Picks and Pans Review: Shades of Two Worlds

updated 10/14/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/14/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Allman Brothers Band

Southern music has undergone such tectonic shifts, the Allmans may seem like a bunch of fossils. But while such Georgians as R.E.M. and the B-52's redefined the genre, it was Gregg Allman and friends who gave the region a distinctive sound.

So it's nice to hear the Allmans reclaiming some of their innovative spirit on this album—their second since reuniting three years ago. They've tapped into a looser feel evident on such tunes as the driving "Bad Rain," a simmering example of that much-maligned musical category, Southern boogie. Guitarist Dickey Betts comes close—but doesn't succumb—to merely unearthing past glories on "Nobody Knows," essentially re-creating the mood of "Hot 'Lanta" from the band's Live at Fillmore East record.

Still, it's brother Gregg's vocals and organ that make the Allmans sound so timeless. On Robert Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen," for instance, Betts and Warren Haynes wrap graceful blues guitar licks around Gregg's growl.

With that gentle reminder, fans will know they haven't been duped by another mere nostalgia act. These days the A-brothers are playing music from the heart, not just from their wallets. (Epic)

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