This is going to keep me busy all weekend, man. You see all those people? They’re all with the band. I’m digging, though. This album was released amidst the greatest heights of popularity reached by the band, while also serving as a time capsule, bursting with pain and integrity to carry on through deep loss. It was the first album fully recorded after the tragic motorcycle accident that resulted in the death of lead man Brother Duane Allman, and before it was cut, a second mortal blow – this time, bassist Berry Oakley, whose premature death was met in strikingly similar fashion. (Read about those events and more in the blog linked through the back cover photo.)
I haven’t found something that decisively proclaims this assertion, but the photography of the album was taken after Oakley’s death; I think it’s a fairly safe conclusion as he’s not in the spread photo next to his wife, Linda, and daughter, Brittany (the little lady on the back cover), and Lamar Williams, who was brought in to play bass after Oakley, is the hatted fellow in the top row, 3(and a half) in from the left.
Duane Allman has some interesting tie-ins to Eric Clapton/Derek and the Dominos, which I’ll review in the future. Other tie-in notes: Mussel Shoals, Fillmore East, The Grateful Dead, The Band (July 28, 1973 at the Summer Jam), Boz Skaggs, Cher.
SIDE 1: (1. Wasted Words; (2. Ramblin’ Man; (3. Come And Go Blues; (4. Jelly Jelly.
♠SIDE 2: (1. Southbound; (2. Jessica; (3. Pony Boy.
**Full listing of who did what where is here.
…Who but the Brothers and those closest to them could say for sure, but I’m willing to bet Brothers and Sisters really brought some “sibling” rivalry to the forefront. Although the band had been together 4 years, it was Richard “Dickey” Betts who, stepping in as lead man after Duane’s passing, wrote some of their more recognizable hits (like “Ramblin’ Man” and “Jessica”). I would imagine Gregg, in particular, may have had some trouble reconciling his emotions concerning the role his brother held as forming lead man, the loss of Duane, and who that left “in charge” of the band going forward. His name was in the band’s name, yes…but arguably, Betts had been in the group with D. Allman, Trucks, and Oakley while G. Allman was away seeing out a contract with Liberty Records…sounds like the makings of a messy family drama to me!
One of the first comments I remember hearing about the Allman Brothers Band when I started gaining interest in them was concerning how Gregg eventually went off the deep end; I can’t remember who made the comment (although it may have been “Elvis,” my manager at CD Warehouse in Des Moines), but I recall he put a good amount of blame for breaking up the band on Gregg. Personally, I think in a tribe this large, shots were probably fired from several camps around the same time, and it’d be dern near impossible to decipher who shot first. More importantly…does it matter?
It was all veiled by a haze of…well, the 70’s. It’s a sad story that the family band dissolved due to their differences and personal demons. They got back together for several projects but were never able to fully reconcile through the rift of estrangement that rent their career – just like sometimes happens to blood-born family! I’d like to think if I asked any of them, they’d still claim each other as the brothers and sisters they truly strove to be.
Engineered by: Buddy Thornton; Johnny Sandlin; Ovie Sparks.
Produced by: The Allman Brothers Band; Johnny Sandlin.
Recorded at: Capricorn Sound Studios, Macon, Georgia.
Manufactured exclusively by:
Warner Bros. Records Inc.,
3701 Warner Blvd.,
Burbank, Calif. 91505
44 East 50th St.,
New York 10022