ENDLESS ROAD: Episode #3

How Song For Adam Became Part of Southern Blood

The recording sessions for Gregg Allman’s final studio album were almost complete. One song remained, and Scott Sharrard had a feeling that capturing Gregg’s cover of Jackson Browne’s Song For Adam might be a difficult last mountain to climb. Despite recording songs that were drenched in serious content, the Southern Blood sessions at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals had been filled with laughter and great joy. It was the first time Gregg’s final touring band had gathered to record a studio album with him. Other than Scott, none of the band members were aware of Gregg’s terminal diagnosis, and the sessions had been kept upbeat and fun.

However, as Scott shares in this edition of the Endless Road Podcast, Song For Adam dealt with the loss of a life at a young age. Gregg and his best friend, Chank Middleton, had always related the song to the passing of Gregg’s brother, Duane, who tragically lost his life in a 1971 motorcycle accident at the age of 24.

Chank had heard Gregg sing Song For Adam countless times over the years when they would hang out. As the song selection process began for the album, Gregg had marked Song For Adam as one of those to be included on Southern Blood. For the recording session, Gregg had Chank to stand with him on the floor in the studio at FAME for support. Meanwhile, the band had been scaled back to guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.

Scott, in playing guitar for seven hours during the session, knew how much it meant to Gregg to have Song For Adam on Southern Blood. Yet, as Gregg worked his way through the song in the very studio where Duane’s work as a session musician first caught the attention of the music world, the emotions were undeniably powerful. So powerful, in fact, that Gregg’s voice began to tremble in the final verse and faded, leaving the last lines of the song unsung.

Due to his growing health issues, Gregg was unable re-record the vocals and the song would have been lost without the genius of veteran producer Don Was. You can hear Scott recount the story of the Song For Adam sessions by listening to the podcast link.