Friday, August 15, 2008

1973: Ramblin' Man

The Allman Brothers Band: Ramblin' Man


In 1973, the Allman Brothers were touring in support of Brothers and Sisters, and they became the first band I ever saw live. So I have no choice but to love the album. Luckily, it happens to be a good one.

Brothers and Sisters is also a landmark album, one of the first southern-rock albums, although no one recognized that at the time. I have mixed feelings about that.

1973 marked the end of blues rock, which I love. Cream had broken up. Bands like the J Geils Band, the Climax Blues Band, and Fleetwood Mac had changed their lineups or their sound, and were no longer playing the blues. (Side note: did you know that Fleetwood Mac started as a blues band? Maybe I'll find a way to do a post on that someday.) Even John Mayall, who had nurtured so many blues rock legends in his bands, had moved to California, and was adding pop elements to his sound.

As for the Allman Brothers, Brothers and Sisters was the first full album they recorded without Duane Allman, who had died in a motorcycle accident. Original member Berry Oakley died during the Brothers and Sisters sessions, appearing on only two tracks. So Greg Allman and Dickie Betts decided to take the band in a more pop direction. On Brothers and Sisters, they succeeded, and the album still sounds great today. But they never again equaled this artistic or commercial success. Ironically, a band which found its first fame jamming on blues based tunes, and then toned the jamming way down as they remade themselves, has now found a niche in the current marketplace by re-remaking themselves as a jam band.

Submitted by Darius

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