Galadrielle Allman has just released a book called “Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman,” and Rolling Stone has published an excerpt in which the author shares her memories of the day her father died in a motorcycle accident at age 24, and her attempt to piece together what happened. She begins with a letter received from Linda Oakley, whose husband, bassist Berry Oakley, died in another motorcycle accident only one year after Allman:
Linda Oakley, at my request, wrote me an account of October 29, 1971.
They had just returned from Buffalo, N.Y. and the craziness of “getting clean” . . . getting together . . . and, at last turning over a new leaf. We’d been through a baptism of fire, reborn and renewed. The path before us was clear. We were headed for higher ground.
It was so so good to be back home . . . “all in our places with sunshiny faces.” . . . We had gotten a big orange pumpkin to celebrate the season. Berry and I took the Beebop out to the garden. In the warm afternoon we spread ourselves next to the fishpond and set to work scooping out the squishy pulp. Brittany clutched her Crayola pens, ready to draw a face for Daddy to carve.
We heard a car and a motorcycle pull into the back driveway. Visitors! Peering over the hedges, I saw a huge bouquet of flowers held aloft by brother Duane. He graciously presented them with a big hug and a “Happy Birthday!” He and Dixie had just returned from a stopover in The Big Apple to see John Hammond. I was so touched and thrilled that they’d taken the time to come over and wish me well.
“Ah, a Jack-o-lantern I see! Can I cut out the eye, nose, and mouth?” That was typical Duane. We later wandered into the house as he rhapsodized about the great time they had with John Hammond. “. . . up all night with our acoustics, just riffin’. Such a righteous cat, man!” He was glowing.
Berry wanted me to show off my new patchwork knee high boots. He’d had them custom made for me at “Granny Takes a Trip” in New York and they’d just arrived via the post.
“You look so good in them boots it’s enough to make my old p*er hard!” Again typical Duane: bold as brass! I took it as a great compliment. So did BO of course. “I hear you’re takin’ your old lady out jukin’ tonight!” We were supposed to go to dinner while Aunt Candy entertained the Beebop.