George Starostin's Reviews

 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND

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Introduction

Kathleen Keplar (30.05.2000)

The Allman Brothers can be a touchy subject indeed.
I was born on the 'fringe' of the southern USA. The Mississippi River Bottoms of Southern Illinois. I've spent my whole life here. I was raised a 'Southerner', but just outside that imaginary line geographically. That gives me an advantage when looking at the social aspects of this infamous American sub-culture that is found just south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The negative side of this culture, unfortunately, is captured very accurately by that broad stereotype called a 'Redneck'. Mean, stupid, and aggressive. The positive side is soul, and an ironclad pact with tradition.  A true southerner is a proud and sincere individual. He's also hard-headed and backwards most of the time. This makes for very interesting relatives, the trick at family gatherings is to get them as drunk as possible as quick as possible so when the shit hits the fan everybody's too inebriated to shoot straight.
The post Civil War generations of the South emerged from a shattered society, an entire way of life wiped away, an entire people wandering around shell-shocked. The in-your-face nothing to lose attitude of these people isn't hard to understand. The South was kept dirt poor after the war by Yankee interests and control. History students who like to cite Lincoln's Reconstruction Policies can save their time...those policies were a joke. The heavy heel of northern businessmen stood on the throats of the deep south for a century. By the 1960s the Old Confederacy was starting to shake  off it's poverty and throw off the ropes. Out of this period came the music.
True, the Allman Brothers Band wasn't that original in material. The originality was in the sound itself. The hard driving, in-your-face approach. Real R&R was a rural thing in the beginning. It went urban for awhile and like anything that goes urban it traded it's real soul for a higher acceptance by the money spending mainstream. School yard kids have spending money in their pockets, farmboys don't. That simple. For a long time the music followed the mainstream. In the sixties the money was in the counter culture. Most of these kids were college bound or college dropouts, either way it meant they had money. Make the music they want to hear and they'll buy it.$$$$$ For every one psychedelic R&R album that was a true statement back then, there must have been a hundred that was just pure crap, grabbing for that all-mighty dollar. Then here came the Duane and Gregg.
These guys were true southerners. Blues tradition and proud of it. Aggressive, do it hard and fast, punch it through. Duane was a superb guitarist and Dickey Betts was right on his heels. The 'dueling guitars' approach was never matched before or since. The heavy double drummer rhythm section and the amazingly underrated Barry Oakley were possibly the best home grown R&R rhythm  section the States ever produced. These guys could cook. Gregg Allman never had much of a voice, but the band was so heavily influenced by the blues he didn't need one. He was a howler. Betts had a scrappy 'country crooner' type of voice that broke the occasionally monotonous wail. These guys had soul. They were also hard-headed and wild...true southerners. Alcohol, drugs, women, motorcycles, brawls, and a defiant 'Fuck you' attitude towards anything and everything. Nothing to lose. Proud of it!
Nothing to lose but your stupid hell raising life. Duane nearly ate a truck doing 60 mph on a motorcycle, he laid it down trying to avoid the collision and ended up a greasy strip running for a couple hundred feet down the asphalt. Just a few months later, just a couple blocks from that very spot Barry Oakley did the exact same thing. Southerners are great believers in premonition and symbolism. Kinda weird, ain't it?  The peak of the Allman Brothers Band  came and went in a flash, just like Duane's best licks and the sparks from his bike skipping across the pavement. But in that short time they added a new handle to the R&R lexicon. Southern Rock. A distinctive, if not original sound. An attitude about who you are and what you do, and most importantly, where you're from.
It's a shame Gregg didn't take the hint and let it die. He's been dragging the name on and on over the years. Cashing in on the past glory for his drug money. He's a notorious doper for those who haven't heard. He wasn't much of a singer back then, and he's even less of one now. Without the thunder and lighting of the old lineup to drown him out or at least support him he sounds like shit. To this day I grin when I hear one of those 'groovy' instrumentals like 'Jessica'. Fast, clean, bluesy, funky folk all at the same time. A rough bluesy voice "Crossroads...seem to come and go..." followed by that smooth but sharp guitar line that flowers out with the last note almost sliding away. Pure bliss to anyone who know what real soul is. Most all southerners do.
Maybe someone could tie Gregg to a motorcycle.

