Little Martha

Album: Eat A Peach (1972)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This acoustic instrumental is the only Allman Brothers song written entirely by Duane Allman. He wrote it for Dixie Lee Meadows, a girl with whom he was having an affair. "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.

Comments: 18

  • Wildfire from KentuckyLibby ,I been a fan of The Allman Brothers band since 1976.I remember reading about your sister and Duane .I would love to chat with you or your sister..
  • Romulo from Irvington, NyThis is the one song I was most pleased to learn back in an earlier lifetime. It won me my first wife’s heart when I played it for her on our second date. Really sweet song!
  • Missy from HereMy name is Martha Little. Gotta say I feel pretty special about this song. Gorgeous...All respect and gratitude to Duane and Dixie..
  • Modiolus from SavannahThe existence of lyrics is intriguing.
  • Sabrina from WoodlandHe played the song after hee awoke from the dream mentioned while he was at home sleeping beside Donna Allman. He named it after the woman he was having an affair, and later lived together. She was still married to someone else when Duane died. I just hope that when she dies she leaves the original copy to his daughter, Galadrielle, as Meadows and Duane never had children together.
  • Mke from Bloomfield Hills, MiI 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.
  • Libby from Miami, FlFirst 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.
  • Michael from Manchester, NhListen 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.
  • Vince from Lantana, FlDuane Allman I miss you so much,,,You were one of the best,Taken way to young,,,,I miss the Bros.Vinny
  • Niles from Belpre, Ohgot to be one of the best
  • Jack from Williamsburg, VaAnother "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".
  • Matt from Stratham, NhThe 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.
  • Q from Srh, AlThis 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.
  • Olen from Mays Landing, NjUnfortunately, 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.
  • Josie from Funkytown, NcThe 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.
  • Barry from New York, NyAccording 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.
  • William from Macon, GaRose 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.
  • Brady from Fort Stockton, TxI love this song. Its so beautiful. The Jimi Hendrix thing's kinda wierd though.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Kerry Livgren of Kansas

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."

Al Kooper

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"They're Playing My Song

Armed with a childhood spent devouring books, Mike Scott's heart was stolen by the punk rock scene of 1977. Not surprisingly, he would go on to become the most literate of rockers.

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The Devil

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The DevilSong Writing

Just how much did these monsters of rock dabble in the occult?

Rick Springfield

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About Transgenderism

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.