Thirty-five years ago today, Duane Allman (Allman Joys, Allman Brothers) died in a motorcycle wreck. It’s hard to really hear the song “Layla” anymore because it’s been played 6 jillion times on classic radio, but if you listen to it closely and forget that you’ve heard it before, you’ll be hearing one of the greatest guitar ‘duels’ ever recorded. That’s Duane stinging Clapton.
Pick up the remastered verion of ‘Fillmore East’ and listen to Statesboro Blues. Find the old Boz Scaggs album/CD and listen to ‘Loan me a Dime’ or download ‘Hey Jude’ by Wilson Pickett..that’s Duane on guitar. Duane perfected the bottle-neck slide guitar sound that weaves through most of the great soul classics recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (including Aretha Franklin’s sessions).
“For a slide, I’ve always used a glass Coricidin bottle, just like Duane Allman. He told me that a bottle sounds different than a steel slide, and I think it does, so I copied him. Duane was one of my heroes and, in my opinion, he was the best slide player who ever lived. He had such a great touch. He was always on pitch – never sharp or flat – and that’s hard to do.” — Gary Rossington (of Lynyrd Skynyrd from Guitar Player Interview 03/99)
Duane understood that you didn’t have to play 300 notes in 10 seconds..he understood space between notes and the drama of holding back. Rolling Stone named him the 2nd best guitar player of all time..some may disagree, but I’ll take him over Clapton any day of the week.
R.I.P guitar god….