Kevin Baker (06.12.2000)

The Allmans are a true Southerner's band.  Their music captures and melds together many of the musical elements of the South into that heavenly sound known as Southern Rock.  Maybe it's just heavenly to me because I'm from Texas....I dunno.  Blues, some country, some soul, and some good ole rock and roll comes together in their music.  This combo creates a very unique sound--- I personally have yet to hear anything else just like it.  The Allman Bros. started Southern Rock.  Others took facets of the Allman sound and ran off in other directions----Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet with the harder rocking elements; Charlie Daniels and The Marshall Tucker Band with some of the more country elements.  And they had followers, and with the exception of maybe Black Oak Arkansas, most Southern Rock when viewed as a family, all springs forth from the Allman Brothers Band.  

Chris Papadopoulos (07.02.2001)

If nothing else, ABB were one of the best live bands anywhere. Sure, their material did not equal that of the Stones or the Who (though they did write a handful of classics) but for kickass live playing they could not be topped. Not only did they have two - TWO - magnificent guitarists and a great, great singer, they boasted a rhythm section that would wipe the floor with Charlie and Bill and even, dare I say it, the Ox and Mooney. [I think that was a brick through my window.] It all went awry, of course, when Duane was killed at the age of 24 (how good could the guy have become?), but for a few short years they reigned supreme. Pity about the last three decades, though. [Oh, Christ, another brick.]

Glenn Wiener (11.06.2001)

These guys definitely had their niche. Blues rock with some killer guitar solos. That was their calling. Maybe not the most diverse band inhabiting the plannet. The song-writing is a bit limited as well but you can not discount gems like 'Midnight Rider', 'Jessica', and 'Mellisa'. High quality musicians indeed.

<Jdjgv@aol.com> (19.06.2001)

This review is an absolute joke. "Minimilistic songwriting," have you no fucking clue of the artistry that goes into their instrumental sections and instrumental songs. Their contribution to music is infinite in their combining of jazz, blues, country, and rock. Have you ever read the liner notes to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue? Highly regarded as one of the greatest and most influential jazz albums of all time, the liner notes tend to focus on who? Brother Duane himself. Get a clue.

<griffins@copper.net> (16.10.2003)

The Allman Brothers have remained one of my favorite bands throughout the years. I have always held them in higher regard than Lynard Skynard, though I like them also. Allmans have put thier first two albums on one disc called Beginnings, and this might be the best piece of southern rock on a disc today. After all these years it still sounds fresh and invigorating. I agree with some who say some of thier live songs can go on a bit long, but that is what they were about. A jam band. Beginnings has the feel of a live disc anyway. I can just imagine some producer saying "O K play". And that they did! My favorites discs are Beginnings, Brothers and Sisters, Hittin the Note (A 2003 release), Fillmore concerts, and Eat a Peach. In that order.

AZDolans (14.11.2003)

