By the way, the confederate flag is very dear to my heart so I'm compelled to defend it.
Not because of when I see it on the back window of pickups with gun racks and rednecks riding in the cabs, usually with Bear Bryant stickers on the windshield. And no seeing that doesn't make me want to own slaves, Sal. The once or twice in my life I hired an employee was enough for me. I wouldn't want a slave if the slave paid me.
The flag is dear to my heart because it's the symbol associated with my Gods. The same Gods who by the way played a VERY big role in getting Jimmy Carter elected. This is the sacred sign inside my home sanctuary. Pay particular attention to the flag...
It's now pretty widely accepted among music historians that Duane and Gregg Allman invented Southern Rock.
Or at least they invented the sound (The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame labels them "the principal architects
of Southern Rock").
And that Phil Walden of Capricorn Records in Macon GA packaged and sold it.
But there's far more to the story than that. And Pensacola is at the heart of it.
Duane and Gregg Allman began their musical careers in Daytona Beach. They kicked around Daytona as The Escorts.
And after changing the name of The Escorts to The Allman Joys in 1965, they played their first gig outside of Daytona Beach
in Mobile at a night club called The Stork Club.
In March of 1966, The Allman Joys came to Pensacola and landed a job as the house band at Joe Royal's Sahara
Club in Warrington. They moved in to the Evergreen Motel in Brownsville.
Up until this point, the Allmans had always been just another garage band playing covers of other' artists'
“I wrote that song ("Melissa") in a place called the Evergreen Motel in Pensacola, Florida,” Gregg
Allman recalls in an interview he gave a San Luis Obispo, CA newspaper in 2006.
"By that time I got so sick of playing other people’s material that I just sat down and said, ‘Okay, here
we go. One, two, three – we’re going to try to write songs.’ 200 songs later – after much garbage to take
out – I wrote this song called ‘Melissa.’".
He finished the song but stumbled on the name of the love interest in the song (which would also be the song title).
He had all but settled on on the name Delilah, but then as he recalls in his autobiography "My Cross to Bear"...
"It was my turn to get the coffee and juice for everyone, and I went to this twenty-four-hour grocery store,
one of the few in town. There were two people at the cash registers, but only one other customer
besides myself. She was an older Spanish lady, wearing the colorful shawls, with her hair all
stacked up on her head. And she had what seemed to be her granddaughter with her, who was at
the age when kids discover they have legs that will run. She was jumping and dancing; she looked like a
little puppet. I went around getting my stuff, and at one point she was the next aisle over, and I
heard her little feet run all the way down the aisle. And the woman said, "No, wait, Melissa. Come back—don’t
run away, Melissa!" I went, "Sweet Melissa." I could've gone over there and kissed that woman. As a matter,
of fact, we came down and met each other at the end of the aisle, and I looked at her and said, "Thank you,
so much." She probably went straight home and said, "I met a crazy man at the fucking grocery."
"Melissa", later became a staple of The Allman Brothers Band and a Southern Rock classic and Duane Allman's
"favorite song". Gregg performed it at Duane's funeral.
So, what has been left out of the history of Southern Rock, is that it's "architects" did not first begin to
write their original compositions in Daytona, or Muscle Shoals, or Macon.
That happened right here in Pensacola at this fleabag motel located at 3801 Mobile Hgwy.
The Allman Joys became a fixture on the local Pensacola music scene in 1966 and 1967. Many locals have
fond memories of hearing them perform at The Place, a teenage dance club adjacent to the Pensacola
It was also during this time that another southern garage band from Dothan was also a fixture on
the local music scene. The Candymen played the same local venues as the Allmans, including The Sahara
Club and The Place. They became Roy Orbison's touring band and later morphed into The
Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Robert Nix of The Candymen: "I have lots of great memories of Duane (in Pensacola). When he had
The Allmen Joys, we were The Candymen... I had never experienced anything like Duane Allman and haven't since".
But more importantly, another southern garage band found it's way to Pensacola during these years. This one
called itself "The 5-Menits".
The "5 Men-its" started as a college band in 1964 in Tuscaloosa. The members of this band, Paul Hornsby,
Johnny Sandlin, Pete Carr and Eddie Hinton would all later become key figures in the history of Southern Rock.
Paul Hornsby would produce gold and platinum records at Capricorn in Macon for The Marshall Tucker band and
Charlie Daniels among many others. And all four would became session players at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals.
As Paul Hornsby recalls: "We had put something together to go down and play in
Panama City for the summer. We couldn't find a gig in Panama City so we went over to Pensacola. To make
a long story short, we got a job playing at the Pensacola Beach Casino for the summer".
The following year, 1966, when The Allman Joys were becoming a fixture in Pensacola, Hornsby
recalls: "We played that summer back in Pensacola Beach at the Spanish Village".
It was at this venue where The Allman Joys and The 5 Menits met for the first time. This is
a concert poster for that gig...
At some point after this gig ended, Paul Hornsby recalls: "Duane Allman called me up and
asked "Paul how would you like to have me and Gregg in your band? Well, it really wasn't "my" band, but I
thought it over 30 or 40 seconds and said "Why, hell yes!"
The two bands, The Allman Joys, and 5-Menits, merged. For a short while this reconfigured band continued
to use the name The Allman Joys and sometimes referred to themselves as "The Allman Act". But then settled on the name
The Hour Glass.
The Hour Glass, born after a meeting of musicians at Pensacola Beach (not Daytona or Muscle Shoals or Macon),
is the musical group which gives us the first glimpse of the sound which would develop into what would become The
ABB sound and the genesis of Southern Rock.
But this sound was never heard on the albums the Hour Glass would record because Liberty Records
in California had no interest in recording it. As the wikipedia page for Hour Glass puts it: "Onstage, the group rarely
performed tracks from the album, preferring original material by Gregg Allman..."
But this is also when Duane and Gregg Allman were honing and perfecting the blues/jazz/rock inspired "southern rock" sound which they
eventually became world famous for.
This B.B. King tribute medley was one of the three tracks The Hour Glass cut at Muscle Shoals on April 22, 1968, without
their record label's (Liberty Records) consent. This features Duane on lead guitar, Gregg on vocals and keyboards,
Pete Carr on bass, and Johnny Sandlin on drums. When they gave the tapes to Liberty Records, the record
producer said that they were "terrible and useless".
Only when the Allmans brought this music back to the South could it be recorded and appreciated. And
that's why we call it Southern Rock. But now you know the whole story and Pensacola's place in it's history.