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Gregg Allman Albums Ranked

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PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

All right folks, here's my personal ranking or Gregg Allman albums. I'm sure there will be some disagreement.

1. LAID BACK - one of my favorite albums by anyone, it's every bit the masterpiece it's hailed as.

2. GREGG ALLMAN TOUR - the live album always felt like Laid Back Part II to me, they go together. The laid back-style "Dreams" is magic.

3. ONE MORE TRY - a treasure trove of Gregg Allman in progress. The solo acoustic stuff is some of my favorite of Gregg's recordings.

4. LOW COUNTRY BLUES - we finally got to hear Gregg belting out some classic tunes with a barrel-house band backing him up. I'm not sure why this album seems to have fallen out of favor over the past few years. I love the production on it, even if it wasn't Gregg's vision. But Johnny Jenkins didn't like Ton-Ton Macoute and Muddy Waters didn't like Electric Mud and I love both of those albums.

5. BACK TO MACON - a super solid live album featuring Gregg's dream band doing what they did best.

6. SOUTHERN BLOOD - I know, I know, why is this so low on the list? "My Only True Friend" is fantastic, "Song for Adam" is powerful stuff, I love that he chose Johnny Jenkins' "Blind Bats & Swamp Rats". I know it was Gregg's vision, he hand-picked the songs while staring death down, his band in the studio but...the rest of the album sounds so over-produced - the steel guitar feels like it's non-stop. Mostly fantastic, but where Laid Back was melancholy, "Willin'" and "Black Muddy Water" sound a bit sappy.

7. ALL MY FRIENDS - a fantastic tribute with so many amazing interpretations of Gregg's songs, the best of them (Sam Moore, Vince Gill) make up for the country bros.

8. PLAYING UP A STORM - Gregg bent with the times so Storm has your typical 1970s funky keyboard production. Still some great material like the re-arranged "Come & Go Blues" and a couple of Ray Charles and Clarence Carter covers.

9. SEARCHING FOR SIMPLICITY - some of the best studio performances (Jack Pearson!) on a Gregg Allman album. The Gilded Splinters-style "Whipping Post" is one of Gregg's best re-arrangements. There are a few great classic covers like "I've Got News for You" but so many of the songs are pretty weak ("Silence Ain't Golden").

10. JUST BEFORE THE BULLETS FLY - I'm No Angel was Gregg's comeback, but the follow up is a slightly better album, including the catchy Warren Haynes-penned title track.

11. I'M NO ANGEL - the album that made Gregg relevant again, but it's not a very good album. Thanks to the bland production of the day, the album could have been released by any mid-80s artist, including the novelty song title track. If you wanted to know what it would sound like if Gregg did the soundtrack to Fletch, here you go.

12. ALLMAN & WOMAN | TWO THE HARD WAY - well, it's definitely interesting, but it's every bit the dreck you'd expect it to be.

 

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 1, 2021 7:25 pm
nebish liked
Stephen
(@stephen)
World Class Peach

Good post PCBob - Laid Back & One More Try are my 2 exempt-from-comparison ones🤧😮

am a bigger fan of the 2 1980s GAB studio albums as the late Dan Toler is great on them - they’re 2 of a kind & the EHWoman & DWYNM/Cross To Bear are fantastic - Dangerous Dan🤙

but yeah Playin Up A Storm & Allman & Woman had the same heavily produced slick sound - same as the 2 Arista albums & there’s good tunes on all imho🎵🎶

The last 3 don’t sound particularly overproduced to me, esp the duck tape mix of SforS - gosh it’s hard to pick between LCBlues & Southern Blood alone, they’re both so good, Gregg hardly ever sang better

the Dreams on GATour is inviolate just like the studio one - it was the 1st commercially released live one, & w/all the incredible versions that came out later, this one still is exempt😮 - the orchestra & Tommy Talton’s solo,🌎🤙

cool thread, thanks PCBob

ABB forever

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Posted : April 1, 2021 8:38 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
A Peach Supreme

I own all of those including Allman and Woman. In the late 70's I met a girl who was a huge Cher fan and she had me playing it everytime she was there. Played it maybe twice since. Also it didn't make the charts but neither did Searching For Simplicity and it's a real fine album. 

The best selling is Laid Back and I'm No Angel. Both earned gold records ( 500,000 plus copies sold). 

