Eat A Peach is the third studio album of the Allman Brothers Band. It is also arguably the most renowned collection of songs to the band’s repertoire, including studio classics like “Melissa,” “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” and “Blue Sky,” as well as staple live tracks like, “One Way Out,” “Trouble No More,” and the thirty-minute “Mountain Jam.” The album was released on February 12, 1972 by Capricorn Records, and was the final record to include guitarist Duane Allman, who died four months earlier in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24.
The closing track, “Little Martha,” was played at the end of every ABB show since at least the ’88 Dreams Tour, as a respectful bow to the band’s fallen leader. Duane wrote the acoustic tune as an ode to the mysterious tombstone at the graveyard the Brothers would spend time during their years in Macon, GA. The Rosehill Cemetery, which now houses Duane Allman, Berry Oakley Jr., and Red Dog, served as direct inspiration for songs like “Elizabeth Reed” and “Little Martha.”
“We use to take any poison we could find and spend the nights in that place talking to the ghosts,” said founding member Butch Trucks.
The album’s title came from Duane Allman’s response to an interviewer’s question: “How are you helping the revolution?” Duane replied, “There ain’t no revolution, only evolution, but every time I’m in Georgia I ‘eat a peach’ for peace.”
Duane was a reader, a thinker, a constantly mindful being. Around the time of his death, he was reading a lot of T. S. Eliot, and according to Trucks, Allman’s response to the interviewer was likely a sly reference to Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” The line reads, “Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?” In this context, the peach becomes a metaphor for life. It is something one must experience before growing old.
It is a choice to eat a peach. While the fruit is inevitably messy, it is equally delectable. It gets stuck in your teeth, drips down your shirt, and sticks to your hands, but we still choose to eat them for the satisfaction that we crave. If you dare to eat a peach, you are willing to accept the outcome, knowing full well that you can always change your shirt. Much like the dichotomies of life, a peach is both sweet and sour, soft and hard, smooth and fuzzy. It’s delicious, but you must eat it with full willingness to get messy – before it becomes too late and it rots.
Listen to the Allman Brothers Band’s 1972 Eat A Peach in its entirety, streaming below.
The album’s artwork was created by W. David Powell after he had seen old postcards at a drugstore in Athens, Georgia, one depicting a peach on a truck and a watermelon on a rail car. Contrary to popular beliefs, the peach truck on the cover of the album has no association with the death of Brother Duane.
The album also includes an elaborate gatefold mural featuring a fantasy landscape of mushrooms and fairies, drawn by Powell and Floury Holmes. “It told a story of happy, mystical brotherhood that was receding ever further into fantasy as the band grappled with the tragedy of Duane’s death,” according to biographer Alan Paul.