As far as I know, the only song written by Duane Allman and recorded by the Allman Brothers Band was “Little Martha” the 2:08 acoustic gem from Eat A Peach that Duane wrote and recorded shortly before his death. Leo Kottke called it the most perfect guitar song ever written. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl takes its cue from this beautiful acoustic duet and features eleven other tracks that are all about the acoustic guitar. We’ll hear some other little acoustic gems, in the form of instrumentals from Buckingham Nicks, Cheryl Dilcher, and the aforementioned Leo Kottke among others and we’ll mix them with a few vocals from Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor, and the Doobie Brothers.
But back to Little Martha for a second. The story goes that Duane had a dream where Jimi Hendrix showed him the tune’s melody in the bathroom of a Holiday Inn, using the sink’s faucet as a fret board. Duane Allman and Barry Oakley are buried side-by-side in the Carnation Ridge section of Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia. The band members spent a lot of time at the cemetery back in the day, sometimes playing music, sometimes engaged in other activities. It’s also where they found titles for at least two of their songs. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Little Martha,” named for twelve year old Martha Ellis who died in the 1800s and whose grave is topped by a statue of a little girl. Like Elizabeth Reed, Little Martha is named for one person but is actually about someone else. Allman is said to have written the tune for his girlfriend at the time, woman by the name Dixie Meadows. If there’s a prettier song in all of the Deep Tracks, I can’t think of it. Here’s “Little Martha.”
|You Can Close Your Eyes
|Simon & Garfunkle
|Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall
|Slat Key Soquel Rag
|Can’t Quite Put It Into Words
|Don’t Cross the River
That’s America from their album Homecoming with “Don’t Cross The River.” Before that, one of the two Doobies in that set, the title track from Toulouse Street. Earlier we heard their instrumental, “Slat Key Soquel Rag” tucked into the instrumental portion of our program where we also heard “Stephanie” from Buckingham Nicks and “Butterfly” from Cheryl Dilcher. After that, one of the finest fingerpickers in the pack, Mr. Leo Kottke doing one called “Can’t Quite Put It Into Words” which wins the award for best title for an instrumental. After that, we heard the Paul Simon classic, “Duncan.” We started the set with the Allman Brothers’ “Little Martha” followed by James Taylor doing a pretty little song called “You Can Close Your Eyes.”
Elsewhere, another instrumental, “Embryonic Journey” from Jefferson Airplane a song that makes me think of early Simon and Garfunkle every time I hear it and I dare say that’s the only song by Jefferson Airplane that does so. That’s Jorma Kaukonen bringing his peerless playing to the platter. Now I found a couple of Simon and Garfunkle tracks that worked with “Embryonic Journey” including, “Kathy’s Song” but I settled on “Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall” from the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re all out of Thyme. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. We’ve got all the set lists and show commentaries posted on my website in case you’re trying to remember the name of that song you liked so much, so drop by and poke around billfitzhugh.com. While you’re doing that, I’ll be here in the Way Back Studios cooking up a fresh of All Hand Mixed Vinyl for next time, when I hope you’ll join us right here in the Deep Tracks.