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HE'S NO ANGEL, BUT GREGG ALLMAN IS ONE HELL OF A SINGER !
ol' nuff n' den sum | the Virginia coast, USA | 03/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gregg Allman's I'm No Angel (1986) is mostly a romantic rhythm and blues album, other than the rocking and fantastic title song. And that's not a bad thing! Sure, he's one of the greatest blues singers who ever lived, but that voice doesn't go to waste on these (mostly) rock n' soul love songs. Here, he adjusts his commanding blues voice to interpret these songs with a soulful and sensual growl. The song arrangements still include plenty of guitar, but you're more likely to hear a saxophone solo and female backing vocals on most of the songs. I'm No Angel kicks it off, and it's a great swaggering declaration of rough and rowdy masculine independence.
No, I'm no angel, I'm no stranger to the street
I've got my label, so I won't crumble at your feet
And I know baby, so I've got scars upon my cheek
And I'm half crazy, come on and love me baby
So you find me hard to handle, well I'm easier to hold
So you like my spurs that jingle and I never leave you cold
So I might steal your diamonds, I'll bring you back some gold
I'm no angel
Can't Keep Runnin' is another great song with rocking guitars, but it's more romantic and soulful with it's pleading lyrics and female backing singers. Evidence Of Love is the big surprise on the album. A duet with Don Johnson (from TV's Miami Vice), the song really works in a meaningful way to express the pain of a relationship that's hanging by a thread, or even already over.
I still believe we can see this through
But there's only so much that I can do
It doesn't make sense
Without some evidence
Allman sounds better than great on this one, Don Johnson sings well, too, and the sax solo is perfectly amazing. Lead Me On is a strong cut that features Allman at his virile best, singing lines like "Your lies mean less than nothing to me anymore" like he means it. Anything Goes, Yours For The Asking, and Faces Without Names are all love songs, and each one sounds soulful and romantic. Gregg closes the album with a remake of Don't Want You No More/It's Not My Cross To Bear from The Allman Brothers Band's first album. This version is more laid back and jazzy, and sounds pretty good, too.
I'm No Angel is a good album, but just don't expect any Allman Brothers style blues-rock. It's a treat to hear Allman show off his skills as a singer in a different setting, though. The sax solos work well with his voice, and the production is top-notch. Other than the title song, this is a romantic album, and Gregg Allman certainly knows his way around... Even if he is no angel.