Story by Ricky Paul / Sidelines Archive
This article has been published exactly as it originally was on Oct. 7, 1975.
After a lengthy two year absence, the Allman Brothers Band has finally returned to recording with their newest release, “Win, Lose or Draw”.
Many times such a long period without any product from a group can mean that they are stalling for time, because of a lack of ideas, material or the like. But the Brothers have come through presenting their many sides very well.
Betts takes up most of the album with this three tunes that include two vocal performances and a lengthy instrumental. “Just Another Love Song” and “Louisiana Lou and Three Card Monty John” find Betts singing his, what seem’s customary, countryish tinged tunes and twanging out leads on guitar.
The former is a song about a brokenhearted lover and the latter a song dealing with two gamblers that reminds one of “Ramblin’ Man”. Betts truly shining moment comes, however, on the instrumental, “High Falls”.
After a brief abstract style opening bassist Lamar Williams starts off with catch bass line that the rest of the group builds on to introduce the main theme of the song. Pianist Chuck Leavell does an electric piano foray first that has him covering the keyboard thoroughly before returning to the theme at which time Betts comes in slowly and then builds to an almost climatic ending before slowly coming down and ending the song.
The title track of the album is a mournful ballad about being stranded in jail that has Allman giving his best vocal performance of the album and perhaps since “Eat A Peach”.
The two nonorginals, “Can’t Lose What You Never Had” and “Sweet Mama” are the opener and closer for the album respectively. “Can’t Lose What You Never Had” is a Muddy Waters tune that proves a good kicker showing all the band members well. Drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe and Williams drive things along and Allman does a growling vocal. Betts and Leavell contribute skilled solos. “Sweet Mama”, written by Billy Joe Shaver, is another blues with a steady backbeat and Betts vocal.
After what many felt was a below par effort with “Brothers and Sisters”, it seems the Allman Brothers Band is once again on the track as a top Southern rock outfit.
To see the full Oct. 7, 1975 print edition, click here.