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Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman (2014)

by Galadrielle Allman(Favorite Author)
4.17 of 5 Votes: 4
1400068940 (ISBN13: 9781400068944)
Spiegel & Grau
review 1: Exquisite. I guess some readers will focus on the insider story aspect and judge the book solely in those terms. That's unfortunate, because what's most impressive is the writing. I've read everything else written about Duane Allman; now I wish I had read none of it. I'm still considering how Galadrielle pulls this magic off. Most writing about rock music is entirely expository or emphatically mystical or oscillates wildly between the two. In this book, those aspects are seamlessly interwoven, with the effect that the reader can live the story rather than merely read it. She also does a masterly job of humanizing her father, which requires that she reveals his ordinariness and limitations without negating his achievements. For all his artistry, when Duane Allman died at 24... more he was still in many ways a boy. It's extraordinary to me that Galadrielle has revealed him as a real (as in "deeply flawed") human being without undermining her (or my) respect for him and his work. In this regard she has done even more for my understanding of Duane's brother Gregory. There are so many ways this book could have gone off the rails: one example is the potential to be distracted by the Gregg/Dickey animosity, which plagues other writers but is irrelevant to the Duane story.I first became aware of Duane Allman when as a music obsessed high school junior I got my hands on the Derek & the Dominos "Layla..." album, which opened the door between being a fan and becoming a musician, although it took me a few years to walk through. I wasn't then and have never been interested in rankings of guitarists. For reasons I still don't fully understand, at 16 years old I locked in on two aspects of guitar playing: improvisation and interplay. This is why while I can objectively appreciate the extraordinary playing of Hendrix, Beck, Clapton with Cream etc., the pinnacle for me (when focusing entirely on guitar playing) requires two guitars and is exemplified by Clapton/Allman and Allman Betts (songwriting and the way guitarists interpret songs is even more important to me, which brings in players like Grant Green and Steve Cropper, but that's not the focus here).The improvisational interplay between slide and lead on the Layla album (least on the title song as it happens) stopped me in my tracks. The only slide playing I was aware of until then came courtesy of Elmore James and Muddy Waters, so I assumed I was hearing a black guitar player (in New Zealand we only really had the records to go by). I scanned the rather poorly rendered photos on the locally printed album cover and found the "black" slide player. It took a little while to realize I was misidentifying the swarthy bass player Carl Radle. Turns out Allman was whitest of them all: an early and enduring lesson in the folly of superficial and simplistic polarization by race. I immediately acquired "At Fillmore East" and the rest is (my) history.This all happened just before Galadrielle Allman was born. Over 40 years later the musician in me understands thanks to her.
review 2: I admit, I'm a captive audience because of my affinity for the music, the musicians and the legend of Duane Allman, but i was still blown away by Galadrielle's writing, her approach and the spiritual journey she takes on in this book. I've read Skydog, My Cross To Bear and One Way Out so i expected redundancy, what happened instead is a completely new take on the band in the light reflected by Duane through his daughter. The author presents deep points of view from new characters and the effect is personal, emotional and bittersweet. An ambitious, revealing, loving discovery mission is pulled off beautifully by Galadrielle. less
Reviews (see all)
A fantastic story - told by many mouths - but written by one sharp pen ! Loved it !
I cried my eyes out.
Good and sad read.
Skimmed it. OK.
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