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‘Eat A Peach’: How The Allman Brothers Band Picked Up The Pieces

From the opening bars of ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’, The Allman Brothers Band set out to ensure that ‘Eat A Peach’ would be remembered as a classic.

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The Allman Brothers Eat A Peach

From the opening bars of ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’, which kicks off Eat A Peach the Allman Brothers set out their stall on with their third studio album. But as fans of the band know Eat A Peach is an album wreathed in sadness, because it was recorded between September and December 1971, and it was on 29 October that 24 year old Duane Allman was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. The album’s opening track was written for his brother by Gregg Allman.

It was originally a double LP and was a record of three distinct elements. There’s the shorter tracks that filled Side One of the first album while sides two of both records featured the half hour live ‘Mountain Jam’ that had to be cut in this way to accommodate its length, as well as two more tracks on side one of the second LP that had been recorded live. The CD version included ‘Mountain Jam’ as one complete track and later deluxe reissues featured additional songs from the 27 June 1971 Fillmore closing night concert.

Listen to Eat A Peach right now.

In September 1971 the band went to Miami’s Criteria Studios with producer Tom Dowd and at these sessions they cut, Blue Sky’, an instrumental they called, ‘The Road to Calico; that developed into ‘Stand Back, with the addition of vocals and Duane’s gorgeous instrumental, ‘Little Martha’. The band then went back on the road, before four of the band went to rehab to deal with their addiction problems.

Following Duane’s untimely accident the band agreed they must carry on. As drummer, Butch Trucks later said, “[Duane] was the teacher and he gave something to us – his disciples – that we had to play out.” The three tracks included on the album recorded at the December Miami sessions are ‘Melissa,’ ‘Les Brers in A Minor,’ and ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’. Les Brers, as Dickey Betts, the song’s writer later said, it was bad French for “the brothers. ‘Melissa’ was written by Gregg in 1967, one of the first he wrote that he deemed worthy of saving, and it was a song that Duane always loved. Gregg had always felt it wasn’t edgy enough for the Allmans and thought he might record it as a solo record someday, but decided to include it as a tribute to Duane.

The live tracks, including the extended ‘Mountain Jam’ were recorded at the Fillmore East; ‘Mountain Jam and Muddy Waters’s ‘Trouble No More’ in March 1971, while their cover of Elmore James’s ‘One Way Out’ dates from 27 June 1971.

Eat a peach 2
At the time Duane was killed, the band had no title for the album, and when it was finished Atlantic Records suggested it should be called, ‘The Kind We Grow in Dixie’, but this was rejected out of hand. It was Butch Trucks that came up with the title, suggesting they call it, “Eat a Peach for Peace”, a phrase that Duane had once said in response to a question during an interview. “I’m hitting a lick for peace — and every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace. But you can’t help the revolution, because there’s just evolution. I understand the need for a lot of changes in the country, but I believe that as soon as everybody can just see a little bit better, and get a little hipper to what’s going on, they’re going to change it.” Georgia is known as “The Peach State.”

Trucks too took inspiration from the album’s artwork that was largely created while Duane was still alive. W David Powell of Wonder Graphics had seen old postcards in an Athens, Georgia drugstore; one of which depicted a peach on a truck and the other a watermelon on a rail car. He bought them and worked up the album’s distinctive cover. Because the album had no name, it is the reason that the artwork was left title-less for its release.

Prior to the album’s release there was much speculation that without Duane the band would implode. To kick start the promotion of the record a live radio broadcast of the band’s New Year’s Eve performance at New Orleans’s Warehouse was arranged. It helped reinforce the idea that the Allman Brothers Band was still alive and well; when the record came out on 12 February 1972 it met with instant success and soon made No.4 on the Billboard album chart.

In the words of Rolling Stones’s Tony Glover “the Allman Brothers are still the best goddamned band in the land … I hope the band keeps playing forever — how many groups can you think of who really make you believe they’re playing for the joy of it?”

‘Melissa’ was the album’s most successful single, making #65 on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’ and ‘One Way Out’ were also released as singles, charting at numbers 77 and 86, respectively. In 1972 the Band played close to a hundred shows to support of the record, mostly as headliners, often with label mates’ Cowboy or Wet Willie as their opening act. As Trucks said, “We were playing for him and that was the way to be closest to him.

Listen to the best of The Allman Brothers Band on Apple Music and Spotify.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Jason

    February 12, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Georgia is the Peach State, not the Peachtree State

    • Syd

      February 13, 2015 at 3:20 am

      With all those street names………….could be!

