Saturday, October 17, 2009

A deuce with some juice

The Allman Brothers never had a No. 1 song, and you can blame a tart named Cher.

After scoring her first chart-topper in 1971 with "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves'' Cher -- who had already outgrown Sonny Bono as a performing partner -- struck gold again with "Half-Breed'', Billboard's No. 1 song on this date in 1973. That's the song that kept the Allman classic "Ramblin' Man'' from reaching No. 1.

Gregg Allman would later pay Cher back by making her one of his six wives (though none of them concurrent). But that maneuver would provide little solace to Dicky Betts, who delivered one of the most famously recognizable southern rock licks in "Ramblin' Man'' (not to mention the distincitive vocals.)

You could say "Ramblin' Man'' deserved a better fate, but No. 2 wasn't bad for a reshuffling band that had lost its guitar-blazing heart (Duane Allman) and bass beat (Barry Oakley) less than 13 months apart in motorcycle accidents within three blocks of each other.

Lord I was born a ramblin man
Tryin' to make a livin' and doin the best I can
And when it's time for leavin
I hope you'll understand
That I was born a ramblin' man

My father was a gambler down in Georgia
He wound up on the wrong end of a gun
And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin' down Highway 41

I'm on my way to New Orleans this mornin'
Leavin' out of Nashville Tennessee
They're always having a good time down on the bayou
Lord them delta women think the world of me

There hasn't been a time driving up and down U.S. 41 that I haven't thought of that song. I don't remember thinking of ''Half-Breed'' driving down any old road, in fact I don't remember it at all. But I'm sure it was special.

No comments:

Post a Comment