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alabama

Alabama
Alabama

We are sad to report that Jeff Cook, guitarist and fiddle player with the iconic country band Alabama, has announced he has Parkinson’s disease and that he will no longer be regularly touring with the band. Cook, who is one of the founding members and who has been with the band since 1969,  is 67.

Cook was apparently diagnosed about four years ago but the band kept the news private until now. Cook said the chronic neurological disorder gives him tremors that make it hard for him to play his instruments, but he didn’t want to stop playing music. He said he is not quitting the band, but won’t be regularly touring with Alabama so he can rest. In the 1980s Alabama dominated country music with hits like Love in the First Degree, Mountain Music, and Dixieland Delight.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

“And when it comes to love, oh her idea of a romantic night…
Is listenin’ to old Alabama, drivin’ through Tennessee…”
Brad Paisley, Old Alabama (2011)

The last time the iconic band Alabama put original music out it was 14 years ago.  But now, Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook are back and on September 18 Alabama is slated to release a brand new album entitled Southern Drawl (BMG Chrysalis).  The lead single on the record will be a tune called Wasn’t Through Lovin’ You Yet.   Randy Owen had this to say about the record:

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“We had a decade break from recording as a band, all three of us felt that we had more to say and more music and songs floating around in our heads to share with the world and our fans.”

On the lead single he had this to say:

“It got my attention the first time I heard it, and I asked to hear it again two and three times and knew it was powerful.  It can be a guy talking to his girlfriend or wife or it can be the three of us talking to our fans. Either way it is a wonderful song and we got to put the magic Alabama harmony on it.”

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On getting back together as a group Owen added this:

“It was amazing to walk back into the studio, but it was also scary because we did not know if it could be the final time all three of us record together. We took our time to do this right and recorded over six months.”

What’s interesting about this story is Alabama’s return to a world that today, is not the same as when it left it just a decade ago.  indeed, Cook had this to say: “Country music when we took our vacation is not the same country it is today.”  Indeed, Alabama’s last record was in 2001 with When It All Goes South.  Subsequent to that the band released a live and gospel album in 2014.

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In talking about their fans the band remembers them well.  Said Owen:

“I’m so thankful people care about the music we made.  They still come to the concerts, and they’re very enthusiastic. Hopefully, this new music will be something they’ll enjoy. I put everything I had in it.”

It will be interesting to see how this record does in a new world of country music and how the fans and the band react and adapt to one another.  It has been a long time but iconic groups like this never fade away. Welcome back Alabama.

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