Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kickin' em out: 1995

This was a tough one. Who do you kick out of a class that includes Led Zep, Joplin, Neil Young, Zappa, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Allman Brothers Band and Al Green?

This is an impenetrable block on VH1 Classic's "Rockfest." It's one-quarter of a juke box at the Charcoal Pit.

But when you get past the names, and think about the actual music, the decision becomes easy.

I don’t get the Allman Brothers Band. Never have, never will. They possess exactly zero songs that I would leave on if they came on the radio. 

Many have called them the most influential band of the early 1970s. I can’t agree more: This means the Allman Brothers are responsible for loads and loads of steaming sonic bullshit, 8-minute wankfests boasting solos that wander aimlessly, big mustaches, bigger beards, countless babies conceived in the back of huge gas-guzzlers mere seconds after their parents-to-be polished off another doobie and the rise of 7-11. I can’t explain the last one but it’s a fact.

East Stroudsburg's finest.
Look, I’m not a fan, so I don’t know all the albums. But if you’re a nut for the Allman Brothers, and you’re raging mad because of what I’m about to do, then you should be able to list their classic tunes one after the other and impress me into thinking I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do.

     -- "Melissa” holds a special place in my heart because it was a mainstay on the juke at Rudy’s, the finest bar in the Poconos, but outside of those incredibly friendly confines, that song is more mediocre than the Montreal Expos' Tim Wallach.
-         -- I swear to the rock gods, I never knew that knife-to-the-skull-annoying song that plays over all of the hippie crap and terrible retro 70s TV movies was called “Jessica.” I didn’t even know it had words, I thought it was just a 12-minute instrumental featuring that riff and piano run over and over and over again.

-- “Midnight Rider” is not a tough, gritty rock gem.
-- “Whipping Post” is not a bluesy tour-de-force.
-- “Ramblin’ Man” is not a timeless classic.
Allman Brothers with no Allmans? Major violation.
What makes these songs so amazing? What separates these guys from the cornball cover band at the corner bar? Why are there 15 people in the band at different times? Why does the current lineup, and the one that's been around for the last decade or so, have neither Allman Brother and is instead run by Dickey Betts? 

If you want to argue that the Allmans have a lot of decent songs, I’ll just agree with you to end the argument. If you want to say they’re the equivalent of a one-time NBA all-star, but not an upper-echelon great, superstar or perennial all-star, then fine.

Look, I'm sorry Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. I respect their longevity, I guess. But they are not worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Certainly not with the 1995 class. 

21 members. 44 years. 18 albums. Hey Allman Bros. - Cleveland Does Not Rock bucket go BOOM.


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