Johnny Sandlin, Allman Brothers Band Producer, Dies at 72
Session guitarist Duane Allman (right) and session drummer Johnny Sandlin rehearse at FAME Studios in 1968 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Johnny Sandlin, an Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee and producer/engineer best known for his work with Gregg Allman, The Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit and Chuck Leavell, has died at age 72, according to the Decatur Daily.
John Everett "Johnny" Sandlin Jr., was born in Decatur, Alabama, on Apr. 16, 1945, and was a longtime producer for the Capricorn Records label, as well as a session musician who played guitar, bass and drums in a series of bands in the early 1960s.
According to an Encyclopedia Alabama biography, Sandlin played in a group called The Five Minutes that eventually merged with Gregg and Duane Allman's early band The Allman Joys to form The Allman Brothers Band, considered the godfathers of Southern rock. Following the formation of Capricorn in 1969, Sandlin moved over to the production side and worked on albums by Johnny Jenkins and, most famously, such landmark Allman releases as Live at the Fillmore East (1970), Eat a Peach (1971) and Brothers and Sisters (1973), among others.
Sandlin also worked on some of Gregg Allman's solo albums, as well as releases from Wet Willie, Kitty Wells, Bonnie Bramlett, comedian Martin Mull and many others. He gave up his gig as vice president of A&R at Capricorn in 1976 to work as an independent producer on albums including Gregg Allman and Cher's 1977 duets release Two the Hard Way, as well as efforts by Delbert McClinton. In the 1980s he shifted his focus to work with a number of classic country acts, including Ronnie Dunn, Jerry Reed and the Gatlin Brothers, changing things up again a decade later as he delved into work behind the board for jam bands such as Widespread Panic and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. (To see his extensive production discography click here.)
Some of his most acclaimed work came in the late 1990s on efforts from legendary songwriter Dan Penn (1994's Do Right Man), Wet Willie's Jimmy Hall (1995's Rendezvous with the Blues) and Allman's 1995 solo album, Searching for Simplicity. Sandlin kept working into the new millennium in his Duck Tape recording studio in Decatur, releasing albums such as the Capricorn Rhythm Section's 2006 effort Live at 2nd Street Music Hall on his own Rockin' Camel Records, whose roster included longtime friend Bonnie Bramlett, Microwave Dave & the Nukes, Danny Brooks and Highly Kind.