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Music DVD Review: Gregg Allman – I’m No Angel: Live On Stage

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2012 has been a good year for Gregg Allman. The Allman Brothers received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, plus he published his autobiography, My Cross To Bear. To capitalize on those milestones, Cherry Red Films will release a somewhat odd DVD on December 11, 2012 that contains some good music.

The title of the DVD, I’m No Angel: Live On Stage, gives the impression that it was a performance of his 1986 iconic album of the same name. The music was taken from a November 1988 concert at The Cannery in Nashville, Tennessee. That particular tour was in support of his Just Before the Bullets Fly album. Thus four of the tracks are from that release, with only three from the album advertised in the title. It was also a short performance of just under an hour. He was the opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan, so his set was adjusted to reflect that fact.

The good news is that there is some very good music contained on the DVD. His solo career began shortly after his brother Duane’s death and while he continued to perform and record with The Allman Brothers, by 1988 his solo act had been honed and he had accumulated a good catalogue of his own music. His backing band of guitarist Dan Toler, drummer Dave Toler, bassist Bruce Waibel, keyboardist Tim Heding, and percussionist Charles Trippy had backed him in the studio and were tight on stage.

Three songs are from the album I’m No Angel. “Don’t Want You No More,” “It’s My Cross to Bear,” and especially the title track are more raw and stark than their studio counterparts. Four tracks are from Just before the Bullets Fly. The title track, “Demons,” “Fear of Falling,” and “Slip Away,” show just what a good musician and vocalist Gregg Allman was live on stage.

The highlight of the concert was the old blues classic, “Statesboro Blues,” which was a part of the Allman Brothers repertoire. It may not have the guitar power of the original but it was a wonderfully gritty version of the old Blind Willie McTell tune from the 1920s.

The sound is excellent as the various instruments and vocals are clear and distinct. The camera angles are limited and the picture quality is average. It was probably another one of those concerts that was not meant for general release at the time, so the recording process was haphazard.

I’m No Angel: Live On Stage may not be the definitive Gregg Allman concert experience as the song selection is a bit dated and the performance is short. Still, what is present is a fine introduction to his solo career.

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