The Gregg Allman Band: I’m No Angel / Just Before The Bullets Fly

Southern rockers’ soft-edged 80s excursions.

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It’s 1987 and Gregg Allman is imploring that you let him show you his tattoo, while leggy models pretend to be sheriffs in his video. Many were the 70s rockers who rebooted in the MTV era, with varying results.

Strangely, Allman kind of pulled it off, as I’m No Angel, the faux-Bruce title track from his first solo album in ten years, gave him a hit single (later covered by ex-missus Cher) and a gold disc. Two years on, he followed it with the even tamer blues rock of Before The Bullets Fly, but by this point the conversation had turned to the Allmans reunion.

Anodyne period production doesn’t help the albums. The first sounds like Michael McDonald covering Bob Seger while channelling Kenny Loggins.

Gregg’s gritty southern soul-man voice blows hard, but the songs are lacklustre. There’s even one written by Michael Bolton, and a cameo by actor Don Johnson. The second hangs haplessly somewhere between Clapton/Winwood and Paul Young phoning in Daryl Hall covers.

There can be little argument that Gregg Allman has led an interesting life. You wouldn’t know it from these duffers, which did a job for him but have stood the test of time like a paper tent resists a hurricane.

Classic Rock 215: Reissues

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Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.