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Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman Hardcover – March 4, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 286 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Duane Allman was my big brother, my partner, my best friend. I thought I knew everything there was to know about him, but Galadrielle’s deep and insightful book came as a revelation to me, as it will to everyone who reads it.”—Gregg Allman

Poignant and illuminating . . . brings Duane Allman to life in a way that no other biography will ever be able to do.”BookPage
“Galadrielle Allman offers a moving and poetic portrait of her late father.”Rolling Stone
“[Allman’s] descriptions and scenes are vivid, even cinematic. . . . The pleasure of reading Please Be With Me lies as much in its lyrical prose as in its insider anecdotes.”Newsweek
“An elegantly written, heartfelt account.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Evokes a wistful, elegiac atmosphere; fans of the ’70s music scene may find it indispensable.”—San Jose Mercury News

“A compelling and intimate portrait of Duane.”The Hollywood Reporter
Illuminating.”Kirkus Reviews
“Frequently touching . . . Readers will come away feeling more connected to the man and his music.”Publishers Weekly

“If you have ever been part of a family that has no photograph left behind to record its wholeness, you know what the absence of that picture does to you: Its nonexistence is itself a portrait of an incomplete heart that doesn’t contain you. Galadrielle Allman grew up in the territory of that loss, trying to understand a father who held her but who she never got to hold in return. Her account of the life of Duane Allman—rock and roll’s most lyrical guitarist—is the most moving music biography I’ve ever read. Better than that, Galadrielle has uncovered the heart and motivations, the desolation and saving graces, of the man, and lays it plain in a born-to-write southern voice. She has looked into absence, and from it she has salvaged two hearts: her father’s and her own.”—Mikal Gilmore, author of Shot in the Heart
“ ‘You can live forever inside a goodbye,’ Galadrielle Allman knows. But then you embrace it, explore it, and call forth its witnesses. In lyrical prose, and with love and wisdom, the now-mature daughter of guitar legend Duane Allman, who died at twenty-four when she was two, meditates on his outsized grip on her life, and retraces that life, and her mother’s, sending us to the South at the end of the sixties, when girls were hapless hippie goddesses, music was male and muscular, and even redneck culture was being transformed. But beyond that vibrant portrait is a comfort. We all idealize someone who left us long ago; we all romanticize some memory. This story invites us to savor our own secret intersection of nostalgia and emotional mercy, and it feels very, very good to have soulful, elegant company as we do.”—Sheila Weller, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation

About the Author

Galadrielle Allman is the producer of Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective (Rounder Records). She lives in Berkeley, California. This is her first book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068940
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068944
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Johnson VINE VOICE on January 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first read that Galadrielle Allman was going to write a biography of her father Duane I was underwhelmed. What could she add since she was two when he died? The answer-quite a lot. This is essential reading if you are an Allman Brothers fan and if you aren't its still a great read as a story of a young woman trying to figure out what it means to be the daughter of a legend she didn't know.

Ms. Allman writes beautiful prose. She has had access to stories that others wouldn't have simply because friends of her father want her to understand him. This is the first book about Duane that has put him into the context of his larger family. We hear Mama A's story, the story of his father's death. Much of the story is told through the eyes of her mother whose story is set to run parallel to her fathers.

All in all, a great read, the best of the many books about Duane Allman and/or the Allman Brothers Band
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The title of Galadrielle Allman's biography of her father, Duane Allman, is taken from Scott Boyer's song "Please Be With Me," which was recorded by the group Cowboy, with Duane Allman providing the slide guitar accompaniment, is so appropriate for this book of remembrances that chronicle the mostly ups, and a few downs, of the genius of Duane Allman. For anyone who has ever heard the silky tones of what his slide guitar sounds like, you soon begin to realize that at some point in his life, the gods of music touched Duane's heart and fingers, and they freed musical tones to be channeled through to a guitar for the rest of the world to hear and be in awe.

This is an extraordinary book, and one immediately recognizes it will be one as Galadrielle Allman begins it with these first sentences: "My father is killed in the first paragraph of every article ever written about him. His life story is told backwards, always beginning at the end: in the road, his motorcycle down, his body broken. People linger over the wreckage as if it says something meaningful about his life."

Galadrielle was two years old when her father died, and while one may ask, how can a two year old write a biography about someone she could not have possibly remembered much about, you soon realize she does have her memories, and more importantly, she has chronicled her father's life from others remembrances to give an almost "no holes barred" recount of her father's life. As you read her book, she recounts circumstances in Duane's life that went into making him the musical artist he was, whether it be how he took time to visit and write an injured friend or how attending a military prep helped in his developing as a band leader.
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When it comes to the Allman Brothers, I'm as hard core as it gets. I thought I'd picked up all the ephemera about Duane Allman that love and memory of those who knew him would let out. Then Galadrielle does this. Her prose is lyrical, beautiful, moving. Duane comes across as very human. Then she fills in the gaps. Mama A, Donna, Big Linda, Candy--all the names who were paper dolls in other books. It's the story of a time, of a special place, of change that I lived through. But this book was not written for me, the Allman Brothers fan. It's Galadrielle's personal history and we are privileged to get to share it. She is her father's daughter and her mother's, too.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a fan of the band and the guitarist, this popped out from the choices available. I knew next to nothing about Duane Allman, a truly gifted and unique guitarist who died far too young, even by rock tragedy standards. In retrospect, it's amazing he made such a name for himself in such a short time. I was eager to learn about a man whose time in the spotlight was shorter than his peer Jimi Hendrix, but arguably no less influential and lasting.

While there have been other biographies of this storied artist, there might be none that possess such an aching personal motive. In fact, I've yet to read a biography of anyone written from this perspective. There isn't a hint of self-aggrandizement, no indication that Galadrielle took this on to capitalize on her famous ancestry, and no sense that she has any agenda beyond transforming this rock phantom into flesh and blood man. It's a unique perspective for a biography and as a first time writer; Ms. Allman demonstrates a talent that has a lot of potential.

For a first time author, she occasionally tries a bit too hard by peppering her story with descriptive passages that seem overstuffed with metaphors and excess, but nonetheless, there is a lyrical quality to her writing. It is a lovely mix of soulful diary-like musings coupled with a master storyteller's gift for keeping the audience riveted. Additionally, it's perhaps a bit long, but that seems understandable when you consider just how ravenous she was for every morsel available involving her dad.

Like most biographies, you know the ending, so what make the trip worthwhile are the details, anecdotes, and revelations of the person behind the myth. One particular recollection sits with me still.
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