For all of the wild times and memorable music that many musicians experienced in the 1970s, the fact that there are many others who perhaps did not reach the same level of acclaim in their career but whose personal life may have had its fair share of drama is almost stunning. For every Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton, there is a Gregg Allman. Artist of some success, but known for his personal exploits somewhat more.
Some people know Allman for his work in creating Elijah Blue Allman, the son he had with Cher and who appeared as a guitarist in her video for "If I Could Turn Back Time" when he was 14. But it was his work aside from that which produced some recognizable songs including "Black Hearted Woman," "Ramblin' Man" and "Midnight Rider." Following the sudden and tragic death of his brother Duane when they were both just 24 years old, Gregg continues making albums and music that was a mix of Southern rock and blues combined with the soulful vocals of Gregg.
In this special, recorded in 1988 in Nashville, Gregg shows off some of his stuff that made his music great. The set, albeit brief, included the following songs:
"Don't Want You No More"
"It's My Cross To Bear"
"Just Before the Bullets Fly"
"Fear of Falling"
"I'm No Angel"
"One Way Out"
One of the problems in trying to assess a concert that clocks in at just over 50 minutes is that it is less a concert and feels more like an opening act. And the decision to pick a short set to show off Allman's talents is a bizarre one for me to consume. It is clear based on the time that Allman and his band was playing in support of his 1988 album "Just Before the Bullets Fly," with three songs from the album played in the show as an indicator. But whether it is the environment of the club or the band's state of mind, there simply is not much to do justice to Allman's talents. Gregg, I am trying to extol your virtues here, whatever you were on at the time (along with the UK production outlet Cherry Red, who is apparently hoarding similar films from a variety of artists) are not doing you any favors.
At the end of the day, I'm No Angel is not the best judge or document for the work of either Gregg Allman or the Allman Brothers Band in general. I think the special should definitely be seen because as the specter of time moves on, artists like Allman may tend to be forgotten past who they may have had a child with, and this is as good a start as any to get involved with the man's music.
The show is presented in 1.33:1 full frame and shows every bit of it. There is some banding and aging that seems to have come from an old videotape and it shows up here also, colors have faded but at least there is no processing of the image? I kid, I kid. But in all sincerity, there was nothing to really be wowed by when watching this, it looks like a straightforward transfer to disc with little qualm.
Two-channel audio is the only track to speak of, and it is one that it not entirely special. The music is replicated decently, though Allman's vocals tend to be somewhat lacking. Guitars sound clear and the rhythm section of bass and drums conveys a club familiar to those who have perhaps seen club acts before and had the same experience. There was so little to expect from me on this disc that anything that did not sound garbled would have been a mild surprise.
If anyone knows me and/or has read my work on concert DVDs in the past, you may readily discern that when it comes to most modern music, I tend to put on my grumpy old man pants. I'm No Angel may have its problems, but the music certainly lasts past the lackluster disc presentation and the guy responsible for many of these songs through the years. It is definitely worthy of a rental to change up your musical tastes.