"I remember hearing 'Hey Jude' by Wilson Pickett and calling either Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd and saying, 'Who's that guitar player?'" says Eric Clapton in the top video below. It turns out the guitar player was a 22-year-old Duane Allman, aka "Skydog."
Traditionally, the rock guitar hero is a lone gunslinger who swaggers onstage, commandeers the spotlight, and out-sols the competition with a blazing display of showmanship. Don't tell Mr. Shred, but he's playing in the Masturbatoryian mode. Perhaps that's why some of rock's most enduring acts feature two guitarists.
Some have tried playing the guitar with their teeth, behind their back, with their feet, etc. And then there was the inventive guitarist who, many decades ago, decided to slip a bottle over his finger and slide it along his guitar's strings (He probably emptied the bottle himself, if you know what I mean).
In honor of the expansive new box set from Rounder Records, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, we focused on his single-note soloing on classic Allman Brothers’ cuts like “Stormy Monday” and “Whipping Post.” This month’s column is dedicated to Duane’s mastery of the art of slide guitar.
Duane Allman had three primary Les Pauls during his time with the Allman Brothers Band. The 1957 goldtop that he played on the band’s first two albums as well as most of the Derek and the Dominos Layla sessions has been on display at the Big House Museum in Macon, Georgia.
Now in paperback, Randy Poe's Skydog: The Duane Allman Story (Backbeat Books) is revised and expanded, with a new afterword by the author, plus a foreword by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. It's the definitive biography of Duane Allman, one of the most revered guitarists of his generation.
The Allman Brothers Band was largely Duane’s conception, and it was his unflagging energy and incredible guitar playing that drove them to mesmerizing heights as they blended rock, jazz, blues and country in new and exciting ways. Unfortunately, the guitarist was killed in a motorcycle accident in October of ’71 just as the band was achieving large-scale commercial recognition.