Allman Brothers Band — Ramblin Man

Founded in 1969, The Allman Brothers Band was one of the greatest and most influential Rock Bands to hit the scene in the early part of the 1970’s. While they had a country, jazz and blues mix, their Southern Rock sound paved the way for other bands, such as Allman Brothers, Blackfoot, and The Marshall Tucker Band.

Brothers Duane and Gregg were in various bands together; their first, a garage band, «The Escorts «; later, the «Allman Joys» and then, «The Hour Glass». The Hour Glass had a record contract but lost it after a couple of failed albums. In 1969, Duane, a session guitarist at Fame Studios in AL, was persuaded by Phil Walden, former manager of Otis Redding, to give up his session work and start up a new band. Duane rounded up Dickey Betts, (guitar), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), Jaimoe Johanny Johanson (drums), and with some persuasion, brother Gregg, and formed The Allman Brothers Band. Walden signed them to Capricorn Records.

In 1970, The Allman Brothers debut album, The Allman Brothers Band, garnered critical acclaim even though sales were modest, but they had a strong cult following. The album captured the essence of American blues and tinges of jazz elements. Their second album, Idlewild South, was a critical success and gained many more fans over the first release through higher album sales.

The Allman Brothers expressed themselves on stage through their trademark long jams and guitar solos. Their live performances became legendary; classical and jazz elements were continually present in their 40-minute jams. These guitar leads came from their souls, rather than rigid mechanics so evident in other bands of the era who sought to impress through technique or fancy licks and riffs. This captivated their audiences and served as the basis for their next album, Live at Fillmore East, released in 1971. The album was a huge hit and is one of the best blues-rock albums of all time. Just 14 days after the album went gold and with their next album, Eat a Peach already in progress, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident, after colliding with a truck. After the release of Eat a Peach, Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle accident, only a few blocks away from where Duane was killed.

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Their next album, Brothers and Sisters, took on a new country rock sound, with Dickey Betts as the leader. The record reached the number one spot for six weeks and included, Ramblin’ Man and «Jessica,» a seven-minute long instrumental. Brothers and Sisters is their most well known album.

In 1974, with Gregg Allman’s and Dickey Betts’ new solo careers, the band members’ drug abuse, personality conflicts, and the heavy strain of touring, the group began to fall apart. In 1979, Arista Records signed the Allman Brothers, allowing them to continue recording in the wake of the Capricorn Records collapse. In 1989 the band was revived with the release of a box CD set, which introduced the Allman’s to a new generation of fans. To this day, hey continue to produce albums and perform live.

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