I am completely confused about this collaboration between two highly regarded musicians, Greg Allman (a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee) and Cher (an everlasting performer who has set more trends than anybody).
In 1975 Allman and Cher were married just days after her and Sonny Bono’s divorce was finalized. This wasn’t a complete shock when looking at the lifestyle that Cher and Bono had been leading. They had both been pursuing different “lovers” for around 3 years, but remained publicly married for their successful namesake. Allman and Cher had been dating for around 6 months when they sporadically married in Las Vegas.
Cher filed for divorce 9 days later, citing Allman’s heroin and liquor abuse…then they reconciled for a few years. Quite conventional.
During their tumultuous tenure, they made one album, Two The Hard Way. There wasn’t a more suitable title and thank goodness that this was Cher’s last duet album.
This album is a divorce party album. It is the most forced vocal and emotional connection between two artists who were clearly infatuated with each other but were completely wrong for each other. Although, even that infatuation was limited. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Allman stated that he didn’t feel Cher had a good singing voice, but a good talking voice. She responded with an atomic bomb.
Well, it was really just an f-bomb to be precise.
According to some, this is both artists’ worst musical endeavor, but there is some respect. A few songs stick out, and they do cover a range of genres. One can feel disco, pop, r&b, and rock throughout the album. Although there are two things to keep in mind, Allman was a southern rocker teetering on country and Cher was a pop singer who went with any popular musical wave to remain successful. I’m all about experimenting, but some chemicals just don’t work well.
The opening song “Move Me” is a decent song. There’s not too much to it lyrically, it just confirms they like the way they move each other. Insert your interpretation, but it’s a fun listen. They also do a rather interesting rendition of the Smokey Robinson penned “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.” I’d stick with the original on this one, but this cover isn’t the worst. Add it to a “Cher Complete” box set and it will sit well in the 70s section.
The two best songs are the songs Allman and Cher decided to perform solo. Although not completely memorable, they could easily be filers on one of their individual recordings. Allman wins with “Shadow Dream Song.” His vocals are natural and pure. The song should be extracted from the album and judged by itself. Cher sings the only song Allman co-wrote on the album “Island.” Since I have a certain appreciation for Cher, I’ll plead a hard 5th on this one.
In the end, Allman’s vocals are completely out of place portraying discomfort and many other different oddities. Cher’s vocals are decent, many times resorting to her belting ability, a safe area for the already seasoned singer.
The cover of the album should act as a warning just as an explicit sticker does. The cover shows Allman and Cher’s hair blowing in the wind while Allman is positioned uncomfortably over the pantyhosed Cher (can’t really tell what she is wearing, but that’s nothing new). The cover should immediately provide hesitation. It’s that feeling you get when looking at awkward family photos. The one with the dreadful flute from middle school band or basically any picture in this post.
If this album is found in a record store look over your shoulder and make sure nobody is looking and sneak it into your stack. If it’s your only album you can find worth buying take Cher’s above approach.
Drop an f-bomb and reconcile…..with their solo recordings.