Album Reviews

Devon Allman – Ragged & Dirty

(Ruf Records)

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10484991_10153370823037195_8810461131787419511_nRagged & Dirty is Devon Allman working it out for his own self with Tom Hambridge as the producer/drummer and a solid group of Chicago players surrounding and having his back.  He wrote five of songs here; Tom Hambridge wrote four, and the remaining songs are by the likes of funky Thomas Bell, Chicago stalwart Luther Allison’s title cut, and a trance-like tune from Colorado’s Otis Taylor (who gets too little attention as a songwriter). This disc displays the wide range and solid roots of this progeny of Greg Allman.  There is a similar raspyness in his voice to his father, yet it isn’t a detriment since that voice fits the material he is playing.  It is no longer the funk of Honeytribe, but the funk isn’t gone as a careful listen will disclose; he has incorporated the blues and R&B of Royal Southern Brotherhood.

Take a listen to what he does with the Otis Taylor song that he selected for this disc.  It is both a social commentary and a platform for him to play some of the guitar part that at times are reminiscent of his Uncle Duane;  this is particularly true on songs he wrote like “I’ll Be Around” and “Leave The City,” which is an acoustic foraging that is just the perfect ending to the disc.

Ragged & Dirty is an homage to the Allman family in many ways, some of the guitar playing of his uncle, the songwriting and singing of his dad, and the lessons he has learned playing with the various groups in which he has honed his craft.  From the funky Honeytribe to the various influences that are found in Royal Southern Brotherhood with Cyril Neville and Mike Zito, Allman has grown by leaps and bounds and seems to be leading to a very bright future.

– Bob Gottlieb

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