By: Steve Morse
For the Boston Globe
Gregg Allman sounds more like a grizzled baseball manager every day.
Listen to him describe the latest lineup of the Allman Brothers Band: ”We got our beloved Haynes back and we had already acquired the kid. And, of course, we had the rhythm section.”
To further the baseball analogy, the Allmans hit for the cycle on their new CD, ”Hittin’ the Note,” the first album of new material in nine years (and first since guitarist Dickey Betts was booted). Most of the reviews have been stellar, and there is a clear rejuvenation taking place, which carried over to a well-received appearance at the Bonnaroo Festival this summer and will hopefully continue at their Tweeter Center show on Sunday, July 13.
”The album came out much better than I thought it was going to,” says Allman. ”I got in there and felt the [studio] vibes, and I actually physically felt kind of youthful. Although it was raining outside, I couldn’t feel any arthritis. But here I am talking about arthritis. People don’t want to hear about that.”
Hey, a good baseball manager tells it like it is. And so does Allman.
When he talks about Haynes, he means Warren Haynes. And the kid is Derek Trucks. They’re the Allmans’ dual guitarists these days, and they have really started to jell.
The new CD revives the Allmans’ vintage stew of Southern rock, funk, and blues through such standout tracks as ”Maydell,” the sexy ”Desdemona,” and the apt ”High Cost of Low Living.”
The band also received production and mixing help from Michael Barbiero, who previously worked with everyone from Ziggy Marley and Scritti Politti to Whitney Houston and Joe Cocker.
”I didn’t know what a heavy he was until I got in there,” says Allman. ”But I did notice that he was the quiet one, and the quiet ones are the people you got to watch. My grandmother told me that a long time ago, because the quiet ones are the ones taking it all in.”
Allman thinks this is the band’s best album since ”Eat a Peach” in 1972. ”The vibes were just like that,” he says. ”Talk about the good ol’ blissful times. We each had maybe two pairs of Levis and eight T-shirts back then. But, man, we had fun.”