Eat A Peach was the third studio album from the Allman Brothers Band, and it’s also arguably the southern rock band’s most renowned collection of songs 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 12th, 1972 by Capricorn Records, and was the final record to feature playing by founding guitarist Duane Allman, who had died tragically just four months earlier in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24.
The album’s closing track, “Little Martha”, was played at the end of every ABB show since at least the 1988 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 where the Brothers would spend time during their years in Macon, GA. The Rosehill Cemetery, which now houses Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Berry Oakley Jr., and Red Dog, was the direct inspiration for songs like “In Memory of 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, “I’m hitting a lick for peace—and every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace. But you can’t help the revolution, because there’s just evolution.”
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 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 goes rotten.
Allman Brothers Band – Eat A Peach
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.