Southern Rock’s Top Ten
Welcome to a new feature at GRITZ called Southern Rock’s Top Ten, where we will be asking the stars an journalists associated with the genre, as well as some of today’s country music stars, to share their Top Ten all time favorite Southern Rock albums. Fun, huh? To kick things off, your’s truly the Buffalo will run down his own Top 25 Southern Rock albums. Yes, I get to name 25 because I could never name just ten. Even with 25, we are just scratching the surface. But here we go. Let us know if you agree or disagree.
1. Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band
This has been my favorite record since the very first time I heard it in a motel room at Myrtle Beach in 1972. A girl had a stereo in the room and turned me onto this and Layla in one great week.
2. Layla and Other Love Songs - Derek & the Dominos
Yes, it’s the British Clapton, and yes, it’s still Southern rock to me. Southern rock is all about a certain vibe, and with Duane Allman way up in the mix, the vibe is there in spades.
3. Where We All Belong - The Marshall Tucker Band
Those of you who know or read me know I am a die hard Tucker fan. If I had only one MTB album (I can’t imagine that...) it would be this brilliant Capricorn classic. One studio record, one live. Toy just blazes across the fret board on the live stuff.
4. Fire On The Mountain - The Charlie Daniels Band
Never forget unwrapping my copy and finding the bonus Volunteer Jam EP inside. Blew me away. And every song here is classic. As Paul T. Riddle would say, “It’s Cadillac man.”
5. Boyer and Talton - Cowboy
Every record Scott and Tommy did was a classic, but this one, which features basically the same band that played on Gregg Allman’s Laid Back, is my favorite.
6. Highway Call - Dickey Betts
Brother Dickey, the country element that made The Brothers what they were. Here, he really got to stretch those country wings and soar free.
7. Brothers and Sisters - The Allman Brothers Band
The favorite record of my high school years. “Pony Boy” still resonates with me, and I never tire of “Jessica” or “Ramblin’ Man.”
8. Any Volunteer Jam Album
That includes Volunteer Jam, Volunteer Jam III and IV, Volunteer Jam VII, and the more recent Best of The Volunteer Jam Volumes 1 and 2. The Volunteer Jams were/are the epicenter of Southern rock.
9. Wet Willie - The Wetter The Better
Every record brother Jimmy Hall and the band recorded is a living, breathing work of sweat soaked soul. This one is my favorite. Truth be told, that cover art may have a little something to do with it. (LOL) Just kidding. I am all about the music.
11. Brother - Cry of Love
I nearly died when they broke up the band. This North Carolina band had it going on in the 1990’s, and “Peace Pipe” remains an all time favorite song and Audley Freed a favorite guitar slinger.
12. Dose - Gov’t Mule
Don’t get me started. The Mule rocked my world from day one. When Woody died, my whole life changed. To me, he was the best bass player in Southern rock. And Warren Haynes? Sheesh. And Matt Abts? Please. Like I said, if I start on The Mule, this may turn into a book.
14. The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion - Black Crowes
Honestly, I owe this one to Swampland brother James Calemine. I somehow missed out on the whole Crowes thing, but James has gotten me addicted. And I love the drug.
15. Champagne Jam - Atlanta Rhythm Section
What a great band. My buddy Robert Nix wrote some great tunes, and the whole band just played like nobody’s business. The best harmonies. Wow. All good.
16. Ladies Choice - Bonnie Bramlett
No, she wasn’t a Southern girl, but by God she is now. And this, one of her Capricorn releases, finds her surrounded by Dickey Betts, Chuck Leavell, and a slew of Southern royalty. Not to mention, Southern Soul Sister Number One can wail. In a GRITZ interview, Dickey Betts called her “...one singing son of a bitch.” LOL.
17. Strikes - Blackfoot
Speaking of heroes who have passed, Jakson Spires wrote some great songs, and perhaps his finest is right here. “Highway Song” is as timeless as “Free Bird.” Love you Jak. (And Greg, Charlie and Rick.)
18. Raunch n’ Roll Live - Black Oak Arkansas
I saw this band live several times, and boy howdy, did they ever entertain. Jim Dandy Mangrum has a one of a kind voice, and on this live record, he works it to beat the band.
19. Flirtin’ with Disaster - Molly Hatchet
Danny Joe Brown - yet another loss. What a singer and entertainer. If you look up Southern Rock in a dictionary, there should be a picture of Danny there, smiling that wicked grin.
20. The Winters Brothers Band - The Winters Brothers Band
Dennis and Donnie delivered an album of country-fried Southern rock that is as good today as the day it was recorded. A classic.
21. The Outlaws - The Outlaws
Okay, I am getting sick and tired of all the greats dying off. Billy Jones and now Hughie. Damn, we are going to miss you Hughie. To me, the first record by the Florida Guitar Army remains the finest.
22. Drinking Man's Friend - Eric Quincy Tate
EQT should have been just as famous as The Allman Brothers Band. God only knows why that didn’t happen. The music is fantastic. If you missed them, go back and have a listen to Donnie McCormick and company. This, their 2nd album, may well be their finest.
23. Point Blank - Point Blank
Texas gave us some great music, and none better than Point Blank. Rusty Burns is a simply amazing guitar slinger. Glad to see them re-unite.
24. Tres Hombres - ZZ Top
I loved all of ZZ’s records, but still have a thing for “LaGrange” and “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.” Now that, brothers and sisters, is Southern Rock.
25. Balls Out - Two Guns
Another lost classic. My friend Dave Morris turned me on to this record, a Capricorn classic with lots of testosterone, twin leads, and melody.
-Michael Buffalo Smith