God Rest His Soul. Remembering MLK - and Gregg Allman

Listening to Gregg Allman's "God Rest His Soul" on the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's murder. //. Gregg on the Confederate Flag: "Burn 'Em All''/ MLK's final speech is unreal!

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Today, April 4, 20121, is the 53rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder. Another good opportunity to share “God Rest His Soul,” Gregg Allman’s beautiful tribute to Dr. King, which he wrote and recorded in 1968, shortly after the assassination.

Gregg Allman wrote this song for Dr. King but it was never on any of his sanctioned releases. He said that he never intended to release it and just wrote it as a personal tribute, but he also sold the song for a few hundred bucks to producer Steve Alaimo when he needed money to get back from Florida to Los Angeles. Alaimo also bought “Melissa,” which ABB manager Phil Walden eventually bought back 50 percent of. My understanding is he basically went to Alaimo and said, “You can own 50 percent of a song that’s on a best-selling Allman Brothers Band album or 100 percent of a song that Gregg will never record.” Good deal all around at that point. I wish something similar had ever happened with “God Rest His Soul.”

There are multiple versions of “God Rest His Soul,” all of which were essentially demoes. I think it’s a great tribute to a great man. This version was cut with Butch Trucks’ The 31st of February and produced by Alaimo and appears on the mistitled “Duane and Gregg Allman” album, which was put out to capitalize on the group’s success.

This also presents a wonderful opportunity to recall Gregg’s late-in-life thoughts on the Confederate Battle Flag:

“Well, I was taught how to play music by these very, very kind older black men. My best friend in the world is a black man. If people are gonna look at that flag and think of it as representing slavery, then I say burn every one of them.”

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I think it’s important to remember that when Dr. King was assassinated he was in Memphis marching in support of striking garbage haulers. I’m sure many of those striking men could have and would have done a lot of other things had they had the opportunity to do so. It bothers me that we have garbage pickup on MLK Day.

Please listen to Dr. King’s haunting final speech, “I Have Been to the Mountaintop.” it is unbelievable. Highlights:

Alan Paul’s last two books – Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan and  One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band  – debuted in the New York Times Non Fiction Hardcover Best Seller’s List. His first book was Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Becoming a Star in Beijing, about his experiences raising a family in Beijing and touring China with a popular original blues band. It was optioned for a movie by Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Productions.  He is also a guitarist and singer who fronts two bands, Big in China and Friends of the Brothers, the premier celebration of the Allman Brothers Band.

The entire final speech is incredible. Listen here: