I suppose this should really be a learned discourse on the origins of this oft-covered stalwart of the idiom, but, hell, no, let's cut to the chase and forget the earnest original and celebrate Duane, Gregg and the boys. Is this live track not the most uplifting downbeat song ever? Tacked on with Statesboro' Blues on 'Live at the Fillmore' (1971!), this was my introduction to the Allman Brothers and it remains their pinnacle, something I can listen to for time eternal.
Of course, in their decades long history, 1969 - 2014, give or take the odd recess, they have produced a zillion live albums and a trillion live versions of this old warhorse, but it is this outing I always see as the template, even comparing other artists to it, as if it were truly the original. So, then, what of the song? Penned by T-Bone Walker, it was a hit as far back as 1948, although maybe a decade or so elapsed before Bobby 'Blue' Bland cut the version many see as definitive. Indeed, as I much later learnt, much of the phrasing and a lot of the licks were lifted wholesale by the Allmans.
The lyric is the age old simple lament of the working man, the grind of the week, trajecting through to payday and the celebration of the weekend, grounded with some sunday religion, before it all starts again. Whilst Bland seems more celebratory of the contrast between the highs and lows, poor old Gregg Allman sounds completely dragged down by the repetition of the cycle, his vocal as downbeat a lament as any sharecropper half a century his (then) senior. So the then contrast as his hammond kicks into an unexpected jaunty and jazzevocative statement is all the more pronounced. Has he ever produced a more inspired burst of soloing? (In truth I find it hard to recall any other piece of soloing by him at all, making it all the more remarkable.)
Anyone else come close? Well, any blues legend worth his salt, such as Kings, Freddie, B.B. and Albert, most of the white boys, like Clapton and Beck, as well as wild cards like Eva Cassidy and ? and the Mysterians have all given it space. But I guess my other favourite is the one by Jimmy Smith, maybe no surprise if it is the organ that so appeals to me in the Allmans, Smith being the jazz-blues maestro of the same. Here it is in all its instrumental glory:
Now is Tuesday really just the same after any of these? Hell, I hope not.
Get your Stormy Mondays here, not forgetting where the best one came from.