ALLMAN BROTHERS LEGACY ALIVE AND WELL IN MACON

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Michael Hepworth

 

 

ALLMAN BROTHERS LEGACY ALIVE AND WELL IN MACON

Gregg_Allman_1975
Duane Allman

Georgia (Perfect Music Today) 10/29/17/–The heyday of the Allman Brothers Band was probably in the early seventies but the folks in Macon still remember them well and recent visit to this sleepy Southern town confirmed the fact that they are still big news. There are streets named after Duane Allman plaques all over town commemorating places in the bands history and more importantly, The Big House, a former residence of the band which has now been turned into a museum.

The tragic death of Duane Allman from a motorcycle accident in Macon in 1971 could easily have derailed the band, but they soldiered and had to deal with it all again when bassist Berry Oakley also suffered the same fate about a year later. Talking to friends of the band they said Duane was an excellent rider but always rode too fast.

Oakley on the other hand was far less proficient, and did not die on the road but came back to the ‘Big House’ and perished there. There were of course other setbacks with Gregg when he went Hollywood after marrying Cher, even though the diva superstar actually moved to Macon for a spell. Then there was the notorious Macon drug trial from 1975 when Gregg was strongly advised about what a good looking white boy with long blond hair could expect in a Georgia prison. A roadie ended up taking the rap, and it took a long time for that stink to die down..

Of course none of this would be possible without talking about their manager and mentor Phil Walden, who bankrolled a bunch of drug taking hippies without any two minute singles who preferred to play for free. All the magic was created at Capricorn Records which went bankrupt about the time disco music ruled the airwaves, but now it is set to reopen in an attempt to recreate the old magic. Phil Walden’s widow by all accounts took her husband for a small fortune in the divorce and is now one of the leading socialites in the city, and yes there is a highway named after Walden.

The Big House is where most of the band lived together until 1973 until they had made enough money to buy their own homes. Upstairs you can see the rooms where various members lived. and the rest of the house is a living, breathing memory of the band.

Guitars, flamboyant outfits and costumes, drums and hundreds of photographs adorn the walls along with priceless posters of many of their concerts. Rock Candy Tours have a walking tour of downtown Macon every Friday night and Saturday morning leaving from the Rookery Café. that includes all the hot or relevant music spots in town.

The tour pinpoints various parts of town relevant to the Allman Brothers as well as some Little Richard and Otis Redding spots, as both of those were Macon natives. The Redding family still lives in Macon and are very approachable when talking about the soul legend. The two hour tour ends up at the notorious Grant’s Dive Bar, a live music venue that used to see legendary jam sessions every weekend that brought Southern Rock fans from all over the world.

The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, organ, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums).

 

The Big House-2321 Vineville Avenue, Macon

www.thebighousemuseum.com     478-741-5551

Rock Candy Tours- www.rockcandytours.com

Visit Macon.org     800-768-3401

 

 

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