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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Devon Allman's Honey Tribe

Torch

Review by Gary Hill

I had to check the calendar. Here it is 2006 and yet there have been a number of killer rock based classic rock releases this year leading me to think I had landed back in 1976. First there were the new discs from Cactus and Wild Turkey. Add to that number the Mark Newman scorcher and then put this into the mix. What you have is a dream come true for fans of guitar heavy 70’s tinged rock. There isn’t a weak song in the mix here, and Allman carries on the family tradition (he’s Gregg Allman’s son) with style.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Torch
They waste no time jumping into it. A metallic riff gives way to a smoking fast paced southern rock jam. This one literally scorches from the start to the end. It’s a major screamer and I can’t think of a better way to start off the disc. Shades of the Allman Brothers blend with echoes of Stevie Ray Vaughn in a killer tune.
Mahalo
Percussion leads this instrumental off and as the rest of the musicians join it’s in a slower Santana like excursion. This has classic rock written all over it and is delivered with guitar-frenzied style. While it doesn’t have the inferno driven power of the one that preceded it, it is equally tasty. There are some Hendrixish (his more melodic) guitar lines woven over the top of this. The Latin groove break brings in more echoes of Mr. Carlos Santana, but I also hear a bit of Hendrix’ “All Along the Watchtower” here.
No Woman, No Cry
They slow it down with this number, which was made famous by Bob Marley. Only hints of the reggae sounds remain here. Instead it’s a mid paced jam that continues the musical themes of the first couple songs, with a new direction. This one is good, but not quite at the same level as the two originals.
When I Call Home
The sound gets dropped back even more for this bluesy jam. This one really does call to mind The Allman Brothers quite a bit, but also has echoes of B. B. King. It’s a cool number with some extremely tasty guitar work.
Perfect World
This one comes in with a sound more like the opener. Here they scream out in a bluesy Hendrix meets the Allman Brothers sort of jam. It’s another highlight of the disc. It also features some incendiary guitar work.
Mercy Mercy
The classic rock textures are all over this one as well. This is probably the most purely Allman Brothers like jam, a blues tinged, Southern rock scorcher. Once again they throw a winner at us, and the guitar soloing on this one might be the best on the whole disc.
Something I Know
This one brings the same modes to the table, but also infuses it with a bit of gospel and country. Don’t get me wrong, overall this is a rocker, but there are other things going on here, particularly on the mellow verse. The chorus is especially effective on this one, and I even here a bit of Lenny Kravitz on that section.
Heaven Has No Mercy
A Zeppelinish riff leads this one off, but as the more Southern and traditional blues elements enter it feels like ZZ Top meets Zep, Robert Johnson and the Allmans. It’s another retro classic for the new millennium. These guys just don’t weaken.
Why You Wanna Bring Me Down
This comes in feeling like an AC/DC song, but as it kicks into the song proper the Allman Brothers sound is stamped all over it. It’s another scorching tune on a disc that never ceases to amaze.
511 Texas Avenue
Another instrumental, this one is a major change of pace. It’s an acoustic guitar solo. While gentle and pretty, it is far from boring. At just under a minute and a half it’s also the shortest cut on show here.
Nothing To Be Sad About
Percussion brings this in with a jazz texture and the group slowly enter into a good time southern rock jam. This has an even older and more playful texture than the other material here. It’s fun and a good (if unusual) choice for disc closer. It feels quite playful. If anyone remember the White Witch song “It’s So Nice To Be Stoned” this one will feel rather like that track.
 
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