Skydog: The Duane Allman Story 

Randy Poe, Backbeat Books; $24.95

To some, the 1990 death of Stevie Ray Vaughan in a helicopter crash overshadows the 1971 death of another great guitarist from the South who built a bridge between blues and rock: Duane Allman. Besides being one of the Allman Brothers, he recorded with several artists on the Atlantic label (Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis and Boz Scaggs), not to mention his contribution to Derek and the Dominoes’ masterpiece, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. He died at the age of 24 in a motorcycle accident.

Skydog is a rich biography about a young man learning the blues in Florida with brother Gregg, their rise to fame with the Allman Brothers, Duane’s accident and the Allman Brothers band’s afterlife. It’s a healthy reminder that not all Southern rock from the ’70s waved the rebel flag.

Record collectors will be giddy over the complete Duane Allman discography, while guitar nuts will love the section on all of Duane’s instruments. Modern jam band fans should check this book out to get a sense of the conceptual history of the “40-minute rock song.” This is also a great read while listening to both volumes of the Duane Allman anthology.

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