I’m No Angel – Live on Stage DVD
Cherry Red Films
BluesWax Rating: 8 out of 10
Short, sweet, and a very solid 1988 Gregg Allman Band
This version of the Gregg Allman Band was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, late in November of 1988. The sound is excellent, though the video is a little grainy. Total run time is just fifty-two minutes, no bonus tracks or anything but the concert is included. I have to say that considering most Allman-related projects I was surprised that this DVD was so brief. All in all ten songs are captured, including well known Brothers’ covers.
The concert kicks off in Allman Brothers Band style as this band competently roars through the instrumental “Don’t Want You No More” and segues into the well-known blues “It’s My Cross to Bear” that finds a pudgy Gregg looking glassy-eyed but he’s in very good vocal form and his B3 is right where you’d want it to be. The smiley “Dangerous” Dan Toler makes his presence known ripping up some nasty and energetic blues licks from his guitar. The swampy and shuffling “Sweet Feeling” also folds right into the pocket and also offers some heady keyboard work from Tim Heding, and several blasts from Toler’s guitar also invigorates the mood. “Just Before The Bullets Fly” lopes along until Toler impresses again with another flare from his rapid-fire guitar, bassist Bruce Waibel also locks in smartly. “Fear of Falling” is a moody ballad that fits well at this juncture of the show, which is now about midway. It’s back to the blues with “Demons.” Lord knows Gregg had some, but not here as the band looks happy and proud playing the heck out of these blues.
The radio smash hit “I’m No Angel” also storms and gets yet another boost from Toler’s riveting guitar. The Brothers anthem “Statesboro Blues” is given an expected rollicking treatment and thus far it’s the longest tune clocking in at (by ABB standards) an anemic six plus minutes, but it’s a meritorious rendition especially when Toler rolls into warp drive. There’s a sweet cover of the tune Clarence Carter made famous “Slip Away” where even the fake horns from Heding’s keyboards add allure.
It’s time to go home as “One Way Out” starts hauntingly and slowly then erupts with a dazzling solo by Toler as the band lifts off in jam-band mode nearly doubling the length (almost thirteen minutes) of all songs performed prior, now that’s what I’m talking about! Toler throws in some unexpected guitar surprises that don’t mimic most ABB versions, all of which are very welcomed.
Tis is a fine flashback look at the Gregg Allman Band, the band is solid throughout, Gregg shines, but the biggest surprise for me was how I forgot how good Dan Toler was, (and still is) as there are many moments where his crafty and powerful guitar work steals the show. In summary, I really enjoyed the entire video, where my only complaint is that the liner notes didn’t include the musician’s credits. But at least they added their names at the end of the on-screen video, but no where else.
Bob Putignano is a senior contributing editor at BluesWax, a contributing writer at Blues Revue, and the heart and soul of Sounds of Blue.
About the Author: