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The Allman Brothers Band – Best Band Ever?

That’s huge!  The Allman Brothers Band best band ever?  Ever!!?  Not The Beatles?  Not The Stones?  The Allman Brothers Band…ok, they are really good, potentially great, but the best band ever?   Resoundingly, YES!!!  There has been no other band that has evoked the kind of visceral emotion and pulling at every heartstrings.  I grew up on a steady diet of Santana, Yes, Led Zeppelin and Elton John.  Being hispanic, admitting that there are higher planes of musical existence than what Carlos has taken us to is akin to Stephen Hawkins telling us there is no such thing as black holes.  So what is it about ABB that keeps me coming back to them?

Let’s take a deeper look at the catalog that makes me love the Allman Brothers Band above all others – at least for the present time.

First, I separate the albums that ABB did into 3 categories that I think truly defines their sound:

  1. With Duane (1969 – 1971)
  2. Without Duane (1972 – 1979)
  3. With Warren (1990 – present)

Not trying to slight Dickey, I love Dickey…in a strictly non-sexual, uh…man there is no getting out of that one.  Dickey Betts smokes on the Goldtop, back to the categories. “With Duane” was a short 2-3 years but maybe the best because it was so raw.  “Sky Dog” drove the Allman Brothers Band into the stratosphere.  Take an hour and a half out of your busy life and sit down with a pair of headphones or an extremely large pair of speakers that shuts out everything else in the world and put on “At the Fillmore East“.  What I found so amazing about the ABB during that time is the pure energy of it all.  The 1st album was the blues like I had never heard before.  Southern fried tones with really kickin’ grooves – all beautifully colored with the best whiskey drinkin’ voice in rock…period.

Without Duane” was not the most prolific time for ABB.  Best thing that came out of it was “Brothers and Sisters“.  Despite continuous issues, death of Duane and Barry, the bankruptcy of Capricorn – their label, the marriage/divorce/marriage/divorce of Gregg Allman and Cher, Jaimoe and Lamar leaving to form Sea Level and all of this combined with their rock star mythos issues (drug, drink and way too many groupies).  They still kicked out good tunes but not at the level they did before.  I personally loved their live stuff still.  This was nearly the end of ABB.

With Warren” was the ressurrection of ABB.  Never have I heard the kind of jazz fusion, rock, southern tones and fat, fat rhythms.  Three great albums in 4 years then nothing for 9 years.  Some touring, some live recordings but no new material.  I could’ve been happy with just that but then 2003 – “Hittin’ the Note”.  Take a listen, you will be addicted as well.