I really enjoy the guitar work of Cowboy and their two song set on The Gregg Allman Tour. It's a very good album and Chuck on keys is a big plus. Bill Stewart and Jaimoe on drums together works well too. 

Playing Up A Storm was Gregg's effort to get back to it after the Allman Brothers refused to work with him again. That only lasted a year and a half as the four originals played in Central Park at a Great Southern show. Gregg blamed Phil Walden for not getting behind Playing Up A Storm and letting it die on the vine. I think it sold about 100,000 copies which would be 10,000 copies today. 

Lousy record sales for everyone is why Low Country Blues and Southern Blood to a lesser extent charted so well  ( Low Country made it to No. 5, best of any Gregg solo release) but didn't go gold. 

Warren Haynes talked about the era of the missing zero in an interview during Covid. An album that sold 500,000 copies back in the day would only sell 50,000 today for example. 


 

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Posted : April 1, 2021 8:48 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
A Peach Supreme

 

Hope you don't mind a slight diversion here. I tried to find some live Cowboy that isn't audio only but no luck. 

Always thought Tommy was a fine slide player. He is like me here. Old. 

 

 

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Posted : April 1, 2021 9:23 pm
Rusty liked
Lee
 Lee
(@lee)
Universal Peach

Wow Bob, cool list. You must have put a lot of thought into this. You are right, I'm sure opinions will differ. I love One More Try just for the fact that I had never heard those versions on the songs when I was finally able to get a copy. The version of "Rain" is worth the cost of tracking it down alone.

I love Searching. There's not really any standout songs but the album as a whole is great IMO. 

The two late 80s albums frankly stunk. Definitely both have that 80s sound to them.

And while I've posted this in other threads, I kinda like the album with Cher. Definitely none of his best work (to which Gregg has said), I thought it was worth listening to.

Fun thread! 😀 

You got to go to hell before you get to Heaven.

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Posted : April 2, 2021 8:06 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@lee the Cher album is a guilty pleasure, I loved when they did a duet from it at the tribute. Footage from Cher's show and those concerts are like some kind of weird fever dream where Gregg Allman has clearly been kidnapped by aliens.

 

Too bad they never toured together again

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 2, 2021 9:10 am
Rusty
(@rusty)
Peach Extraordianire

After "Laid Back" it's a long drop to #2 (whichever you decide).  

"Low Country Blues" never, ever registered with me.  I might have played it though once ... I'm not sure I did.  I have some theories on how this record was produced and recorded that I pretty much keep to myself.  To me, it just sounds like a T Bone Burnett record with Gregg adding "after-the-fact" vocals.  

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Posted : April 2, 2021 9:40 am
Rusty
(@rusty)
Peach Extraordianire

@robertdee  I love Tommy Talton!  

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Posted : April 2, 2021 9:41 am
bird72
(@bird72)
A Peach Supreme

Pretty much agree with your list with one BIG disagreement.  I put Simplicity at number 3 after Laid Back and GA Tour.  I find it a great bluesey album.  The only caveat is the song Memphis in the Meantime, which is a stylistic oddity in the mix and a real clunker.  But the others flow in a great groove as a whole.  

I will add that I played Low Country only twice and it never resonated.  Southern Blood is good, but I only played it once, it just is too sad in context for me.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by bird72
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Posted : April 2, 2021 10:01 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@rusty I disagree about the process of LCB.

I remember reading T-Bone gave Gregg a list of deep cuts to choose from, and they fit Gregg really well. Some soul, some blues at midnight type stuff. Some tunes aren't that deep like Muddy's "Can't Be Satisfied", which Gregg kept performing for years. Gregg was a big Little Milton fan and might have picked "Blind Man" himself. Gregg's performance on "Please Accept My Love" is one of his best. It's missing Gregg's songs and folk side, but Gregg had pretty much stopped writing by then anyways. At the time Gregg was pretty excited about it, but I read he wanted his next album to feature his band. I think it's cool we got different sides of Gregg.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 2, 2021 10:04 am
Rusty liked
Lee
 Lee
(@lee)
Universal Peach
Posted by: @porkchopbob

@lee the Cher album is a guilty pleasure, I loved when they did a duet from it at the tribute. Footage from Cher's show and those concerts are like some kind of weird fever dream where Gregg Allman has clearly been kidnapped by aliens.

