Bluesy, languid and slow, Gregg Allman’s 1973 solo debut, Laid Back, comes off exactly as its title infers. Recorded after the deaths of his brother, Duane, and the Allman Brothers bassist, Berry Oakley, Laid Back finds Gregg stretching out and easing into swampy, country blues, soul, R&B and cover material (most notably the Jackson Browne penned tune “These Days” – See Below).
The album has always felt like a beautiful long, healthy sigh — a deep breath with Gregg exhaling and reflecting after major, major life changes. In sharp contrast to the Allman Brothers Brothers & Sisters, which was released the same year, Laid Back is loose and relaxed, with Gregg’s voice, and organ work, out front and center.
Commercially, the LP is most notable for the re-recorded, downbeat and diirge-like version of the Brothers’ staple, “Midnight Rider,” but make no mistake, Laid Back is an early ’70s, southern, blue eyed soul treat from beginning to end.
“Please Don’t Confront Me With My Failures, I have not forgotten them.” – These Days
Penned by a, then young and unknown, southern California singer-songwriter, named Jackson Browne, and originally sung by Nico on her 1967 solo debut, Chelsea Girl, “These Days” has long been one of my favorite lyrical confessions. Whether it’s Nico’s, now classic, reading or Gregg Allman’s lonesome country blues, the essence of the song comes through every time.
Within its frame, it bears the great line, “Please Don’t Confront Me With My Failures, I have not forgotten them,” that seems to resonate with every artist who has ever covered it.