Gregg Allman forced to leave weekend performance in New York City with back pain

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Gregg Allman was treated and released this weekend, after leaving a Saturday night concert in New York City because of back pain. He also missed Sunday’s show, as the Allman Brothers closed their 10-night residency at the Beacon Theatre.

Allman has recently been battling hepatitis C, a virus that leads to liver inflammation. That struggle is the focus of a forthcoming memoir called My Cross to Bear, due on May 1. Allman, who last year released the critically acclaimed solo triumph Low Country Blues, had a liver transplant a year ago.

A representative for Allman confirmed that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also suffers from bulging discs, and experienced a flare up this weekend.

“Gregg Allman’s bulging disc’s painful flare up prevented him from performing at the Allman Brothers Band 2012 sold out Beacon finale, on Sunday March 25,” the band says in a new statement. “The decision was reached at showtime. The band, not wanting to disappoint its loyal fans performed with numerous guest musicians joining them in Gregg’s absence.” Guest stars included John Popper, Jimmy Hall, Col. Bruce and others.

Before his 1999 hepatitis diagnosis, Allman had already built a legendary career as one of the co-creators of Southern rock, having been placed No. 70 on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. Together with the Allman Brothers Band, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the 54th Grammy telecast.

Here’s a look at our recent thoughts on Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

GREGG ALLMAN – LOW COUNTRY BLUES (2011): This record’s hat-tips to blues, R&B, gospel and jazz only underscore how each provided uniquely American spices in the Allman Brothers Band’s bubbling Southern-rock synthesis. Even so, it could have been recipe for a snoozy conversation piece if not for Allman — the archetypical risktaker. Check out the appropriately fidgety edge he adds to Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” as Allman dirties up a Chess-era groove. Other highlights include a devastatingly frank update of Sleepy John Estes’ “Floating Bridge,” with a surging assist at the piano from Dr. John; Junior Wells’ “Little by Little,” transformed into something resembling a lost soul side from the 1950s; Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman,” which again reveals the lively intellect of guitarist Doyle Bramhall II; and Amos Milburn’s hardy R&B classic “Tears, Tears, Tears,” where Allman — belying a series of serious health problems — howls with a shanty-shaking, soul-rending power. He’s still got it. Every bit of it.

ONE TRACK MIND: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS, “MELISSA” (1972): Long before I was able to digest the epic, twenty-five minute meandering noodlings of Dicky Betts and Duane Allman, I deeply dug the Allman Brothers’ “Melissa.” It’s a wistful, country-flavored ballad that was easy to learn how to play on a beat-up Yamaha acoustic guitar, and since it was one of the more popular cuts from Eat A Peach, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who tried to take it on. The beauty of Gregg Allman’s classic tune doesn’t rest on any fancy playing, although Betts’ beautifully lonely guitar notes adds to the sorrow. Rather, the essence of the song can be found in Gregg’s ragged, weary vocal that sings about a restless travelling loner, a “gypsy” who longs for the comfort of Melissa waiting at home.

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND – ONE WAY OUT (2004): The tendency for bands like this — bands that are known for their jamming — is to just rely on jamming, period. This has always been my problem, I find that most of the bands who jam simply lack the chops and taste to maintain my interest for long as they fall back on repetition and simple variations of riffs. The Allman Brothers Band perfected the art of jamming long ago, and One Way Out doesn’t lack for it. Numerous tracks venture past the 10 minute mark, but don’t drag on so long that you forget what song you’re even listening to. What could be an aural mess is just the opposite. The mix on One Way Out is fantastic – so clear that everyone’s parts are exquisitely defined, each being given plenty of room and space and yet it never sounds weak. One Way Out is just plain fun to listen to.

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