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Little Martha


The Allman Brothers Band

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This acoustic instrumental is the only Allman Brothers song written entirely by Duane Allman. He wrote it for Dixie Lee Meadows, a girl he was having an affair with. "Little Martha" was a nickname Duane called her.
According to Scott Freeman's Midnight Riders: The Story of The Allman Brothers Band, Duane Allman claimed this came to him in a dream in which Jimi Hendrix showed him how to play the song using a sink faucet in a hotel room. Duane woke up and started playing it.
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Comments (13):

I visited the Rose Hill cemetary. The Martha Ellis statue is intriguing. I can imagine someone hanging out in the cemetary would dub it "Little Martha". It is not hard to believe there is a connection between DA's Little Martha song and the statue. Trying to grasp the expression on Martha's face is not unlike trying to understand the Mona Lisa. Is she forlorn? Is she forgiving someone? Is she at peace? I think a person of DA's caliber could easily have been impressed by the mystique of this monument. I don't think the song was written about a deceased 12 year old. I agree with Mr. Betts. I don't think the song was written about a dead baby. I think it was a soulful reflection of the auro surrounding the statue of a young tragedy. I could picture a young musician telling a lover, "I wrote a song for you" as a gift of affection. However the name and melancholy nature of the song lead me to believe it is about a reflection of feelings outside the grasp of the observer and not directed at one person.
- Mke, Bloomfield Hills, MI
First off, my sister Dixie was not a groupie. Her and Duane were together for many years. They were together when Duane passed. The song Little Martha was written and named for Dixie. To this day, she is the only one who has the original copy of the words.
Just wanted to set the record straight.
Libby W.
- Libby, Miami, FL
Listen to Duane, the Sky dog, on Layla and you will hear why he was better than Clapton. If only he had lived, Duane would be called the God of guitar.
- Michael, Manchester, NH
Duane Allman I miss you so much,,,You were one of the best,Taken way to young,,,,I miss the Bros.Vinny
- vince, Lantana, FL
got to be one of the best
- niles, Belpre, OH
Another "According to Dickey" - "Little Martha, for God's sake, was not written about a baby who died".
As was posted above, it was for Dixie Meadows, who Duane nicknamed "Little Martha".
- Jack, Williamsburg, VA
The song was not named after a name seen on a tombstone. Duane's nickname for his girlfriend Dixie Lee Meadows, was Little Martha. That is where the name actaualy came from.
- Matt, Stratham, NH
This is just more evidence that Duane Allman is the greatest guitarist to ever grace God's green earth. Oh and Josie, the bell sound is Duane using harmonics, a guitar techinique used to make a very high pitched noise.
- Q, SRH, AL
Unfortunately, while the internet is a great research resource, it is also a place where rumor is often put forth as fact. And then those false facts are perpetuated and repeated. There is controversy as to whether Little Martha was inspired by the girl buried in Rose Hill Cemetary or by one of the band member's girlfriends, or a groupie. I am not sure, even, whether Little Martha died in 1896 or 1836.
- Olen, Mays Landing, NJ
The occasional chime sounds like a doorbell to me. Or maybe my hearing is messed up from years of deafening music. Either way, really cute song.
- Josie, Funkytown, NC
According to Dickey Betts, Duane Allman wrote a lot of songs. However, this is the only one that ended up on an Allman Brothers Band record.
- Barry, New York, NY
Rose Hill is located on Riverside Drive. One entrance is near Orange Street at Riverside. There is a gaurd that is paid by B.O.'s sister to watch over Duane and Berry, so if you go, don't make a ruckus or you'll be asked to leave. I made this mistake last year on Oct. 29, the 33rd anniversary of Duane's death.
- William, Macon, GA
I love this song. Its so beautiful. The Jimi Hendrix thing's kinda wierd though.
- Brady, Fort Stockton, TX
You have to to post comments.
They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Pam TillisPam Tillis
The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.
Travis Stever of Coheed and CambriaTravis Stever of Coheed and Cambria
Travis talks Rock Band, their Amory Wars storyline, and the CC song that some fair-weather fans show up for.
Jason ReevesJason Reeves
Jason co-wrote many of Colbie Caillat's hits, including "Bubbly" and "Realize."