  2. kevin

    February 12, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Why people always be moaning

  3. Larry

    February 12, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    OK article, but NO mention of Chuck Leavell. Really?

    • uDiscover

      February 12, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Because he had not yet joined the band.

    • John

      February 13, 2015 at 1:03 am

      Chuck played on Brothers & Sisters…it came out the following year.

  4. Kelly

    February 12, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    This is my favorite album of all time. Thanks for posting the article.

  5. Mark E

    February 12, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Eat A Peach is the first album I ever bought. It is just as good today as it was then. My favorite album from my favorite band.

  6. Joedee

    February 13, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Blue Sky is beautiful. I just love it.

  7. Jim

    February 13, 2015 at 4:12 am

    I had my 1975 Dodge van painted based upon the album artwork. The album, in addition to the watermelon rail car, featured two different peach trucks. I had one on either side of the van, the inside of the album across the hood, and a mix of album artwork across the rear doors. I won a few prizes in van shows. The artwork was “dedicated to a brother”.

  8. Alan Sheldon

    February 13, 2015 at 6:32 am

    One of the great albums from one of my favourite bands. No one seems to mention that “Mountain Jam” was a Donovan track originally .You know how it goes ,”first there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is? Oh yeh it was always a double album in Australia with the live sections and long drum solo..very 70s but i love it.

  9. keith hodges

    February 13, 2015 at 10:42 am

    five times saw,too in PA,3 NJ,,BEST OF THE BEST GROWING UP ,AT THOSE HAPPY-GO-LUCKY,TIME,DICKY ,ALLmans BROTHERS ,CAN SAY HAD A PART IN RISING ME,UP..TOO LOTS OF HAPPY FOLK THAN,JUST KEEP EYE OUT FOR THE MAN..THANKS TO BAND, AND ALLMAN BROTHERS, FOLK,YOU MADE SO MANY WONDERFUL TIMES,WE ALL CRY FOR THE GREAT LOSE,YOU ALL HAD,SO GLAD YOU KEPT THE MUSIC,ROLLEN THOUGH ARE VAINS,PEACE,,MAN,YOUR BIG LOVING FAN,HODGEE,

  10. Mark Gillespie

    February 13, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I am still unclear aboout which tracks Duane played on. Could you please list the tracks Duane did (and did not) play on. Thanks for a great article.

    • Ace

      February 13, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Mark – Duane did not play on Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, Les Bres in A Minor, and Melissa. Duane can be heard on Mountain Jam, One Way Out, Trouble No More, Blue Sky, and Little Martha.

  11. bufbox

    February 13, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Duane on the 3 live cuts …Mountain Jam, One Way Out, and Trouble No More. Also 3 studio cuts … Little Martha, Blue Sky, and Stand Back.

  12. vicki

    February 14, 2015 at 12:35 am

    I met Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman at Muscle Shoals Recording Studio at a book signing. I highly recommend her book, “Please Be With Me” A Song for My Father. If you are a fan, this book does not disappoint. She has a wonderful writing style as well! AND she has also compiled a CD discography that I purchased and have so enjoyed. Skydog: The Duane Allman Restrospective.

    • uDiscover

      February 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Vicki, the Skydog compilation is brilliant

  13. Tom

    February 14, 2015 at 1:24 am

    “One Way Out” is a Sonny Boy Williamson song, not an Elmore James song.

    • uDiscover

      February 14, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Written by Elmore and Sonny Boy, recorded by both, originally by Elmore we believe.

  14. Rick Birkman

    February 14, 2015 at 5:06 am

    After 30 years, Blue Sky is still my favorite song of all time

  15. Sandy

    February 14, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Curious why Pete Shaless…probably wrong spelling…isn’t mentioned he played keyboard for them a lot in the years Gregg was not able to…not to get into the problems. But I think Pete deserves tribute as well.

  16. bobo hook

    February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    “… if everybody can just see a little bit better, and get a little hipper to what’s going on…..” Duane says it best. the world could use his simple advice in 71′, a full session of fillmore east, and eat a peach albums. simple kindness towards humanity is what duane lived and played for. it’s not a religion but a simple thread that connects us all in a peaceful way…music.

  17. coy

    February 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    My first concert was The Brothers 1972 Macon City Auditorium… Awesome

  18. Bryant

    February 23, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    “Blue Sky” evokes memories of those perfect spring days in Georgia, going to the river to throw sticks in the water for Bootleg to fetch-

  19. TERRY

    March 9, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Took my daughter to gregg &freinds in 1977. dickeys band opened. we saw the ABB twice every year from 1989 till 2006.helll, we even won a back stage pass at riverbend.the VERY best band ever!

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