I've always had trouble with the whole "Southern Rock" lablel applied to the Allman Brothers Band, especially in the early days. I think the Allman Brothers Band slipped into the genre of "Southern Rock" well after they did their best work in the very early '70's. They were a band "from the South" and bringing recognition to the region but were playing true to their own style that had not been yet been cataloged. During those early years, I find their music to be remarkably innovative - putting a new American spin on classic blues after years of sometimes great, sometimes mediocre British interpretations. And I hear far more jazz in this material than is usually credited to the band - something foriegn to later southern bands. Thank Duane Allman's instincts to bring two drummers into the band - his first move when putting the group together - and establishing a driving rhythm foundation by adding bassist Berry Oakley. You don't have to try to hard to see how they push the two guitarists into dynamic solos while transitioning the songs through their different segments. Greg Allman wrote some very incredible music and lyrics at this early stage that propelled the rest of the band into showcasing what incredible talent can come from young, truly passionate musicians. I don't think he's ever gotten much credit for this contribution - 'Whipping Post' and 'Melissa' are a big part of why this band is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Dickey Betts is a remarkable guitarist and songwriter and he had his share of early songwiting magic. Once thrust into the role of creative lead in the post-Duane Allman era, he produced the band's most popular output. This material had more of a country music influence, and thus, began to solidify the Southern Rock sound that other emerging bands were popularizing. It's too bad it all imploded after they released Brothers & Sisters and began playing the big arenas. This is the quintessential American rock & roll band - unable to carry the passion and musical purity beyond it's briliant youth - falling prey to their own demons, the drugs and the endless touring.
Although they're my favorite band, I've been on the same roller coaster. Losing track for several years at a time and reconnecting over the past 35 years. Concerts in the '70s, '80s and '90s - some good, some not so good. I have never gone too long without the early stuff, though, it's always within reach. And as far as "jams" go, I'll take live music over studio any day regardless of length. Live is an honest to goodness real conversation with the band. With some bands, studio work doesn't always have the honesty - sometimes it's like listening to a politician's speech after too many speechwriters got their hands on it.
I had the pleasure of attending the Allman Brothers 2003 Red Rocks (CO) concert. It's funny how things come full circle. This was a remarkable show and the guitar lineup (Haynes/Trucks) was spectacular. 'Whipping Post', 'Mountain Jam' and 'Layla' closed the show - by the way, that was over an hour of music. There was not one note wasted - 'Mountain Jam' was thirty-five minutes long and included a "Blue Sky" jam within the jam. That's the art that is the Allman Brothers - they ain't following no scripts, just playing it like they feel it.

r walker (29.03.2004)

I am reading reviews of The Allman Brothers Band and it has taken me back thirty three years ( approx ) to the night, it was a Friday, when I first heard Live at Fillmore East. As I was blowing away the smoke I wasn't completely aware how much I was being blown away! The clouds drifted, they fought amongst themselves, carelessly avoiding any contact, the joy has never stopped. Of couse there are moments of despair, the disappointment of the next album, but over the years what matters is the lasting effect.
I was driving through France last year playing "Jessica", how many times have I heard that?, when the spirit suddenly took me away. Chuck Leavall's piano solo, if I could only play one piece of music it would be this, embellished by Dicky Betts' peakin at the fretboard; ( how often do you see a semi-colon ?) is there a better denouement, flying takes many forms, I flew.
So much gratitude for the these guy's dedication to their music, their continued comittment to their music, the art of combining sounds in a certain order for aesthetic effect ( in the Kantian sense), sounds in harmony and producing joy.
Sound can penetrate to the depths, (but much of what passes for music only jobs), of any soul and free the spirit to fly and rejoice, dancing to the butterfly, from Dicky's first note to Duane's last a universe has come and gone, bend that string, make it sing, hold that chord , Berry starts it off. Play all night.

José Monsó (31.03.2006)

Man, I think your reviews on the ABB are nice, I might agree/disagree to some points but that's life. But you MUST give a try to what they have done in the '00's. The current lineup with Warren Heynes and Derek Trucks on guitars is as good as the original one, and this is not a minor statement. They are back to full shape. Both guys deserve to be followed up closely, including their alternative projects Gov't Mule and Derek Trucks Band. The Allmans are HUGE again.


ALBUMS
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND

Glenn Wiener (22.01.2000)

This record just does not stand up the Idlewide South. Yes, the guitar playing of Duane and Dickey and the vocals of Greg are quality stuff. However, the material is a bit redundant. The opening instrumental is quite interesting, but then its just blues rock with limited variety. Well, 'Dreams' isn't so bluesy but its so long and spacey that I usually start climbing the walls after a couple of minutes of the soloing. I tell you Molly Hatchet's version of 'Dreams' is soooo much better. They actuallu bring it to life with a snappy guitar solo and even better vocals. Anyway, I can not deny it that 'Whipping Post' is one excellent song and 'Its Not My Cross To Bear' and 'Blackhearted Woman' are pretty good as the best of the remaining pieces. This was an OK start but the Allmans would do better on Idlewide, Brothers and Sisters, and elsewhere.

Fredrik Tydal (25.02.2000)

I didn't know much about the Allmans or this album when I got it, but it turned out to be a minor pleasant surprise. I expected Lynyrd Skynyrd, but got more blues than I could even imagine. They certainly could play their instruments, that's for sure. My favourite tracks are "Black Hearted Woman" and "Whipping Post".

