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THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND

Eat a Peach
Rating: 3 (library disc)
      Have you ever said to yourself, “I love guitar music – at least I think I do... is there some sort of endurance test in which I can expose myself to the maximum amount of mediocre guitar noodling to prove my love?” If so, Eat a Peach is your album.
   If the nine minutes of “Les Brers in A Minor” (which consist of four minutes of cymbal rolling and general noisy strumming followed by a pretty darn catchy guitar lick and some beautiful diminished chords, which are then repeated over and over under lengthy guitar solos) don’t do you in, perhaps you’re up for “Blue Sky” in which a lovely country ditty that features a whopping verse and a half is stretched to five minutes by the inclusion of the exact same solo as in “Les Brers”; if you make it through “Blue Sky” then you’re ready for “Mountain Jam” – no less than 33 minutes of guitar music that will truly test your mettle.
   The casual guitar music fan will get through something catchy like “Blue Sky” because of the lilting tune and heartwarming lyrics, or dig “Les Brers” for its striking melodic motifs (the main theme goes on for 16 measures, which is comparable to your average Schubert melody, and much longer than an average rock tune), but only true guitar aficionados will embrace “Mountain Jam.” Not only is the length mind-numbing, but the playing is less than stellar. You get numerous incidents of one or both guitarists hitting wrong notes, you get noodling on the same five notes for minutes on end, and about 4½ hours in, there’s a moment when Duane Allman whips out his trusty rusty slide and proceeds to play an extended passage in the wrong key. And to get this bonanza of guitar goodies, you have to listen to two drummers playing just slightly out of sync, so you feel like you’re listening to the song played on two stereos placed just far enough apart that the beat goes in and out of phase.
   Having endured this and proven your credentials as a true guitar lover, you can relax and enjoy the standard blues-rock which fills the rest of the album in an entirely predictable, although pleasant, manner. You are now qualified to proceed to the Grateful Dead’s collected works.

READER COMMENTS

  • From William F. Reidlinger: Have you ever listened to Thelonious Monk? Everything he plays in the beginning of most of his songs is out of key and dissonant, later resolving into a beautiful and masterful work. When I first heard “Les Brers in A Minor” I was a college student in 1972. I liked the song then but for different reasons than now. I was hooked by the basso ostinato that emerges in mid song. My brain was not completely formed at the time and, as such, I was not able to comprehend the fullness of this composition. Not only has it stood the test of time for me, it blows me away when I listen to it. This at the ripe old age of 54. Yes, I can say I saw the band with Berry Oakley and Duane Allman just weeks before the Fillmore concerts.
    Do you happen to know what ‘Les Brers’ means? One website translates it from French into ‘The Brothers in A Minor.’ I’m sorry but my daughter is a French major and she tells me ‘The Brothers’ in French is ‘Les Freres.’ She doesn’t recognize ‘Les Brers’ as a French word. Either this is true or I’m not getting my money’s worth after 9 years of French classes!

  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Dennis says, "Yah." Abe says, "What would happen if you didn't have bones?" Steve says: "I think 'Les Brers' is mock-French. Br'er is a Southern-ism for brother, like in the Br'er Rabbit stories. Thanks for writing!"

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