Album Review

Gregg Allman's Graceful Goodbye

Gregg Allman - Southern Blood

If Gregg Allman had a premonition about his imminent demise, then it was little wonder that he poured his last full measure of inspiration into South Blood, the album that would serve as his final full requiem. And indeed, no better requiem could there ever be. Opting for a set of songs that are as timeless as they are touching, these new offerings were obviously selected with exceptional care, resulting in the accumulation of several standards and songs that will easily be elevated to that stature courtesy of a triumphant delivery and an elevated approach that belongs to the ages. Several songs are such obvious choices their inclusion seems second nature -- Tim Buckley’s majestic “Once I Was,” the oft-covered but never tiresome “Willin’” and Jackson Browne’s soaring “Song For  Adam,” which features the composer himself lending able support -- resulting in a cohesive collection that makes for the most memorable effort of Allman’s entire solo career. He’s never lacked in emotional investment, but the urgency in his vocals makes it clear that he’s not only invested in these songs, but that he’s conveying all the emotional intensity he’s capable of providing. “I Love the Life I Live,” one of two bonus tracks included on the deluxe edition, seems a final expression of purpose, but given the circumstances surrounding these efforts, it’s little surprise that the material resonates even more than usual. Intended or not, there could be no better example of a stoic farewell.