Nicholas Rogerson (04.03.2003)

This is a good album. I like the atmosphere this band produces. Sort of soulful and moody. 'Whipping Post' is really good, with great solos from Duane and Dickey. I actually like 'It's Not My Cross To Bear' a lot. Something about that first YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!! from Gregg captivates me. There are some good guitar exchanges there too. I very much like almost all albums with a bluesy core. So I like this one. After all it is blues played technically well. However I can really understand what you mean by the guitars being somewhere betweeen hard and soft. Sometimes the slightly monotonous tone of the album hits me hard. It is soulful and moody, but there isn't enough variety in volume. Overall a good addition to my CD collection though, and you are fair in your judgement.


IDLEWILD SOUTH

Glenn Wiener (30.11.99)

I agree with you almost perfectly on this one. It comes oh so close to an album rating of 10 but falls short for the very reasons you say. Not that the last two songs are bad, they are not, but just somehow you feel the band could have finished stronger. The reworking of 'Hoochie Coochie Man' is just awesome. What spririt, spunk, and drive. For a guy who never sang before or since on a song, Berry does one hell of a job on lead vocals. My only disagreement(and a minor one at that) is that I like the organ solo on 'Elizabeth Reed'. Where it is not spectacular, it offers a nice diversion from the driving guitar solos that kick this fine number off. In my opinion, this and Brothers And Sisters are the first Allman Brothers records to buy. Fillmore East has some good jams but they go on a little too long in spots and its too much of three chord blues/rock. Greg Allman's solo album Laid Back is excellent and is worth checking out as it quite different from the Allmans usually repetoire of blues guitar based jams.

Fredrik Tydal (25.02.2000)

Certainly an improvement over the debut. The playing is more tight and solid; which really shows on the instrumental epic "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" - probably my favourite track on the album along with "Midnight Rider". Don't know what to make of the Muddy Waters cover, though. It's a nice change of voice, all right, but... Nah, it doesn't really bother me. I got this and the debut album remastered and put on one CD under the name Beginnings - a great buy!

Bob Josef (24.10.2000)

The first two albums are available in a one CD package called Beginnings. And, I must say, the second stands far and above the first -- and any other album they did, for that matter. The first is just too full of heartfelt, but highly derivative, blues numbers. Which can get old very fast. But here, they start to break out of that mold with numbers that suggest they had the potential to become a Southern rock Jethro Tull (in the sense that they could work in a variety of other styles and influences besides blues) or a Santana (check out Duane's playing and that percussion, and that doesn't seem so far out). Unfortunately, with Duane's death, that ended that. "Revival," "Elizabeth Reed" and "Midnight Rider" are all time classics. Gregg later remade that last one (with a string arrangement -- that actually works)! on a solo album and it became a Top 40 hit.
As for the where the title of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" came from: Betts once had a tryst as a teenager in a cemetery (ewww...). And the epitaph of the tombstone near where the.. uhh.. act was consummated was "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." I don't think I've ever thought the same about the tune since hearing that one.


AT THE FILLMORE EAST

<STUDBROBND@aol.com> (07.02.2000)

just reading your review about the allman brothers band at fillmore east and i am certain that someone stole your soul....this collection of music comes from the heart and sets this band apart from the rock and roll that is played on commercial airwaves
in case you missed the point the blues is a form of music that allows a musician to expose his or her inner-most emotions through their creativity.....it is a pure form of music that states "here it is" and allows the listener to determine where the ebb and flow of the music will take your mind.....sound like a child of the 60's....well i'm not....just a music lover that feels you missed the boat on this one

Chris Papadopoulos (07.02.2001)

