I Love The Life I Live, taken from Gregg Allman’s final album Southern Blood, has been released. The song was written by Willie Dixon, and made famous by versions recorded by Muddy Waters and Willie Nelson. The album also features covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Jerry Garcia.
Southern Blood was recorded live in two weeks at the world-renowned Fame studio in Muscle Shoals Alabama, and produced by Don Was.
“Gregg was thrilled that the sound in his head was manifesting itself on the tape,” says Was. “He didn’t have all the lungpower of his younger self, but we felt that these raw, weathered performances were honest and compelling. We all agreed to leave them as they were on the day they were recorded. In the spirit of Laid Back [Allman’s first solo album], Gregg wanted to hear things like background harmony vocals and reverb on his voice, but this album is essentially a documentary of our two weeks in the studio.”
“Gregg was not feeling great,” says Allman’s manager Michael Lehman. “But being a true professional, he gave it his all as usual. He hit the studio every day for about four or five hours and would typically nail one or two of the songs.”
“As his producer, I was dedicated to helping Gregg crystallise his vision for the record and to help make sure that this vision made it to the tape,” says Was. “He was a musical hero of mine and, in later years, had become a good friend. The gravitas of this particular situation was not lost on me. Gregg was a sweet, humble man with a good heart and good intentions and it was a great honour to help him put his musical affairs in order and say a proper farewell.
“Even though I’d known Gregg for a while, I was still blown away to be there with him and to witness his genius up close. I can still remember being swept away by his performances. He was so deeply engaged with the music! Working closely with him reinforced and further enhanced my view that Gregg Allman was one of the greatest artists of this or any time.”
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Southern Blood is available on standard CD, deluxe CD plus DVD, and a limited edition “first run” vinyl edition on hardwood coloured heavyweight vinyl, including an exclusive lithograph “blood painting” by Vincent Castiglia.
“The work, the album, the painting, the story and my dad’s fight to keep playing music those last few years, for me, symbolises dedication, passion and contribution, says Gregg Allman’s daughter, Layla. “My dad loved what he did because it allowed him to contribute to people’s lives and took his own pain away.
“He metaphorically gave his blood to the music and fans for decades, and as a statement on his last body of work he gave it literally. Being a part of that is a gift from my dad that I will cherish forever. Here, and in all the places and hearts his music touched around the world, his spirit lives on.”
Southern Blood is released on September 8, and can be pre-ordered now.