Jackson Browne remembered Gregg Allman as “one of the most gifted singers of the last 50 years” in a touching tribute posted to Facebook. Allman died Saturday of complications from liver cancer at the age of 69.
As Browne noted, he and Allman became friends in Los Angeles in the late Sixties, when Gregg and his brother Duane were fronting their pre-Allman Brothers outfit Hour Glass. Hour Glass recorded the Browne-penned song “Cast Off All of My Fears” for their debut album, and later Allman rearranged Jackson’s song “These Days” for his 1973 solo album, Laid Back.
“He was a blues singer first, and he was so natural, and so soulful, that when he sang songs that were written in a major scale, he found all the most soulful and expressive passages through those changes,” Browne said of Allman. “It was just how he heard it. That’s how it was with my song, ‘These Days.’ He slowed it down, and felt it deeply, and he made that song twice as good as it was before he sang it.”
Browne said he got to speak with Allman before his death and “tell him how much his music and his friendship has meant to me.” The songwriter also touched on their final collaboration, “Song for Adam,” an early Browne tune that Allman recorded for his forthcoming final album, Southern Blood.
“He and [producer] Don Was sent it to me to sing on, and I did,” Browne said. “That song, the way he sang it and where he sang it from – at the end of his life – well, he completed that song, and gave it a resonance and a gravity that could only have been put there by him.
“I will miss him,” Browne continued. “I send my deepest condolences to his family, his bands and crews, and all those who knew him and loved him.”
Browne and Allman also notably teamed for a performance of the Allman Brothers’ “Melissa” for the 2014 tribute album/concert, All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman.