Late Night OTB – Soulshine

One of my favorite "new" songs in recent years came out in 1994.

One of my favorite “new” songs in recent years came out in 1994.

While I was, of course, listening to the Allman Brothers long before then, I wasn’t paying much attention at the time. Indeed, I’m not sure I was aware they were still putting out new material. In my defense, they had broken up a couple of times. By 1994, they’d added several new members to replace long-departed founders, including bandleader Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley. Most prominent among them was Warren Haynes, a virtuoso guitar player who wrote this song:

The Allman’s version of the song was fine but, if I heard it in its first twenty-five years of release, it didn’t make an impression.

This version, which came out in 2013, did:

As the opening credits note, it’s from Pat Green’s “Songs We Wish We’d Written II.” I prefer Green’s vocals and pacing to that of the Allman’s version.

But this live, solo version from Haynes—who not only wrote the song but is its namesake (“Soulshine” being his father’s nickname for him when he was a boy)—is even better:

(No idea why it’s not displaying inline like the other videos; it doesn’t seem to be sharing-disabled.)

One song, three versions. Which do you prefer?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Franklin says:

    I’d have to say your order of preference is the same as mine.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Hi James, not to nit pick, but I think it’s Warren Haynes?

    I miss the Allman Brothers, especially the “Live at Fillmore East” and “Eat A Peach” brothers.
    So much great music – those guys were cosmopolitan in their style – soul, rock, blues, and even close to jazz (‘Hot ‘Lanta, ‘Whipping Post’ ‘Mountain Jam’)

    Great guitar work of course, Berry Oakley was a great underrated bass player, and Gregg Allman might have been the best front man singer of his time. What a voice. His phrasing is perfect and very soulful – listen to any of his ‘Midnight Rider’ takes. Who could sing that song better?

  3. James Joyner says:

    @al-Ameda: I got the Warren part right but had him as Hanes vice Haynes for some reason. And, yes, the Allmans were simply a different band without Gregg. It’s mighty hard to replace a lead singer, let alone one who’s the bandleader. (AC/DC managed to recover from the loss of Bon Scott, for example—although they weren’t quite the same with Brian Johnson, great as he was. But Angus was the leader.)

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Long time Allman Brothers fan here (1974?) but I concur James. Rather suspect that might be because of my preference for acoustic.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes. There are some pop and very hard rock acts that need amplification and various other accompaniments. But most blues/R&B/country/folk songs, where the vocals are the key element, are better stripped to their essence of a singer and an acoustic guitar.