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Allman Brothers Band - Hell and High Water: The Best of the Arista Years

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 20 / 9 / 2017

Allman Brothers Band - Hell and High Water: The Best of the Arista Years
Label: Retroworld
Format: CD


Fine compilation album which features the best of the Allman Brothers Band on the Arista label in the early 1980's

'Hell and High Water (The Best of the Arista Years)' is a compilation album of Allman Brothers Band music on the Arista label from the early 1980s. Tracks one through six are culled from their album 'Reach for the Sky'. The track 'Hell and High Water' starts with a gospel choral prelude into guitar and a steady drum beat. “We’ve been through hell and high water/Ready to go through it all again.” Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts are singing about the lost highway and a million miles. It is good stuff and I admit never having heard this Arista years material of the Allman Brothers in the early 1980's before, but I find it evocative. Even without 'Eat a Peach' calibre early 1970's material, this is still a great band. On 'Mystery Woman', the lyric is “I’ll keep on searching because I know you’re out there/All I got to do is open my eyes.” It is another solid tune and another fine Gregg Allman vocal. 'From the Madness of the West' begins and extends with rich epochal instrumental form. Great tandem guitars and tandem drumming - it is an album highlight for sure. Tracks seven-11 are culled from the 'Brothers of the Road' album. That title track states “If we don’t lose, we’re bound to win.” It is a fine, appealing rocker: “The music must go on… Everything’s going to be all right… all night.” 'The Judgment' is sung by Dickey Betts. “You got to hold your ground,” Betts sings, “… Time has not been wasted.” The lyrics speak of thunder, lightning, a wooden stake and a storm brewing. 'Never Knew How Much (I Needed You)' is the closer. “Time and time again I felt these walls of plaster closing in.” The song describes a lonely feeling, capturing a tone similar to Jackson Browne’s 'These Days'. A kindred kind of melancholy is evoked here. “I still love you more than ever,” the narrator declares, grateful for the company, “I am so glad.” It is a fine heartfelt moment, and more good Allman Brothers fare - solid and earnest. 'Hell and High Water' constitutes more rich music from the Southern rock jam band giants.

Track Listing:-
1 Hell and High Water
2 Mystery Woman
3 From the Madness of the West
4 I Got a Right to Be Wrong
5 Angeline
6 Famous Last Words
7 Brothers of the Road
8 Leavin'
9 Straight from the Heart
10 The Judgement
11 Never Knew How Much (I Needed You)

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