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By Jim Caligiuri, December 1, 2006, Music

Skydog: The Duane Allman Story

by Randy Poe

Backbeat, 320 pp., $24.95

Astounding as it may seem, it's taken 35 years for someone to write the definitive story of Duane Allman. One of rock's most enduring and influential guitarists, Allman died at 24 in 1971, just as the band he had formed with his brother Gregg was achieving worldwide acclaim. Featuring a foreword by ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Skydog does a nearly impeccable job of conveying his life from a childhood in Nashville and session work with soul and jazz legends like Wilson Pickett and Herbie Mann to the rough, often drug-fueled life of his own bands. Poe brings Allman's spirit back with a passion for detail and through well-researched interviews of those who remember him. The description of the moment when the original sextet known as the Allman Brothers Band realizes they've achieved the sound they'd been searching for – one that still defines Southern rock – will raise the hair on the back of your neck. Skydog also includes a comprehensive discography of Allman's work, entertaining itemization of his studio and stage gear, and a look at the continuing lives and careers of Allman's friends and bandmates that makes this book even more valuable.

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