Ain’t but one way out baby: The Gregg Allman Band at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom in 1988

By on May 17, 2018

Gregg Allman: I’m No Angel (Live on Stage) captures a blistering one-hour live concert by the Gregg Allman Band, taped before a relatively small audience at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, November 11, 1988. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

The concert — just under an hour-long — was filmed for a short-lived rock concert TV show, “Live on Stage,” produced and distributed by the Nashville, Tennessee-based division of the U.K.-based Span Pictures Ltd.

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At the time, Allman — on Hammond B3 organ and lead vocals — and his band — the late “Dangerous” Dan Toler (guitar), David “Frankie” Toler (drums), Bruce Waibel (bass), Tim Heding (keyboards) and Charles “Chaz” Trippy (percussion) — were the opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan and touring in support of Allman’s 1988 solo album Just Before The Bullets Fly.

Allman and his band perform that album’s title track, and several others from it, including “Fear of Falling,” “Demons,” and “Slip Away,” as well as the title track from what was, at the time, considered his “comeback album, 1987’s I’m No Angel, which turned out to be a surprise charting hit single.

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They also play a mix of Allman Brothers Band classics, beginning with “Don’t Want You No More”/”It’s My Cross to Bear” from the group’s self-titled 1969 debut, and their cover of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues,” another Allman Brothers Band staple and a highlight of their classic 1971 At Fillmore East live album.

Gregg Allman and his band close their show with another ’70s classic, the band’s frenzied blues-rock roadhouse-style arrangement of “One Way Out,” a perennial fan favorite (originally recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James in the early-to-mid-Sixties):

Ain’t but one way out baby, Lord, I just can’t go out the door
‘Cause there’s a man down there, might be your man, I don’t know

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During “One Way Out,” Allman also interpolates a bit of the Freddie King barn-burner “Goin’ Down,” written by Don Nix (one of the “Memphis Sound” giants) and the Alabama State Troopers in 1971 (it was later popularized by the Jeff Beck Group, Deep Purple and other blues-rock greats).

Read more about Gregg Allman below.

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Gregg Allman — who died at his home in Savannah, Georgia, on May 27, 2017, of complications from liver cancer, age 69 — was described by Rolling Stone‘s Mikal Gilmore in his thoughtful, heartfelt obituary (“Gregg Allman: The Wild Times, Lost Years and Rebirth of a Southern-Rock Legend”) as a Southern Rock pioneer who “fused country blues with San Francisco-style improvisation, creating a template for countless jam bands to come.”

Gilmore tells how, after Allman’s 1986 album I’m No Angel‘s title track became a hit on the classic rock radio format, just becoming popular at the time, his label, Epic Records, asked Allman if he would consider recording another “Southern Rock”-style album.

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Allman — who was still dealing with his drug and alcohol-related problems at the time, which he discusses in-depth in his 2012 memoir My Cross to Bear — told Epic that he’d go one step further: he’d reform probably the greatest Southern Rock group of all-time, the Allman Brothers Band.

Joining Allman soon thereafter were his fellow Brothers-in-arms, lead guitarist Dickey Betts and their two drummers, Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson (known as Jaimoe), along with three new band members: guitarist Warren Haynes, bassist Allen Woody and keyboardist Johnny Neel.

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Before this re-charged Allman Brothers Band entered the studio, they hit the road, in part to see how well Gregg Allman could handle a heavy tour schedule (and to see if they could still play like the Allman Brothers Band of the past).

Allman had already been touring with his own group — the one featured on Gregg Allman: I’m No Angel (Live on Stage) — so it wasn’t too difficult.

Beginning in1989, they played their first multi-night showcase residency at New York’s Beacon Theatre; after that, they played near-annual spring residencies at the venue.

The Allman Brothers Band also roared back to life in the recording studio during the early ’90s, recording a couple of the band’s best albums over the next few years, Seven Turns (1990) and Shades of Two Worlds (1991).

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The Gregg Allman Band were among the baker’s dozen of bands that were filmed by for the Span TV series.

Other acts in the series include the Commodores, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Leon Russell & Edgar Winter, Steve Forbert, John Kay & Steppenwolf, Rick Astley, Let’s Active, Jimmy Hall, Velvet Elvis and the Royal Court of China.

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Span — the same company who distributed the historic Royal Albert Hall farewell concert by Cream, filmed in 1969 — had planned to syndicate thirteen “Live on Stage” concert shows for broadcast in the U.S., mostly on PBS stations in major TV markets (L.A., NYC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Cleveland, San Francisco, and New Orleans).

This hour-long concert was released by Cherry Red Films UK on DVD in November 2012 — the same year the Allman Brothers Band were awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award — after previously being made available on VHS in 1989 under the title One Way Out.

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Be sure to check out our previous Allman Brothers Band posts — “The road goes on forever: ‘Song of the South – Duane Allman & the Rise of the Allman Brothers Band’” and “The Allman Brothers Band: After The Crash“: Triumphing after the tragic death of innovative guitarist Duane Allman” — which, along with Gregg Allman: I’m No Angel (Live on Stage), you’ll find streaming on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.