 

I didn't know they did a duet. What release is that on? I probably have it, just never listened to or watched it. I find that funny because Gregg says in his autobiography that Cher is a bad singer. 😮 

You got to go to hell before you get to Heaven.

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Posted : April 2, 2021 10:13 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@bird72 Agree about "Memphis in the Meantime", the arrangement just didn't come together for Gregg. It's actually a decent John Hiatt song.

 

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 2, 2021 10:14 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@lee

Matrina McBride and Pat Monahan performed a duet of Gregg & Cher's "Can You Fool"

here's the original

(apologies if my use of pronouns was confusing - one of my own pet peeves; I didn't mean Gregg & Cher themselves performed a duet at the All My Friends show, only that an Allman & Woman song was performed then)

 

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 2, 2021 10:17 am
bird72
(@bird72)
A Peach Supreme

@porkchopbob, if GA had used Hiatt's as a template, it might just have worked!

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Posted : April 2, 2021 10:25 am
robertdee
(@robertdee)
A Peach Supreme

@porkchopbob I seem to remember Cher and Gregg started a tour in Europe but it fell apart before it was completed. Maybe just a few dates played. Do you recall?  I bought Playing Up A Storm about June of 1977. It was on Capricorn. Then I think it was November of 1977 Two The Hard Way came out and I bought that and it was on Warner Brothers. Several of the same musicians on both.  Bill Stewart played drums on Storm and Hard Way as well as Laid Back and The Gregg Allman Tour.  Willie Weeks played bass on both Storm and Hard Way. I think Ricky Hirsch was Gregg's lead guitar player at this time. Gregg had moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and continued to live there and work out of LA and in Gregg's book Gregg says Phil Walden was angry Gregg refused to move back to Macon so only allowed 50,000 copies to be pressed assuring it would not sell well. 

Sea Level came out on Capricorn also in 1977 and late in the year Cats On The Coast and Chuck had added other musicians including George Weaver on drums and shifted Jaimoe over to congas. 

Dickey put out his first Great Southern album on Arista. 

None of these albums sold well. 

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Posted : April 2, 2021 11:11 am
MartinD28
(@martind28)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @rusty

@robertdee  I love Tommy Talton!  

Me too. I basically taught myself to play guitar by playing along to the first few Cowboy albums as well as Gregg's early songs.

 

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Posted : April 2, 2021 3:27 pm
Rusty liked
Rusty
(@rusty)
Peach Extraordianire

@martind28  "In Someone Else's Shoes" is one of my favorite albums by any act associated with the ABB ... one of my favorites - period!  I actually got to tell this to Tommy, himself.  He is a warm and gracious human being.  

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Posted : April 2, 2021 3:45 pm
MartinD28
(@martind28)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @rusty

@martind28  "In Someone Else's Shoes" is one of my favorite albums by any act associated with the ABB ... one of my favorites - period!  I actually got to tell this to Tommy, himself.  He is a warm and gracious human being.  

@rusty

Tommy is a really talented guitar player, vocalist, & songwriter. I have all of the old Boyer & Talton material. Can't give enough compliments. The band with Randall B. was tremendous. Randall - another multi talent. I know you're a big follower like me.

In case you haven't seen this vid, here's a good quality one from a handful of years ago. You can get all the vids from this Deep Roots Festival. I think there's about an hour plus. This isn't the original band, but you'll recognize all the players. RIP Scott Boyer.

 

 

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Posted : April 2, 2021 4:43 pm
Rusty liked
harvey
(@harvey)
Ultimate Peach
Posted by: @bird72

Pretty much agree with your list with one BIG disagreement.  I put Simplicity at number 3 after Laid Back and GA Tour.  I find it a great bluesey album.  The only caveat is the song Memphis in the Meantime, which is a stylistic oddity in the mix and a real clunker.  But the others flow in a great groove as a whole.  

I will add that I played Low Country only twice and it never resonated.  Southern Blood is good, but I only played it once, it just is too sad in context for me.

100% agree Tony! ... In fact, I play "Searching for Simplicity" far more often than any other Gregg solo album these days (no pun intended) and much prefer the original "Duck Tape" mix by Johnny Sandlin to the commercial release.

