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Statesboro Blues by The Allman Brothers Band

Album: At Fillmore EastReleased: 1971
  • This was originally recorded by Blind Willie McTell, a popular Blues musician who played in Georgia until his death in 1959.
  • Statesboro is a city in Georgia not far from Macon, where the band lived.
  • Duane Allman learned to play bottleneck slide guitar by practicing this over and over. He drove his band mates crazy.
  • Duane Allman started playing this after hearing the version by an influential Blues musician named Taj Mahal. His brother Gregg gave him the Taj Mahal album as well as a bottle of medicine for his cold. The next time Gregg saw him, Duane had emptied the bottle, washed the label off, and was using it to play slide guitar.
  • This opens At The Fillmore East, an album that solidified their reputation as a great live band.
  • This was played in sets by Hour Glass, one of the first bands Duane and Gregg Allman formed.
  • The band performed this at Duane Allman's funeral, with Dickey Betts playing Duane's guitar.
  • After Duane's death, Betts played the slide guitar on this at concerts. He was reluctant to do so because he did not want to compete with Allman's legend.
  • A previously unreleased studio version appears on their 1989 5-disk box set Dreams.
  • At the end of Duane Allman's guitar solo, he hit an off-key note that his brother Gregg called the "note from hell." The song made the album warts and all, as these things happen during live performances. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
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Comments: 17

Having listened to Statesboro Blues hundreds (and I mean HUNDREDS) of times, I'm amazed to read that the cacophony at the end of his solo (at 2:16, I assume) has been regarded by anyone as a "bad note." "Note from hell," now I can grasp that, but I've always assumed it was deliberate on Duane's part. For around twenty seconds before, he is in flight, soaring and swooping and merrily squealing, and he decides not to set down gracefully. Thus, while Greg sings "well. . ." Duane crashlands. Now, there's an obviously off-key note around 1:57, just before Duane springs up an octave (and nowhere near the end of his magnificent solo), and I've always reckoned that he was using that raucous note as a jumping-off spot as he leapt to upper sonic realms. I return to this amazing musical masterpiece often, and still shiver when I hear Duane's slide (at 3:26) echoing Greg singing "love that woman. . ." Whew!!!Dryattz - Atlanta, Ga
I agree, the gold standard is statesboro blues for slide guitar...and to think duane was only in his mid twenties when he crashed...truely amazing and gifted...I havent heard anyone before or since that could play slide like him...duane was the original "free bird" reference in skynyrd's mega guitar extravaganza.Jeff - Panama City , Fl
I remember more than once in the early 70's being in record stores (those were stores that sold records) and it would just turn everyone's head when they'd play Statesboro Blues. There would always be some poor person going, who IS that? Every time I think slide guitar, Statesboro Blues is the gold standard.Dill - Alexandria, Va
Greg Allmans death left a huge hole in the "Slide Guitar", world that can never ever be filled God took him to heaven so he could listen to him plaY!!!Lawrence - Rimrock, United Kingdom
Duane #1 Dickey a close 2nd,,,Then Hendrix and Clapton......Rock on allmans!!!!!!!VinnyVince - Lantana, Fl
To Clarify the comment by David from Orlando Fl.
It was more than just not hitting the ending of the solo. I once heard an interview with Greg Allman and he talked about that incident. He said that at the end of his solo, Duane hit a "NOTE FROM HELL" (and if you listen carefully, you can hear that it is a bad note)Apparently Duane finished his solo and made a big mistake. Greg said that they wanted to edit out the note but at that time, were unable to do so. The song (aside from that note) was just so damn good they used it on the album. And as for that Note From Hell. They left it in.
Paul - Brooklyn, Ny
In the definitive version--Live at Filmore East--take a close listen when Duanes' slide solo ends and the band is supposed to abruptly terminate the music to go into the break ("Well my momma died and left me, etc.). One of the guitarists--sorry, Duane, it does sound like your slide--doesn't quite hit the ending and spills over into what is supposed to be "silencio". Ah, the beauty of live recordings.David - Orlando, Fl
I'd like to imagine that clapton walked in at Fillmore and saw Duane playing this song.Vivek - Delhi, India
Far as I'm concerned, this is my #1 slide song. I first heard it about 10 years back and it's still as fresh.
Mind blowing solo and tone.
I became Parikrama's ardent fan when i heard them covering this song.
Vivek - Delhi, India
Shows off the extent to which duane allman developed slide guitar technique. The man completely revolutionized the way the instrument is played, Aad in this song his fills as well as his soloing exemplify his position as the greatest slide guitarist to ever live.Jack - Oak Ridge, Nc
The original is pretty good but I like this version better! The original is growing on me though. I'm not sure wwhat to think of McTell's voice yet. It's pretty strange that I like this version better, because original versions are usually my favorites.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
The Allmans played a concert in Statesoro at the Georgia Southern Gym on January 7, 1971. According to the ABB official website, the "Statesboro Blues" opener lasted for 40 minutes!!Barry - New York, Ny
They opened with Statesboro Blues at the first show I saw them at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. This was also one of the last times I saw them with Dickey Betts who was canned in 2000.Barry - New York, Ny
If you're ever in Statesboro, GA, you can go see the building where Willie McTell wrote this song. It's the Hattie Holloway cabin located behind the Statesboro Inn.Clark - Savannah, Ga
I saw the Allman Brothers band in concert and they played this song. By the way, if you ever get an opportunity to go see the Allman Brothers in concert you should definitely go. They are incredible live performers. I went with my dad, and the show was great.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
The reason I like this song, is because the slide-guitar work on ti is incredible.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Blind Willie McTell's original version of 'Statesboro Blues' was recorded in Atlanta on October 17th 1928. With the song 'Three Women Blues' it was issued on the Victor label (cat. V38001)Gary - Thetford, England
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