Hey, what's wrong with 'Hot Lanta'? I'm a BIG fan of the Duane-era Allmans but their super long jams are tedious even for me. Like you, though, I think 'You Don't Love Me' is the best of the long (i.e >15 mins) they ever did. Can't agree about 'Elizabeth Reed' -- I think this take murders the studio version. Despite the extra length, there is not a wasted note anywhere, and the guitar solos are particularly fine. ( I don't think there's any slide in there, by the way.) I feel the opposite way about 'Whipping Post'. Whereas the LP version boasts Gregg's incredible vocals on the chorus, here he strains to get to the notes. Perfectly understandable, of course, since it's virtually impossible to sing. The studio version also has the advantage of being MUCH shorter..
There are various CD versions of these performances now, but my compilation would lose the 22-minute 'Whipping Post' for the searing live versions (found elsewhere) of 'Trouble No More' (is there a better Muddy Waters cover anywhere?), 'One Way Out' and Gregg's 'Don't Keep Me Wonderin'. The latter gem showcases Duane's unequalled slide technique in tandem with a howling harp riff -- it's a killer and it's only three minutes long!. Still, this is one of the truly great live albums and deserves maximum points.

Glenn Wiener (11.06.2001)

For those of you who like long extended jams, buy the heck out of this one. 'Statesboro Blues' has always been one of my faves by the Bros' and 'Elizabeth Reed' is done well here too. However, 23 minutes of 'Whipping Post' and 19 minutes of 'You Don't Love Me' do not always fill my bill.

Mike (09.01.2003)

Your site is really interesting, I enjoy it. Just for the record, though, On Live at the Fillmore Duane doesn't play one note of slide guitar on either "In Memory of Elizebeth Reed", or "You Don't Love Me". Its all straight up lead guitar.
What throws people off is that Duane was a master at "bending" when playing straight lead, wich sort of simulates the way a slide guitar would sound.
But I can assure you, as an ABB fan, and a guitar player, no slide on those 2 songs.

Gianluigi Cosi (14.07.2004)

Hi, I would like to point out that there are two alternate double-CD versions of the original AT THE FILLMORE EAST single CD originally released in March 1971.
1."AT THE FILLMORE EAST DELUXE EDITION (2003) does not contain previously unreleased tracks and does not contain alternate versions of the songs. It contains the entire original AT FILLMORE EAST album from July 1971 (also available in a single-CD edition) and the extra Fillmore material that was released on EAT A PEACH, DUANE ALLMAN AN ANTHOLOGY 1 & 2 and the DREAMS box set (the exact same versions of these songs). All the songs are the EXACT same performances featured on the original and probably they are not even remixed.
2. THE FILLMORE CONCERTS (1992) looks similar to DELUXE, with the addition of "Midnight Rider" taken from ANTHOLOGY 2. But it does not contain the original versions: it contains several alternate versions of songs not available elsewhere, and is completely remixed.
So the first one should be considered a "double lenght AT THE FILLMORE EAST", while the second one is actually an alternate version of the album.

Matthew Byrd (18.07.2004)

Looooooong, looooong jame sessions usually bother me, but not here.  The Allman Brothers really show the blues at one of its high points.... too bad Duane died soon after this one, though. I really don't have time to say much but along with Live At Leeds and possibly Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out this is probably the greatest live recording of all time.


EAT A PEACH

Tim Cotter (05.08.99)

I don't think you understand what a "jam" is...

Richard C. Dickison (10.08.99)

I thought Jam was something not functioning correctly? Or Creedence Clearwater Revival trying to fill time on an album. Or ELP just trying my patience. By the way was that Strawberry or Peach? I'll have mine on toast please.

<Huntr3@aol.com> (06.06.2000)

I dont know if i missed it or not, but i believe you forgot to add about the reason for naming the album. I have always thought Eat a Peach was a screwy name until i found out why it was named this. Duane Allman was hit by a peach truck. Dont believe me? Its true, therefore they named the album Eat a Peach which is kinda dark, but clever. Thank ya so much....

<Solidsmoke00@aol.com> (30.12.2000)

The title Eat A Peach is not a reference to Duane's accident. It is taken from a quote by Duane where he said that he liked to "eat a peach for peace" everytime he was back home in Dixie.

