Today marks the death on the person who most influenced me on the guitar – Duane Allman.
I was all of 12 when I awoke at 1 am in the morning and turned on the radio to KAAY, Little Rock. From 11 pm to 6 am, the radio show "Beeker Street" was on. They played all the music you would never hear on AM radio. I awoke to the most incredible guitar playing. I did not know who it was. My brother had been listening and said that maybe it was the Allman Brothers Band. I had never heard of them, even though "Ramblin Man" was a hit at the time. Later that week, I bought the Beginnings LP, which had the first two LPs repackaged. I did not hear the song, but I still loved what I heard on the record.
I bought a $10 folk guitar from a classmate – I was in the 6th grade – and started to figure out how to play. My sister gave me a few lessons and I learned G, C, and D chords. A few weeks later, I bought the Fillmore East LP. I then heard the song – You Don’t Love Me – I had heard the part when it was just Duane playing by himself. Within a few months, I had all the Allman LPs, thanks to my mom, who was nice enough to buy them for all of about $7.00 each. By then, I was absorbing all I could from Beeker Street – Robin Trower, Hendrix, Marshall Tucker, Rush, Mahogany Rush, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Yes…the lost goes on and on. My LP collection grew quite a bit that year. I spent hours playing along with records trying to learn it all. I got a Teisco electric guitar and amp by the time I was in 7th grade, and continued to buy a new guitar every year, using my money from weeding the bean fields during the summer.
Those few moments over the Christmas holidays in 1973 changed my life. I never did really play professionally, and I can’t play at all like Duane Allman. However, it has been a lot of fun and I still love to play and listed to music of all kinds.