Wednesday, 8 August 2018
The Allman Brothers Band - The Allman Brothers Band (1969)
Released in November 1969
Recorded in New York City
This is The Allman Brothers debut album. It features the guitar talent of Duane Allman, who unfortunately died in a motorcycle crash in 1971. Basically, there is not too much that can be said extensively about it, except that it is blues rock of the absolute highest quality and this was material that paved the way for "Southern Rock" that the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd followed so impressively later in the seventies. Mind you, influential as it clearly was, there are several bits of clear Jimi Hendrix influence on this, particularly in the riff on the magnificent, rocking "Black Hearted Woman". Many of the tracks are extended and almost "jams" to be honest, and these days, this sort of thing can seem, to some, somewhat indulgent and dated. There is the dreaded drum solo in "Black Hearted Woman", for example, but it is damn good one. The guitar, bass, drum and organ interplay on all the tracks is superb, effortless at times, almost like free jazz. They just feed instinctively off each other. It is almost telepathic in its understanding. Strangely for all its Southern roots, it was recorded in New York City.
"It's Not My Cross To Bear" is a big, kick posterior, bassy bear of a blues. A great vocal from Gregg Allman that surely influenced Paul Rodgers of Free. "Don't Want You No More" has some very Santana-esque Latin-style percussion. Their first album was from the same year. "Trouble No More" has a barnstorming riff that surely to goodness influenced Deep Purple. This is heavy, riffy blues rock at its absolute finest. The searing lead guitar parts are seriously exhilarating. "Every Hungry Woman" owes something to Hendrix in places too. "Dreams" shows that they could do slightly more laid-back stuff too. There is a lot of Free in this one, and Led Zeppelin too.
"Whipping Post" was often grossly extended as a jam when played live. The version from "At Fillmore East" was twenty-three minutes long! It is a great song, though, quite bluesy and soulful in its vocal.
Basically this album is full-on electric blues, Yes, there are the slight tinges of the psychedelic era in those Hendrix riffs, but basically this is very much an early seventies blues rock album. There really isn't a bad song on it. The "deluxe edition" is the one to get hold of - its sound is truly superb. Big, full and bassy. What other way is there.