Glenn Wiener (30.07.2001)

Loaded with strong songs. 'Melissa', 'Ainít Wasting Time No More', 'Blue Sky', 'Little Martha' - all of them classics. Whereas I have not heard 'Mountain Jam', Iíve had a problem with knowing that this song, jam, whatever you want to call it takes up half the disc. I know the Allmans are legendary for their jams but somehow it turns me off to know that 40 minutes are regulated to endless noodling. One day Iíll have to give the old 'Mountain Jam' a try and then write again with a final analysis. Other than this piece, the rest is a solid effort.
PS. I actually listened to this entire record INCLUDING 'Mountain Jam' and it stands as one of the Allman Brothers All Time Great Recordings. 'Mountain Jam' is actually quite an interesting piece in spite of its length. The band just brews with energy on this epic performance. The other eight tracks are all gems. Stunning solos and some beautiful songs particularly 'Blue Sky' and 'Melissa'. You won't be disappointed.

Dale Parent (20.06.2003)

I'm short on time right now, so I won't go into your review, but just a reminder that 'Melissa' has NO SLIDE GUITAR in it (you referred to the "gorgeous slide guitar" parts in 'Melissa')
and Elizabeth Reed was the name on a tombstone in a cemetary (the name escapes me right now) where the Allmans would hang out and party & write songs .... in their VERY early days ...

Michael Hughes (20.06.2003)

It is a little known and strange (but true) fact that certain American peachheads start off Christmas morning each year by playing "Mountain Jam." I have never tried it, but always intend to. It always gets to be about 2:30 pm on Christmas day before I remember to put it on and by that time what's the point. I guess the idea is that there is a majesty to that 30 plus minutes that can only be appreciated in the rarefied air of a major holiday. Of course, MJ can send some people screaming into the night or at least nodding off into the pudding, but you have to hand it to a band that could produce such a thing and to a person who could actually stay with the ups and downs and ins and outs of listening to it. Could it be that MJ simulates in music the physical and spiritual experience of climbing the proverbial mountain. I like the word proverbial a lot.


BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Kevin Baker (16.04.2001)

I'm the 1st to comment? Well, I have to agree---this is hands-down the best Allman Bros. recording out there. I'll own up to be an Allman lover; after the Byrds, they're probably my 2nd favorite band. Note to others---I love the Beatles. The Beatles are not a band, they are a force of nature than no one else can ever approach. Therefore, I void them in terms of my naming of favorite band, etc. But back to the Allmans. They really did have a unique style, and I think it is best displayed here on Brothers and Sisters. 7 songs, and each of them a winner. This is a "springtime in the Texas Hill Country" record if I've ever heard one. If you've never been to central Texas, I pity you. Get there ASAP but do yourself a favor and avoid Austin. But I digress again. The music on this one sounds and feels like green grass and rolling hills and lotsa blooming wildflowers. We open with one of my personal favorites 'Wasted Words'. That guitar part that follows the vocal lines just before the chorus is what does it for me. Very fascinating song. Then, we can't forget the two giants. 'Ramblin' Man' is one of my very favorite songs. Those Betts solos just drive me blinkin wild everytime I her 'em. Who ever said they needed Duane for incendiary guitars? That's a lie. Dickey Betts gets so little respect because he'd been so overshadowed. 'Jessica' is a great song, maybe the best instrumental they ever did (but I love 'In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed' on an unnatural and unhealthy level), and hot mama does that thing just roll on, smooth and flowing. Not an awkward second or note in the whole blame thing. 'Southbound' is another great one. Gotta love the guitarwork on it. Ever since I took up playing, I've gained a much better respect for good players, and I've gained a better ear for stuff. The Allmans are ear candy for guitar players, and this song is a particularly tasty bite. 'Pony Boy' is a lot of fun; I love the dobro. The other two songs are good as well but how can you compare with the rest? I think every Backstreet Boys and N'Sync fan needs to be locked in a booth with this one until they come to their senses. Perfect album from the Allmans.

Glenn Wiener (11.06.2001)

You certainly have my support on this one, George. The additional of Chuck Leavel and more consistent song-writing puts this one at least on the same level as Idlewide South. Seven super songs with 'Come And Go Blues' standing out as my fave with beautiful piano embellishments. I guess I just prefer the hidden gems on records as opposed to what is deemed more radio friendly.

