Remembering Duane Allman: Skydog Shines On ‘Blue Sky’

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Duane Allman was involved in a motorcycle accident that took his life on this date in 1971 and after all these years we still think there are few guitarists better than “Skydog.” Not only was Duane instrumental in forming The Allman Brothers Band, he also was a sought-after studio musician. One of the last new Allman Brothers Band compositions Skydog contributed to was “Blue Sky,” which he played live a handful of times before his death.

Dickey Betts wrote “Blue Sky” about his girlfriend, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig, a woman he would go on to marry. The Allman Brothers Band recorded “Blue Sky” in September of 1971 for inclusion on what would turn out to be their iconic Eat A Peach album released in February 1972. Duane died on October 29, 1971 leaving his contributions to “Blue Sky” as one of his final recorded performances with the Allman Brothers Band.

The Allman Brothers Band are thought to have debuted the live version of “Blue Sky” a few months before Duane’s death. Four different recordings taped in August and September ’71 of Duane on “Blue Sky” are confirmed to exist with only one an official recording. On September 19, 1971 the Allmans played a concert on the campus of S.U.N.Y. Stonybrook on New York’s Long Island. A crispy soundboard tape of the performance was created and was officially issued by the ABB in 1971. The release gives us a chance to hear Skydog’s intensely beautiful approach to his “Blue Sky” solo in the live setting. Stream Duane’s “Blue Sky” solo from S.U.N.Y. Stonybrook followed by the complete version:

Here’s the other three recordings of Duane Allman on live versions of “Blue Sky”:

[8/15/1971]

[9/11/1971]

[9/16/1971]

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