A PARTING GIFT FROM THE MIDNIGHT RIDER (Found in the Connection: Rattling Loose End #109)

I confess I didn’t know that, in his last decade on the road, Gregg Allman, became only the third singer to really understand “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”  Dozens, if not hundreds, have tried, including a lot of gifted Yanks (Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin, who did probably the best sounding version) and the Yankeeest Southerner who ever lived, Johnny Cash (who proved you could be that and still be loved by the Southernest Southerners and who, perhaps for both those reasons, was completely confounded by the song on every level).

Out of all that and much, much more, only Levon Helm, Tanya Tucker and Allman got all the way inside it.

I offer a mea culpa as I assumed he was an oldies act.

Instead, he went down swinging, or at least figuring out it should have been “we was hungry” all along.

4 thoughts on “A PARTING GIFT FROM THE MIDNIGHT RIDER (Found in the Connection: Rattling Loose End #109)

  1. No. Listen to the live version by the Zac Brown Band Allmans version was not good and he is reading the lyrics. Tanya is dancing while she sings it.

    • I agree ZBB’s version sounds “better”. Cleaner, more professional, they get all the lyrics right (not a small thing after Joan Baez’s clueless version became such a big hit) and are clearly committed to the material. But I don’t hear them being inside the song. Sounds like a tribute…a fine tribute but a tribute nonetheless. I think Tucker and Allman expand the song. (And, in her case, turning it into a foot-stomper is what makes it for me…dance away!) It’s all subjective, though. Everyone brings their own perspective, be it performer or listener. That’s what makes it fun.

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