I typically don’t do the same type of post twice in a row for variety’s sake. But I heard a version of this song and I couldn’t resist…
I’ve been run down and I’ve been lied to.
And I don’t know why, I let that mean woman make me a fool.
She took all my money, wrecks my new car.
Now she’s with one of my good time buddies,
They’re drinkin’ in some cross-town bar.
As anyone who has read these pages for more than five minutes knows, I’m a major-league Allman Brothers fan. I wrote a series about them starting here and then about life (sort of) on the road with them starting here. I’ll leave you to listen to them for yourself but I think I’ve given a pretty good idea in previous posts what I dig about them.
On November 4, 1969, The Allman Brothers Band hit the scene with their eponymous debut album and despite critical acclaim, proceeded to sell, like, two copies. Blues-based rock bands were a dime-a-dozen back then and outside of the South and a few pockets in the North, nobody knew or cared who these guys were. But eventually the world caught up.
The final cut on this terrific album is the now-classic “Whipping Post.” According to Wikipedia, “Gregg’s travails in the music business would provide the thematic inspiration for the new song, which was written quickly on an ironing board cover.
He later said: “It came so fast. I didn’t even have a chance to get the paper out. That’s the way the good songs come—they just hit you like a ton of bricks.” Gregg and guitarist Dickey Betts quickly became the band’s principal songwriters (when the band weren’t covering and rearranging old blues tunes.)
“Whipping Post” went on to become not only a staple of many Allmans concerts but has been covered by numerous others including contestants on shows like American Idol and high-school marching bands. (Is that good or bad?) Frank Zappa was even goaded into doing a version after people wouldn’t stop calling for it at shows. (Me, I like to call out for a medley of Whipping Post/Free Bird/Stairway, even if it’s just a guy playing a kazoo.)
I would post the At Fillmore East version but it’s 20+ minutes long. It is, I think, infinitely better than the studio version so dig that one up if you like. But this one is still a burnin’, churnin’ gumbo of good bluesy rock. Berry starts you off:
Mountain Heart “is an American band, which combines elements of rock, jam band, country, blues, jazz, folk and bluegrass music into a high-energy sound. Critics now describe the band using terms such as “acoustic overdrive,” “folk-rock on steroids,” and “slam grass.” (?) Mountain Heart, or its members have won or been nominated for multiple Grammys, ACM, CMA, and IBMA Awards.
They have appeared on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry over 130 times and have shared the stage with acts ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Levon Helm, Punch Brothers, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Brad Paisley, to Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, Travis Tritt, Yonder Mountain Stringband, Leann Rimes and Patty Loveless.”
Not bad for a fairly new band, eh? Nope, they go back to 1998 and I only just recently learned about them myself. A lotta virtuosic playing here, kids. All acoustic, no drums. Sit tight. If I believed that people could really smile down from heaven, I’d like to think Gregg would be:
Now this last version is the one I stumbled on that totally fucked me up. You may know that Berklee College in Boston is one of the leading music – especially jazz – schools in the US. (Maybe the world, don’t know.) I’ve been there a few times to see concerts, recitals etc. but not for some time.
Apparently they have a five-week summer program for kids who are about to enter college. And encouraged, no doubt, by some aged fossil like myself, they do covers of rock classics such as the charming “Back in Black” and the gracious tune known as “Kashmir.”
So here is the orchestra from 2017 doing their turn on “Whipping Post.” How old are these kids, 18? Probably don’t even know who the ABB were and might as well be Gershwin for all they know. But it doesn’t really matter when they get down on it. This made my heart go pitter-patter. (No Spotify of course but do a search on Berklee Five-week Whipping Post or something if you can’t hear this one):
This was arranged by Professor Mimi Rabson of Berklee