Album Review for Allman Betts Band – Down To The River – out on BMG.
It was always a matter of time before the children of the Allman Brothers Band members joined forces.
Here we have Devon Allman and Duane Betts on guitars and Berry Duane Oakley on bass, together with slide specialist Johnny Stachela, drummer John Lum, percussionist R Scott Bryan, plus keys by Peter Levin (Gregg Allman) and former ABB member Chuck Leavell.
Of course, Allman fans are hoping to recapture that magic but the band will want to set its own standard and not be an up-market covers band. Do they succeed? Yes, indeed!
Devon and Duane wrote eight originals, working with songwriter Stoll Vaughan, and there is one cover. Devon sings lead on five, Duane on three and one is shared but the guitars get equal billing, being well up in the mix.
If you want to rock All Night has a chunky riff and rousing chorus and the short Try is infectious. Or for catchy try Melodies Are Memories where slide meets a Caribbean-flavoured song delivered by Duane.
The Allman references include the characteristic dual guitar lines on Shinin and Autumn Breeze brings back memories of classic ABB material as its eight minutes affords the opportunity to build-up the tune from a relaxed opening into a spiralling guitar feature.
Good Ol’ Days reminds us to use all the time we have as today will become our memories and the title track is a gentle ballad with Devon’s lead well supported by harmony vocals.
The sole cover is not an Allmans tune but Tom Petty’s Southern Accents which Devon sings beautifully over solo piano accompaniment and the slightest hint of slide guitar, perhaps chosen to emphasise the southern roots of the band members.
There are many highlights on the album and no weak tracks at all.
Personal favourite is the final cut Long Gone with both men singing well on a wistful song of remembrance, guitar solos and slide highlights, just superb.
Album Review by John Mitchell
For More Info – Allman Betts Band