Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Allman Brothers Band

My town (Huntington) has an art-film house which shows independent movies, foreign films and artistic fare.  The place is a Mecca of culture in the suburban desert.

Tonight, I was lucky to see concert footage from the early Seventies of one of the best rock bands of all time, The Allman Brothers Band.  The Allman Brothers were huge in the Seventies, with several big hits like "Ramblin' Man," "Whipping Post" and "Midnight Rider."  They were the King of a genre known as "Southern rock" which ruled among my friends.  (Other Southern rock titans were Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Charlie Daniels Band.)

The Allman Brothers band had two terrific musicians -- founder Duane Allman and guitarist Dickey Betts.  In my opinion, Betts was the greatest guitarist of all time, a view that is shared by many.  His virtuoso playing was magical.

Duane's brother Gregg married Cher before she realized he was a full-time drug-addict.  When she learned this and gave him an ultimatum, he kept drugging and she dumped him.

Allman Brothers songs start out structured but seque into long passages of jazz-like improvisation.  Those passages, with instrumental solos, transport your mind to another reality.  Then, when your floating out in space, the band brings back the structure, with remarkably tight playing.  Listening to their songs is like taking a journey to another galaxy.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, at age 24.  The group's bass-player, Berry Oakley, died the following year, also from a motorcycle accident.

Their music still stands up and I listen to it regularly.  Their flights of musical fancy provide therapeutic benefit to me.

Have you heard of this group?


  1. Never heard of them but the way you describe their music it must be pretty cool!

  2. Yup, I know all the songs you named and knew about Duane's death, and Cher's marriage to Gregg. I don't own any of their albums, though.

  3. Definitely know this group. Used to kinda think Gregg was hot...but sort of devilishly dangerous...which I guess at the time I found attractive. Great music. I haven't listened to it in a long while though. Sometimes going back to my youth era music is a little depressing for me if it's a reminder of certain party days I'd rather not recall. Know what I mean? I'm in a much happier place now. I'm preferring more shallow upbeat dance music at the moment. haha

  4. I used to listen to the Allman Brothers a lot. I strongly associate them with my ex though, so I haven't listened to them in awhile. I do still like several of their songs.

  5. I have! I might be younger than you, but I totally know the Allman Brothers. I enjoy a lot of 60's and 70's music - probably because my parents listened to a lot of it when I was growing up. Very cool that you got to see concert footage, I bet that was fun.

  6. I just caught Greg Allman on The View recently. Boy, he looked much older than his age, too much partying I guess. ;)
    They are one of my favorite bands from my favorite era. I started listening to them through my older sister and would play her records whenever she was out of the house.
    Nice walk down memory lane!

  7. I've heard of them, but not heard their music. I'm not a big music buff so I'm not surprised. I do think it's really cool that you got to see concert footage. It's always very special to catch those rare showings.

  8. I know them, but not well. I have a love/hate relationship with southern rock. Or rather, I just can't decide if I like it or not.

    1. I can understand that because bad Southern rock is really bad, but the Allman Brothers transcend the genre -- their music is simply great music, some of the best improvisational work around.

  9. I've heard of them, but have never been a fan of Southern Rock.

  10. love them! my mom is related to one of them, i forget who..

    Xo Megan

  11. I've seen the group in concert--memorable because I got home so late from the concert, I did not have time to shampoo before I headed to work the next morning. Half way to campus I kept smelling marijuana and belatedly realized it was my hair. No student mentioned it.

  12. being a GA girl, i grew up and am a fan of them. in fact, my sister is named Jessica after the song.