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Posted : April 3, 2021 4:22 am
robslob
(@robslob)
Peach Extraordianire

Excellent list porkchop and I enjoyed your knowledgeable commentary too.  My two cents:  I would put Back To Macon up to #3.  It's the band Gregg said he always wanted and the live performances are just sterling throughout.  I'm SO glad that band was documented for posterity before Gregg passed away.  Gregg's soul singing on tunes like "I've Found A Love" is PRICELESS.  And Gregg was sober when he made it which is why his singing is so spectacular throughout this show. 

My only other comment would be as others have mentioned Searching For Simplicity deserves to be ranked a bit higher, for me #6.  Porkchop you didn't mention the two strongest cuts on Simplicity which for me are Dark End Of The Street and House Of Blues.  Those are Gregg singing the blues at his best and I've heard Gregg do them both live a couple of times.  Both times he introduced Dark End Of The Street by saying "This was one of my brother Duane's favorite songs" so obviously it had a special place for him and he really delivers on this record.  I know from Johnny Sandlin's book though that Searching was difficult to make because Gregg was still showing up at the studio loaded which pissed Johnny off to no end.

There will always be difference of opinion on a list like this but your list was very good and very complete.  Glad you put "Allman and Woman" dead last.......UGH.......

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by robslob
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Posted : April 3, 2021 11:02 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@robslob

I know there are a lot of people who enjoy Simplicity, I knew there'd be some disagreement with how low I ranked it (I expected some Southern Blood defenders, too). It just never made a mark on me.

Honestly, "Dark End of the Street" isn't one of my favorite songs, and Gregg's version on Simplicity is one of my least favorite takes. I think because Gregg didn't really do anything to it except recreate James Carr's original. Gregg did perform a lovely versions at the Beacon during their acoustic sets.

That's why Simplicity never did much for me - the songs are all 1990s generic blooz, "House of Blues" included. It's an ok song, but most of the songs aren't worthy of Gregg. I recall Johnny Sandlin had a lot to say about the making of that album in his book, didn't sound like it was a great experience.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 3, 2021 11:45 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@robslob "I've Found a Love" is fantastic. It's almost surprising when Gregg stretches his range and really belts one.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 3, 2021 11:48 am
bird72
(@bird72)
A Peach Supreme

Bashing Simplicity as a formulatic piece of disposable work "not worthy: of GA and elevating Low Country to #3 as a great one only proves how subjective preference is.  Many would use that exact take and reverse Simplicity with LC on what it applied to.  Putting up your preference list of GA stuff was cool.  Then sit back and disagree with others is lame.  It's subjective dude.  Your vanilla is others chocolate.  

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Posted : April 3, 2021 1:52 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
A Peach Supreme

@martind28 Enjoyed the Tommy Talton  video. Apparently the same show I used earlier. 

I saw Tommy play the first two times in 1974 with Gregg on the Laid Back your. Then in  December of 1974 I saw them out supporting The Gregg Allman Tour at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. I seem to remember it was in the Gym. Tommy was very good both times. On the second show, in December, Gregg didn't have the orchestra or Jaimoe. Just Bill Stewart on drums and Chuck on piano. Can't remember who was on bass guitar. 

Tommy played with a metal slide and was real tasty. Stanback was a standout. 

I bought a couple Cowboy albums in the early 1970's when I found out Duane Allman really liked them and Tommy.  

They never had a breakout release but they should of. 

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Posted : April 3, 2021 2:27 pm
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@bird72

Hey, dude, I never said he was he was wrong, just expanding on my opinion - I thought I would clarify why I'm not as much of a fan of an album that many people here like. Sorry if you thought I was being definitive, but I don't feel like I have to preface everything with "subjectively speaking" - that is self-evident.

Also, I would not call Searching a "formulaic piece of disposable work", so maybe avoid embellishing when you paraphrase. As I said, I do enjoy a few tracks.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 3, 2021 2:38 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
A Peach Supreme

@bird72 Laid Back is the only Gregg Allman album that in my mind is a classic and a masterpiece. I own all of the rest but can't really rank them Laid Back, At Fillmore East and Eat A Peach to me are masterpiece releases similar to the Beatles Sergeant Peppers. 

