Picks and Pans Review: I'm No Angel

updated 05/25/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/25/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Gregg Allman Band

Given the number of scrapes he's had with drugs, alcohol and the law, there's no reason to doubt Allman's word when he sings I'm No Angel, a swaggering macho declaration that is the LP's first single. Gregg has called the album, his first recording since 1977, "the finest piece of music I've had anything to do with since the old Fillmore East days." That may be stretching the truth a bit for those who remain loyal to the darting twin-guitar harmonies in early Allman Brothers tracks like Ramblin' Man. But four years of constant touring with his former Allman Brothers band-mates who also play on I'm No Angel has laid a rock-solid foundation for Gregg's welcome return to the studio. His blues-drenched voice, more passionate than ever, is supported by some masterly solos by guitarist "Dangerous" Dan Toler (who also toured with Dickey Betts's Great Southern band) and former James Brown keyboardist Tim Heding. Toler and Heding are pictured on the cover of this LP with Allman, drummer David "Frankie" Toler (Dan's brother), percussionist Chaz Trippy and bassist Bruce Waibel. They look like six of the toughest road dogs you'll ever lay eyes on, and that toughness comes across in their music, a blend of Southern blues and boogie that still packs a punch. Even the lovelorn ballads, such as Things That Might Have Been and Evidence of Love, which features a Gregg Allman-Don Johnson duet, have a gritty edge to them. Then again, nobody would ever expect Gregg to turn out anything remotely resembling sunshine pop. His voice screams the blues, and, Lord knows, he's lived enough to make them believable. (Epic)

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