07 September 2015
Hour Glass - 1968 - Power of Love
Trip-O-Meter: 3.5 out of 5
Speaking of artists' baby pictures, here we've got Gregg and Duane Allman stuck in a blue-eyed soul group. It's not embarrassing - the future stars shine well - but it's not quite a good fit. Still, this is the second album, which I've read is more in the right direction than the first. Diverging a bit, I should admit that's I've never quite know what to make of the Allman Brothers. For many years, I sort of just assumed that they were a solid band that I didn't rally want to listen to. Then I started warming up more and more to there spacier instrumentals, better ballads, and "Rambin' Man." But I'm from the deep South, and I start getting repulsed when the more redneck-y, Lynyrd Skynyrd vibes start kicking in. Then again, I string my Les Paul just like Duane Allman (wrapped over the bridge) to optimize for slide guitar - so I guess I have to be a bit of a fan to do that.
Getting back to Hour Glass, there is a notable disconnect between what the record company probably wanted, and what the bros. wanted. Most of the tracks want to be the Grass Roots, although with more powerful vocals and significantly better lead guitar. I'm not going to say the Grass Roots straight-up sucked, but I will say the the best thing to come out of the band was Creed from the Office. Then there are three tracks with the Allman DNA struggling to come out. "Changing of the Guard" wouldn't be completely out of place on an Allman's album, "To Things Before" seems to test out the chord pattern for "Melissa," and "Now Is the Time" hints out some of the later band's jazzier vibes. We've also got an outlier with a cover of "Norwegian Wood" featuring Duane on electric sitar. Do I need to say more. With the bonus tracks, you get some notable added value with several tracks from an aborted Gregg Allman solo album, which definitely comes closer to the sort of sounds you would expect, especially with an early run of "It's Not My Cross to Bear."
If you are down with the Allmans, you've either heard this already or you need to. For the rest of use there are some groovy sounds to be had here. A few essentials, and a lot of stuff that walk the line from fair to middling, with a small helping of surprisingly good.