Archive for Cher

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack – Gregg Allman … and Woman

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , on January 9, 2011 by 30daysout

Click to unfold Miss July 1957, Yvette Vickers (NSFW!)

Have to admit, I have given a lot of thought recently on whether we should continue this series.  The original concept was to give a spin to old records that were not famous or well-remembered for one reason or another – mainly because they weren’t as good as classics like Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper’s.  But it was getting to be slightly depressing, because these mostly forgotten albums are still light years better and more listenable than much of today’s musical offerings.

As you can see, I decided to soldier on – but with an eye toward balance, I’ve resolved to seek out albums that were recognized as not so good in their time.  And, ho ho, that’s what we have today – the 1977 masterpiece Two The Hard Way, billed to “Allman and Woman,” who were of course Gregg Allman and his then-wife Cher.

The story starts in 1975 when Gregg Alllman, the only living Allman Brother in his eponymous band, married pop singer and TV star Cher in Vegas.  At the time most people felt they took this unlikely step because he was coked out of his gourd and because Cher was batshit crazy – at the time she and Allman married, her divorce from Sonny Bono had been official for only three days.

Of course, nine days after the marriage Cher filed for divorce.  He pledged to dry out and eventually won her back within a month.  But the stress of the whole thing aggravated Cher’s acne and she couldn’t tape her TV show.  Early the next year, in 1976, she re-teamed with ex Sonny for a new “Sonny and Cher” TV show and that freaked out Gregg and he left – but they got back together and had a son, Elijah Blue.

Whew!  The Allman Brothers Band had pretty much broken up by this time because Gregg was busted for drug possession in 1976 and in exchange for immunity from prosecution, Allman testified against tour manager John “Scooter” Herring and threw him under the bus.  For supplying drugs to Allman, Herring got 75 years in prison (he actually served only 30 months before the sentence was overturned).  The rest of the band considered Allman’s testimony an act of betrayal, so the band soon broke up.

Amid this soap opera, at some point Allman and Cher decided to cut an album together.  Allman served as the album’s producer, and he enlisted the help of rock heavyweights like guitarist Fred Tackett (Little Feat), bassist Willie Weeks and, on horns, Jim Horn and Randall Bramblett. The album was a mix of Allman’s Southern soul-rock and Cher’s pop stuff.

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Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 8

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by 30daysout

theforce allmeat

There was no denying that, by 1975, popular music was undergoing another change.  The advances of the late 1960s had sunk in, and rock had already gotten over the Beatles by introducing bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Foghat.  The second wave of hard rockers were honing their chops in 1975, and names like Aerosmith, Boston and Van Halen were waiting in the wings.

But the pop charts were showing a different shade: black.  Black artists had always been a part of pop music, of course: names like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross regularly appeared on the Top 40, as did Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and the Staple Singers.  By 1975, soul music and R&B had been influenced by psychedelic guitar music, and the new music born from that was called funk.

Curtis Mayfield

One of the big artists of the early Seventies was Curtis Mayfield, who soldiered through the 1960s as the mastermind behind the Impressions and their groundbreaking hits like “People Get Ready,” “Keep On Pushing” and “We’re A Winner.”  Mayfield left the group in 1970 and as a solo artist he helped put black music on the top 40 with his classic soundtrack to the blaxploitation movie Superfly.   In 1975 Mayfield took his own label, Curtom, to Warner Bros., and he anchored the first sampler from that year, All Meat.  In 1990 Mayfield would be seriously injured by falling stage lighting, and he was paralyzed from the neck down.  After nearly a decade in this condition, Mayfield died in 1999.

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