Chris Papadopoulos (11.06.2001)

This was my first taste of the band, and I liked it a lot, although I quickly downgraded it when I first heard the Duane-era band. Better than At Fillmore East? Nah. For all its faults, that is still one of the great live albums. Fine as it is, Brothers and Sisters is not one of the world's best studio recordings.
But let's not quibble. It's Dickey's finest moment, and he deserves recognition after spending so much time standing in the shadow of the great Howard Duane, even though Dickey himself would have strolled into any band as No. 1 guitar player. His writing and playing here are inspired.
'Pony Boy' is their most irresistibly toe-tapping tune ever, but I do agree that 'Jessica' is the album's highlight. The whole thing is gorgeous, but the moment where the piano solo segues into the guitar solo really hits the sweet spot. By the way, the song was inspired by Dickey's young daughter. Which explains the title. And why it's so sunny. Add it to the list of marvelous songs written for the tunesmith's kiddies.
Having said all that, my personal fave is Gregg's 'Come and Go Blues'. Love that one. An 8.

Bruno Müller (28.07.2002)

George, I have never agreed with you as much as when I read your review of Brothers and Sisters. I would still consider Eat a Peach as good as this one, and I absolutely think Duane Allman is the best guitar improviser have ever existed - along with Eric Clapton. So, I suppose you're not giving Duane enough credit. But you are God damn right: this band wasn't only about Duane, and this album must get rated as high as possible. And it's certainly the most even Allmans' albums. That said, let me correct you in just one little thing: from my point of view, "Jessica" isn't perhaps the most beautiful instrumental composition by the Allman Brothers Band. Actually, it's not only this, but also one of the most beautiful instrumental compositions of rock'n'roll history. Easily a top 5.


WIPE THE WINDOWS, CHECK THE OIL, DOLLAR GAS

Paul Murray (19.09.2000)

"Perhaps, as a contrast, I can't really enjoy the 'gloomier' songs on this album all that much. Never been a particular fan of 'In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed', too, but the version on here is really pallid when compared to the Fillmore performance: not enough power or emotion, way too many keyboards and even the more powerful breaks lose their solidity and epicness without Duane. For most of its seventeen minutes, it's just an obligatory drag; however, its author was Dicky, and they couldn't get away without including it in the setlist or putting it on record"

You wrote this in your Wipe the Windows album review. So, I thought about it and listened to again. And don't get me wrong. I listened to the entire song, paying full attention to every note. Then I listened to the one on the Fillmore Album. Now, lets compare the two. To start with, there is an introductory solo, in that first A section. You should know what I mean. From your name, I guess your a guitarist. So why don't you ask yourself, what solo do you think is better. The one on the Filmore, or Wipe the windows. In my opinion, when he uses the use of his volume (having the volume low, then playing the note, and raising the volume so everyone can hear the note, then lowering it. This makes it sound like a violin, or something like that.) I thought that was pretty damn cool. Also, the solo itself is better. And if you want to bring 'powerful' into it, I think you should rethink that first section. Then, the song goes into that, E-G-B-G-A-G-E-D... You know. We have that whole transition thing going on there. Listen to the Wipe the Windows cut of this part. Do you hear the crowd? Powerful? Pretty damn powerful if you ask me. Also, its played much better on the Wipe the windows Cut. On the Filmore, you can see this if you count it, they are not on the beats. It sucks. Then, for the rest of the song, its solos. I cant really say much about them. But go ahead and listen to them both, and ask yourself which is better. Not to bash on Duane or anything, I think Dickey had it made in Wipe the Windows. Then, of course this is a personal thing, I kind of like the keyboards. So listen to the cuts again, and tell me what you think. "In memory of Elizabeth reed" is one of my favorites. A lot of my friends think so to, so I was struck when ou wrote that you did not like it, especially when it was on the Wipe the Windows Album.


ENLIGHTENED ROGUES

Donn Prakash (08.06.2001)

