a feel good mood with its gospel flavorings. This record proves that Gregg Allman is talented man outside of the heavy guitar and drum sounds from the Allman Brothers. Definitely a record that expands Gregg's style and vision.