Hourglass - Southbound (The Rare Liberty Recordings US 1969)

Minggu, 14 Oktober 2012

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In the beginning of 1967, Greg and Duane Allman, then with the Allman Joys, gigged at a Pensacola club. The other resident band was the Five Minutes whose members included Sandlin, McKinney and Hornsby. These five musicians shared a love for hard-rocking English acts (mainly 'Stones and Yardbirds) and for R&B. They relocated to Decatur, Alabama and, after trying out different names, settled on the Allman-Act. 

Their break came when Bill McEuen, manager of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, caught their show in St. Louis and persuaded them to move to Los Angeles. Producer Dallas Smith signed them to Liberty Records, the label who had also taken two of McEuen's other clients: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Sunshine Company. Since they were already several groups with almost similar names, the Allman-Act became the Hourglass. 

The five men then realized that the fledgling Liberty label wanted to use session musicians and songwriters songs instead of the relying on the bands talent alone. They tried to fight the process but won only a few concessions. The resulting album is, unsurprisingly, not really convincing and contains mainly pleasant pop/rock, the exceptions being the more electric tracks: Got To Get Away (the only Gregg original, already recorded with the Allman Joys), Jackson Browne's Cast Off All My Fears and Ed Cobb's Heartbeat. Duane Allman's guitar can be heard from time to time only. The album and the singles were a total commercial failure and McKinley left to be replaced by another former Five Minutes, Jesse Williard (Pete) Carr. 

The group then demanded artistic freedom from Liberty and Hourglass were allowed to choose its own material, and Dallas Smith remained as their producer. Released in March 1968, Power Of Love, their second album, was a vast improvement on its predecessor, being much bluesier, with seven Gregg Allman songs, a Solomon Burke song, two Eddie Hinton/Marlin Greene tracks (Down in Texas and Home For The Summer), one Penn/Oldham cover (the title track) and a really weird instrumental version of Beatles' Norwegian Wood, beginning with Duane's electric sitar before degenerating into a kind of raga rock. The sales were low once again. 

Hourglass were then playing live a lot, being booked every month at the Whisky A Go-Go and sometimes at the Fillmore West, including three nights with Buffalo Springfield, indeed Neil Young and Steve Stills wrote the enthusiastic liner notes for Power Of Love. They developed a strong reputation as a solid driving blues rock outfit but they were really unhappy with their records. With $500 from a gig, they finally rented Rick Hall's Studio in Muscle Shoals and cut some tracks on their own in April 1968 (one of these tunes BB King Medley is included on Duane Allman Anthology). The group returned to California with their tapes but Al Bennett at Liberty vetoed their release. They played some Southern gigs and eventually just drifted apart. 

Gregg was then forced to finish out the contract with Liberty and had to record, using session musicians, a pop oriented solo album which was shelved (the recorded tracks are the bonus on the CD reissues). 

After this unsuccessful Los Angeles period, all the musicians would return to their Alabama / Georgia / Florida area and would took a central part in the creation of the Southern Rock in the early '70s. Duane would first go to the Fame, Muscle Shoals and Criteria Studios to do sessions with soul and rock acts before forming the Allman Brothers Band with Gregg in 1969. He also was in Derek and the Dominos with Eric Clapton. One of the best slide guitar players ever, he sadly died in 1971 in a motorcycle accident. His brother is still touring with a new version of the Allman Brothers Band. 

Johnny Sandlin, Paul Hornsby and Pete Carr are credited as producers, session players or group members with countless bands (Charlie Daniels, Wet Willie, Marshall Tucker, Sailcat, Cowboy etc.).

02.February 3rd
03.God Rest His Soul
04.Apollo 8
05.It´s Not My Cross To Bear
06.Down In Texas
07.Three Time Loser
08.Bad Dream
09.She Is My Woman
11.Kind Of A Man
12.I´ve Been Trying (Version 1)
13.In A Time 

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