What IS baffling to me is Johnny Sandlin saying Gregg was tanked everytime they worked on Simplicity because it came out in 1997 and in 1995 Gregg was so embarrassed about being drunk on TV when the band was in New York City for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he saw them being inducted and the performance of One Way Out that he immediately checked in to rehab and got sober and stayed sober. Even around 2012 Butch Trucks indicated in a interview Gregg was on drugs and his liver was as big as a basketball. When the interviewer expressed surprise and injected he thought Gregg had been sober for years, Butch seemed to realize he may have said too much and indicated he was talking about prescription drugs. 

Also in another interview back in the late 1990s Gregg said he cut Searching For Simplicity because they had a rehearsal and Dickey just noodles around for the longest time then they work up these songs Dickey  brought in that Gregg felt were not that much (Tombstone Eyes, J. J.'s Alley) then suddenly he realizes Dickey has left and the rehearsal was over. It really pissed off Gregg and he indicated he almost quit and that is why he called in Johnny, Jack and others and did his first solo album in 9 years.  

Okay I'm now looking at Wikipedia. Wikipedia claims Gregg had finally gotten off alcohol and drugs and was finally sober after years of problems with drugs and booze and the album was recorded over two and a half years and initially Gregg recorded 20 songs but after trimming the songs for the album down Gregg decided many of them were not good enough. Johnny Sandlin was the producer but Gregg then got Tom Dowd to take over and they went to Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California and recorded two new songs, "Memphis in the Meantime"and  "Starting Over". They appear as the last two songs on the album. 

I don't know man. Supposedly Gregg had gotten off drugs and was sober when Simplicity was made.

I play the album occasionally but probably just once so far this year. 

This is like the trip from LA in 1969 to join the ABB. Did Gregg hitchhike and ride across the country in a bass players car or did he catch a jet at LAX?

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by robertdee
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Posted : April 3, 2021 3:04 pm
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @robertdee

I don't know man. Supposedly Gregg had gotten off drugs and was sober when Simplicity was made.

I think you just have one piece of the story. From what I've read, Gregg had sobered up by the time they were finishing Simplicity. I just opened Johnny Sandlin's book and it states the first sessions were Feb 1995, and Gregg's drinking kept him from adding decent vocals to the tracks Johnny had been prepping. Eventually Tom Dowd took over and the album was taken out of Johnny's hands. You can find "Duck Tapes Sessions" bootlegs that feature the original mixes.

I hadn't read the book in years, I forgot that Hank Crawford is on "I've Got News For You".

Here's a rough early cut where you can tell Gregg is off his game, maybe it was just a scratch vocal track:

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 3, 2021 3:55 pm
MartinD28
(@martind28)
World Class Peach

No doubt "Laid Back" is most people's favorite Gregg Album. The first & best in my mind. As others have pointed out ranking is subjective. I thought the two he did with the Tolers were real nice & tasty. I also enjoyed "PUAS" Obviously the Live Tour featured much of Laid Back & impressive with big band & backing vox. I saw 2 dates back to back of that tour.

The "Allman & Woman" has gotten a bunch of negative feedback over the years on this site. But I thought there were some nice stuff on that album. I'm not sure I get Cher's vox...trying to figure what her voice is or falsetto, but I'm not sure that's it. Maybe someone can help describe this. Anyway, one of the cuts that they did I liked a lot called "In For The Night" - very soulful / jazzy which is the side of Gregg's style I like the best. The Dirt Band has a version of of this featuring Jeff Hanna on vocals...also sounds good.

Gregg's version

NGDB version

 

 

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Posted : April 3, 2021 4:33 pm
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@martind28 There's some sort of decent stuff beneath the LA shimmer on Allman & Woman. It's just so freakin' weird. It sounds like a coke fever dream.

"We're Gonna Make It" is a great old Little Milton song.

"Shadow Dream Song" is actually a sweet Gregg ballad

though I much prefer Gregg's solo demo verison

 

 

www.porkchopbob.com

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Topic starter Posted : April 3, 2021 4:59 pm
MartinD28
(@martind28)
World Class Peach

@porkchopbob

Spot on depiction. I think you nailed it. AAW was a real outlier for the albums Gregg recorded, and I have to think it's because of finding compatibility styles that would gel with Cher. As we mentioned, there are some good cuts. The Shadow Dream Song was a different genre from most of the other cuts. I learned a lot of Gregg songs in the early days on guitar, and this was one...pretty easy to play. Who wrote that? Something tells me Jackson Browne or Tom Rush?

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Posted : April 3, 2021 6:08 pm
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