[Slowhand] Derek-Eric etc. slight error regarding Back home though
scottw at racerxill.com
Mon Apr 17 12:20:40 EDT 2006
Allman Brothers' guitarist continues to bridge generations
By GEORGE HENRY
Associated Press Writer
14 April 2006
Associated Press Newswires
(c) 2006. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
LIVE OAK, Fla. (AP) - When the Allman Brothers Band begins a two-hour set
to close the Wanee Festival Saturday night, the seminal Southern rock act
will be minus one of its two lead guitarists.
Derek Trucks, a former child prodigy who was 11 years old when he debuted
professionally with the Allmans and Bob Dylan, agreed last fall to spend a
brief sabbatical with Eric Clapton.
With rehearsals nearly under way for Clapton's European tour, Trucks will
take this "once-in-a-lifetime chance," as he puts it, and trade licks on
stage with Slowhand. Trucks' uncle, co-founding Allman Brothers drummer
Butch Trucks, believes "the kid" will energize Clapton's shows.
"To be honest with you, he's the one who keeps raising the bar for us," the
58-year-old Trucks said. "Now it's everything we can do to keep up with
him. Derek has a sense of musicality that I've never experienced with
anyone else because he takes a solo and works it and builds it and rips
your damn heart out.
"Every time, he does it differently. You never know what he's going to do
next. He's a raving little genius."
Anyone with an appreciation of rock history knows what happened the last
time Clapton borrowed a guitarist from the Allmans: Derek and the Dominos
had already recorded a few tracks for their 1970 opus, "Layla and Other
Assorted Love Songs," when Duane Allman accepted Clapton's invitation to
visit Tom Dowd's Criteria Recording Studios in North Miami.
Allman's wizardry on slide guitar raised Clapton's mettle significantly.
The result was four-sided album that many critics consider the finest
moment of Clapton's career; the classic riff Allman created to open the
title track helped "Layla" become one of Clapton's signature songs.
Derek Trucks, whose self-titled band will leave for Europe after playing a
midnight show that follows the Allman Brothers' set Friday night in the
Florida Panhandle, met Clapton through guitarist Doyle Bramhall II.
Trucks' wife, blues artist Susan Tedeschi, hired Bramhall to work on her
2004 release, "Hope and Desire." Bramhall toured the U.S. with Clapton that
year, and he's back for the next round, too. Trucks accepted a role in
backing up Clapton on his 2005 album, "Back Home."
"I think maybe Doyle turned Clapton on to some of our records because he
was familiar with the stuff we've done in our band," Trucks told the San
Francisco Chronicle last month.
Trucks was 19 when he joined the Allman Brothers full-time seven years ago.
In a band that's had 10 different lineups to record an album and tour
extensively, the current incarnation began when guitarist-singer Warren
Haynes returned in 2001. That was a year after keyboardist-singer Gregg
Allman and the drumming duo of Butch Trucks and Jaimoe decided to dismiss
the group's most prolific songwriter, founding guitarist-singer Dickey
Many of Betts' songs -- "Jessica," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "No
One to Run With" -- remain integral parts of every tour.
Haynes and Trucks work together so fluidly, however, that Gregg Allman
considers the interplay as sophisticated as the groundbreaking material
that Duane Allman created with Betts from 1969-71.
Gregg Allman said: "The Allman Brothers Band today sounds as good as the
band sounded when my brother was alive."
A motorcycle wreck in 1971 in Macon, Ga., killed Duane Allman at the age of
24. Founding bassist Berry Oakley died the same way, not far from his
friend's crash site, a year later.
Such tragedies would destroy most bands, and the Allman Brothers' recurring
bouts with substance abuse, divorce and insolvency hardly helped. As the
decades rolled by, however, and the band rode a roller-coaster of public
favor, it was no coincidence that Haynes' addition sparked favorable
turning points in creativity and ticket sales.
Each time, the Allmans returned blues standards like "Hoochie-Coochie Man"
to the delight of audiences that continue to draw a surprisingly young
demographic, which knows the band was a source of creativity for second-
generation acts like Widespread Panic, the Dave Matthews Band and moe.
Without Betts' country influences, jazz elements are more prominent because
they flow more easily now from Haynes, Derek Trucks, bassist Oteil
Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones.
Betts endured more comparisons to Duane Allman than any other guitarist who
played in the band. Derek Trucks, however, isn't far behind. What's
interesting about Trucks is that he's confident, talented and humble enough
to carry "the next great slide-guitarist" mantle with aplomb.
The band does a scorching version of "Layla" with Trucks on lead, Haynes on
vocals and Gregg on Bobby Whitlock's old piano part. Trucks would love to
play the tune with Clapton.
"Eric brought up the Duane connection, but it was more off the cuff,"
Trucks told The Wall Street Journal recently. "It would be a thrill to play
those tunes with him, but I think once the band gets together it will kind
of lead itself. I know when and where I'm supposed to be for rehearsals,
and that's about it."
Not surprisingly, Trucks and Haynes were eager last month when longtime
band associate Kirk West suggested that the Allmans celebrate the 35th
anniversary of the release of "Live from Fillmore East," cited by many
critics as the best live album ever made, during the band's annual March
stint at New York's Beacon Theatre.
That set was true to the original album, but nothing touched Butch Trucks
more than the epiphany as "Mountain Jam" opened the second show of a 14-
Had Duane Allman returned to the stage?
"When we finished the song, I turned around and looked at Marc (Quinones),
and it was just so overwhelming," Trucks said. "I was crying, tears running
down my cheeks."
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