Early life[edit]

Allman and his brother Duane attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee in their childhood.

Gregory LeNoir Allman was born on December 8, 1947 at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee to Geraldine Robbins Allman (1917–2015) and Willis Turner Allman (1918–1949).The couple had met during World War II in RaleighNorth Carolina when Allman was on leave from the U.S. Army, and were later married. Their first child, Duane Allman, was born in Nashville in 1946. On December 26, 1949, Willis offered a hitchhiker a ride home and was subsequently shot and killed in NorfolkVirginia. Geraldine moved to Nashville with her two sons and never remarried. Lacking money to support her children, she enrolled in college to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)—state laws at the time, according to her son, required students to live on-campus.

As a result, Gregg and his older brother were sent to Castle Heights Military Academy in nearby Lebanon.A young Gregg interpreted these actions as evidence of his mother's dislike for him, though he later came to understand the reality: "She was actually sacrificing everything she possibly could—she was working around the clock, getting by just by a hair, so as to not send us to an orphanage, which would have been a living hell." While his brother adapted to his surroundings with a defiant attitude, Allman felt largely depressed at the school. With little to do, he studied often and developed an interest in medicine—had he not gone into music, he hoped to become a dentist.He was rarely hazed at Castle Heights as his brother protected him, but often suffered beatings from instructors when he received poor grades.The brothers returned to Nashville upon their mother's graduation, and moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1959. Allman would later recall two separate events in his life that led to his interest in music. In 1960, the two brothers attended a concert in Nashville with Jackie Wilson headlining alongside Otis ReddingB.B. King, and Patti LaBelle. Allman was also exposed to music through Jimmy Banes, a mentally handicapped neighbor of his grandmother in Nashville, who introduced him to the guitar.

Gregg worked as a paper boy to afford a Silvertone guitar, which he purchased at a Sears when he saved up enough funds.[7] Like his brother, he was left-handed, but played the guitar right-handed. He and his brother often fought to play the instrument, though there was "no question that music brought" the two together.[12] In Daytona, they joined a YMCA group called the Y Teens, their first experience performing music with others.[13] He and Duane returned to Castle Heights in their teen years, where they formed a band, the Misfits.[14] Despite this, he still felt "lonesome and out of place", and quit the academy.[15] He returned to Daytona Beach and pursued music further, and the duo formed another band, the Shufflers, in 1963.[13] He attended high school at Seabreeze High School, where he graduated in 1965.[16] However, he grew undisciplined in his studies as his interests diverged: "Between the women and the music, school wasn't a priority anymore."[17]

Musical beginnings[edit]

First bands (1960–1968)[edit]

We would rehearse every day in the club, go have lunch, rehearse some more, go home and take a shower, then go to the gig. Sometimes we would rehearse after we got home from the gig too, just get out the acoustics and play. The next day, we'd go have breakfast, go rehearse, and do it all over again. We rehearsed constantly.

 —Allman on his musical evolution[18]

The two Allman brothers began meeting various musicians in the Daytona Beach area. They met a man named Floyd Miles, and they began to jam with his band, the Houserockers. "I would just sit there and study Floyd ... I studied how he phrased his songs, how he got the words out, and how the other guys sang along with him", he would later recall.[19] They later formed their first "real" band, the Escorts, which performed a mix of top 40 and R&B music at clubs around town.[20] Duane, who took the lead vocal role on early demos, encouraged his younger brother to sing instead.[21] He and Duane often spent all of their money on records, as they attempted to learn songs from them. The group performed constantly as music became their entire focus; Allman missed his high school graduation because he was performing that evening.[22] In his autobiography, Allman recalls listening to Nashville R&B station WLAC at night and discovering artists such as Muddy Waters, who later became central to his musical evolution.[18] He avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War by intentionally shooting himself in the foot.[23]

The Escorts evolved into the Allman Joys, the brothers' first successful band. After a successful summer run locally, they hit the road in fall 1965 for a series of performances throughout the Southeast; their first show outside Daytona was at the Stork Club in MobileAlabama, where they were booked for 22 weeks straight.[24] Afterwards, they were booked at the Sahara Club in nearby Pensacola, Florida, for several weeks.[25] Allman later regarded Pensacola as "a real turning point in my life", as it was where he learned how to capture audiences and about stage presence.[26] He also received his first Vox keyboard there, and learned how to play it over the ensuing tour.[27] By the following summer, they were able to book time at a studio in Nashville, where they recorded several songs, aided by a plethora of drugs. These recordings were later released as Early Allman in 1973, to Allman's dismay.[28] He soon grew tired of performing covers and began writing original compositions.[29] They settled in St. LouisMissouri for a time, where in the spring of 1967 they began performing alongside Johnny Sandlin and Paul Hornsby, among others, under various names. They considered disbanding, but Bill McEuen, manager of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, convinced the band to relocate to Los Angeles, giving them the funds to do so.[30]

He arranged a recording contract with Liberty Records in June 1967,[32] and they began to record an album under the new name the Hour Glass, suggested by their producer, Dallas Smith. Recording was a difficult experience; "the music had no life to it—it was poppy, preprogrammed shit", Allman felt.[33] Though they considered themselves sellouts, they needed money to live.[33] At concerts, they declined to play anything off their debut album, released that October, instead opting to play the blues.[34] Such gigs were sparse, however, as Liberty only allowed one performance per month.[35] After some personnel changes, they recorded their second album, Power of Love, released in March 1968. It contained more original songs by Allman, though they still felt constricted by its process. The band broke up when Duane explicitly told off executives at Liberty. They threatened to freeze the band, so they would be unable to record for any other label for seven years.[36] Allman stayed behind to appease the label, giving them the rights to a solo album. The rest of the band mocked Allman, viewing him as too scared to leave and return to the South.[36] Meanwhile, Duane began doing session work at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he began putting together a new band. He phoned his brother with the proposition of joining the new band—which would have two guitarists and two drummers. With his deal at Liberty fulfilled, he drove to Jacksonville, Florida, in March 1969 to jam with the new band.[37] He called the birth of the group "one of the finer days in my life ... I was starting to feel like I belonged to something again."[38]

Come and Go Blues

People say that you're no good
But I wouldn't cut you loose, baby, if I could
I seem to stay down on the ground
Baby, I'm too far gone to turn around
Oh, if only you would make up your mind
Take me where you go, you're leaving me [Incomprehensible] behind
Woman, you got those come and go blues
Yes, you do
Lord, you got those come and go blues
Yes, you do
And oh, you got me feelin' like a fool
Just like a fool
'Round and 'round, 'round we go
Don't ask me why I stay here, I don't know
Well, maybe I'm a fool to care
Without your sweet love, baby, I would be nowhere
So here I'll stay, locked in your web
Till that day I might find someone else
But I don't know just when that would be
But I don't know, I can't say 'cause I can't see
Sail on, my darlin', sail on
You just go your way and I'll go mine
But it seems to me that I once heard
That everything is finally cured by time
Yes, sail on, my darlin', sail on
And I'll just wish you good luck
And I'll see you when you come next time
Lord, you got those come and go blues
Yes, you do
Woman, you got those come and go blues
I swear you do
Oh and you got me feelin' like a fool
Just like a fool
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Greg Allman
Come and Go Blues lyrics © Unichappell Music Inc., Elijah Blue Music