By Daniel Watts
Music Reviewer and Segment Producer
“Playin’ Up A Storm” is the debut album under The Gregg Allman Band name and is Greg Allman’s overall second effort outside The Allman Brothers Band. “Playin’ Up A Storm” was released in 1977 on the Polygram label and was produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman.
The “Playin’ Up A Storm” lineup consisted of Gregg Allman on vocals, acoustic guitar, organ and piano, Bill Stewart on drums, Neil Larsen on the fender rhodes, piano, electric piano and synthesizer, Ricky Hirsch on acoustic, electric and slide guitar, Steve Beckmeier on electric guitar, John Hug on electric guitar and lastly, Willie Weeks on bass.
“Playin’ Up A Storm” is a well blended mixture of Southern Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz and some Soul. Consisting of nine tracks, the album has a very pleasurable and easy listening flow from start to finish. I think the musicianship is top notch, Gregg’s vocals are inviting and the production is both clear and polished.
There wasn’t a song that I found to be less likable than the other, in my opinion this album is a very solid effort from The Gregg Allman Band. There is one song that's had slightly more of an impact on me which is track five “Cryin’ Shame”. The song starts off low key with a hint of guitar, a smooth bass line, a friendly drum beat and a lonesome sounding keyboard while Gregg Allman's voice floats over top talking about the familiar tale of heartbreak. When the chorus comes around the band becomes more lively and both a organ and backup singers are then added to the mix. The song continues to build momentum and grab your interest more from there. The sweet spot of the song in my opinion is the keyboard solo more towards the end, it’s like golden rich honey pouring out of your speakers.
“Playin’ Up A Storm” is a gem of my album collection that I pull out from time to time and it never ceases to entertain. If you’ve heard of this album before but don’t recall its sound or passed it over back in the day, give it another shot. Or if you’ve never heard of it, treat yourself to some great music, go give it a listen.