In the refulgent early seventies, I owned, but was never fully occupied by, the Allman Brothers Band’s double album Eat a Peach. More than the hit “Melissa,” it was that soon-to-be-iconic cover, featuring a truck with a giant peach (Roald Dahl eat your heart out) that made the greatest inroads into my admittedly wobbly consciousness. I bought into the myth circulating at the time: that Duane Allman, who had died on his motorcycle, had been struck by a flatbed truck transporting Georgia peaches through Macon on their way to some orchard in the sky. The grisly truth regarding the crash was less inspiring, and a less-interesting conversation starter for visitors to my off-campus cottage, where the album held pride of place on the mantelpiece above my fireplace. Later I learned that the elegiac cover took off either from Duane’s admiration for T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” or his euphemistic turn of phrase “Every time I’m in Georgia I eat a peach for peace,” which apparently referred to his on-and-off-the-road activities with local women who were hotter than Georgia asphalt.
Years—no, decades—passed. Sometime in the summer of 1996 my fourteen-year-old son acquired two tickets to an Allman Brothers concert at Great Woods in Mansfield, Massachusetts, a forty-minute drive from our home. He’d arranged to bring along a friend, a girl but not a girlfriend, and for some reason everyone involved, i.e., both sets of parents, were cool with letting them attend without a full-time chaperone. I would drive them to the concert, wait in the lot, and pick them up on their way out, the sounds of the last stupendous encore still ringing in their juvenile ears. Read More