Gregg Allman may not have known when he was going to die this past Spring, but he and those around him knew Southern Blood would be his last album.
The southern rock legend died in May after years of ill-health just as his final album was nearing completion.
Producer Don Was tells Ultimate Classic Rock that while the mood in the studio was generally light, there was an urgency to the process.
"There was a shadow hanging over the whole thing, but he and I never once spoke about it directly," Was says. "The songs were puzzle pieces he wanted to put together. We had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs doing the record. The duality is weird. It was such a great time, but yet we knew it would be his last album."
In addition to commissioning a portrait to be painted in his own blood, Allman made several decisions that underscored how Southern Blood was to be a bookend of sorts on his career.
UCR points out that Allman chose to record at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the studio where he and his brother Duane began The Allman Brothers Band. Allman expressed regret during his career that he never recorded an Allman Brothers album at that studio.
When Allman became too ill to record, friends dropped by the studio to help finish the album. One of them, longtime friend Chank Middleton says that, at one point, Allman asked him what he thought about death.
"I told him I'm not afraid of death, because he and I got more dead friends than we have alive friends."
Southern Blood is available now. Order it here.
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