Ok, this is my first review for this fine site. This album is the first Allman Brothers Band I ever heard. I actually hadn't heard of the ABB until CDNOW recommended it because I was a diehard CCR fan. So, I went out and bought this because it was on sale. I actually was quite impressed by this album, and I still harbor a soft spot for it, if only for the fact that it's the first ABB I ever owned and listened to.
Most of the tunes on this fine little album get the job done. I agree with George that "Can't Take It With You" is the best track. However, Gregg's voice has changed... he sounds more mature, and less "bloozy". I'm also not too impressed with the guitars on this album. While they are sufficient, they lack the edge and innovation that they had in the earlier albums. I'm beginning to think that that sound died with Duane, although some of the later (90s) stuff does go near it. Oh... I really like 'Pegasus'. I think it's a thoroughly enjoyable song, sharing the same pedestal with "Jessica" (sorry, George). My reasoning is that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. 'Pegasus' is just a different song; I wouldn't classify it as country-rock, because it has more of a "groovy" beat... Latin-influenced, maybe? I also like the moodiness of the piece.
There is one major drawback to this album: It sounds like the Atlanta Rhythm Section. In other words, it sounds like a bunch of session musicians got together and put together a nice sounding album, which isn't what the ABB is about. However, I still like it. I'm listening to it right now, actually.

Glenn Wiener (11.06.2001)

A good if not overally spectacular reunion disc. Agree with you that the first three tracks are the cream of this crop with 'Try It One More Time' as another winner. The rest of the material is merely adequate.

Nick Pulliam (08.05.2006)

I'll defend this fine album, one of the first I ever purchased, and try to convince your readers that there is more than just generic filler and pale imitations of greatness here. I think the final three songs on the cd (or side 2) are catchy and outstanding. 'Try It One More Time' has a great guitar-funk thing going for it that easily qualifies as a "hook" in my view. The song is unique and a great effort. 'Just Ain't Easy' is IMHO one of Greg Allman's very best compositions and a great ballad. The ascending-descending guitar soloing at the end of this song is outstanding and memorable. 'Sail Away' is just a beautiful, unpretentious, ballad by Dickie and is very hard to find fault with. The merits of the other songs should also include mentioning the energy level. Songs like 'Crazy Love', 'Can't Take it With You' and 'Blind Love' have more energy than all of Win Lose Or Draw and a good chunk of Brothers and Sisters ('Southbound' and 'Rambling Man' excepted). Is this a better album than Brothers and Sisters? Probably not, but it is a very diverse, satisfying album all by itself and need not live up to its great predessesor. I suggest that you look up this often-ignored album and judge for yourself.


SEVEN TURNS

Glenn Wiener (15.10.99)

This stands out a bit more than Where It All Begins as the Allmans touch on some different styles. The vocal style on the title track is quite impressive and at least the Allmans prove that they can do something other than the blues. But they play the blues real well on 'Loaded Dice', 'Low Down Dirty Mean', 'Good Clean Fun', and 'Gamblers Roll'. Great emotion and a return to form from the poppy sounds of the Arista days.


SHADES OF TWO WORLDS

Glenn Wiener (11.06.2001)

Like the title of this batch and the cover is pretty cool. 'End Of The Line' is one smokin' opening cut and 'Kind Of Bird' is a spunky instrumental. But that 'Come Into My Kitchen' number is the standout track with some slick sounding acoustic guitars. 'Nobody Knows' would actually be a lot better without all the excessive jamming. Its hard to go wrong with the Allmans but this is not a premiere disc in any way.


WHERE IT ALL BEGINS

Glenn Wiener (15.10.99)

Good music by a good band. Not at the peak of their game but there are some bright moments specifically with the spunky 'Nobody Left To Run With'.

Matthew Karp (12.06.2001)

Call me crazy, but for some reason I consider this something of a standout album. Its quite possible that since I'm not a 'true' (i.e. rabid) Allmans fan, I'm inherently incapable of seeing what was so beautiful and special about their earlier music and what sets it apart from this stuff (I doubt it, though). But while I dont think anything on Where It All Begins quite reaches the level of 'Midnight Rider', 'Melissa', 'Jessica', etc, the first 6 songs (esp. "Sailin' 'Cross The Devil's Sea", the title track, and "No One to Run With") really grab me in a way that most music - let alone music from a band 20 years past its presumed peak - ever does. Perhaps they're not great, resonant masterpieces, but they're far more listenable to my ears than contemporary efforts by artists whose 'peak' work I enjoy much more than the Allmans, like the Stones, Pink Floyd, and Neil Young. An interesting phenomenon, considering that in general I see myself as an anti-fan of generic blues wanking and this record is supposed to be just that, only a couple decades after the wankers had lost whatever spunk they once had.


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