The Allman Brothers Band: The Road Goes On Forever

Doug Collette By

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In 2003, The Allman Brothers Band effectively completed a rejuvenation of themselves like no other act in rock history. The seminal Southern rock band achieved the profoundly difficult tasks of recapturing both their aesthetic credibility and commercial viability. This, after longs years of enduring internecine warfare, multiple tragedies of bandmembers' deaths, on top of the usual rock syndrome of bad business dealings and the demons of drugs and alcohol. Long in the shadow of the Grateful Dead in the pantheon of improvisational rock and roll bands, ABB have accomplished what the Dead are still trying to do, and which few if any artists of their longevity (aside perhaps from Bob Dylan) have ever been able to do, that is, restore themselves to full power as writers, musicians, performers and recording artists.

It has been, arguably, a longer and stranger trip for the Allmans because the process of revitalizing themselves was a fitful one, the end result of a step-by-step injection of fresh young blood—Derek Trucks and Oteil Burbridge—into a band of brothers who had to jettison one of their own—Dicky Betts—to unleash all the firepower at their command. However, It wasn't until the return of a prodigal son who had once been ejected from the group—Warren Haynes—that the necessary personal and artistic bonding took place to allow the music itself to flourish.

What is perhaps most miraculous is that all this has been accomplished without the self-consciousness that comes from carrying as much myth as legacy. Never once did the Allmans seem a dinosaur act: the collective loyalty to their original inspiration , embodied by the mystic intangible of 'hittin' the note' drew the best from everyone in the band no matter who was in the lineup, even though the inspiration came at times from an unlikely source—for instance, the temporary enlistment of guitarist Jimmy Herring, whose dream of Allmans music rekindled a spirit of adventure long lost in the group prior to Betts' departure.

The Allman Brothers set themselves up for the long haul years ago with annual stints at the Beacon Theatre each March inaugurating their own new year prior to the summer long jaunts across the country that allow individual band members to pursue their own interests in the considerable off times. 2004 is no exception to that schedule, except that, with a new double live cd due out during this year's NYC run, only a year after the release of a studio album that garnered almost unanimously positive reviews, The Allman Brothers stand poised to ride their own momentum. Fully aware how quickly times can change, they have learned just as surely how patience and perseverance pays off.

Building an ABB Library
Essential Discography

CD/DVD Reviews
Live at the Beacon Theatre 2003
One Way Out-Live at the Beacon Theatre
One Way Out-Live at the Beacon Theatre (2)
Hittin' The Note Indeed!
The Allman Brothers Band: Gems From The Vaults

Concert Reviews
The Allman Brothers in Concert: A Fan's View & A Critic's View
The Triumphant Return of The Allman Brothers Band
The Road Goes On Through 2004
The Allman Brothers at The Beacon Theatre 2005
The Allman Brothers' Summer Tour 2005
The Allman Brothers at The Beacon Theatre 2006
The Allmans and The Mule: Brothers of the Road

Artist Profile
The Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theatre: Preview 2004
The Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theatre: Preview 2005
The Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theatre: Preview 2006

Related AAJ Articles
Oteil Burbridge 2003 Interview
CD Review: The Fillmore Concerts
CD Review: Eric Clapton & The Allman Brothers: Sharing The Key To The Highway
CD Review: The Colossal Mess of "The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East"

Related Links
The Allman Brothers Band (official site)
The Allman Brother's Band Listserv
Discuss ABB @ The AAJ Bulletin Board





Doug Collette fell in love with the music of the Allman Brothers when he saw them at a college concert just weeks before the appearance at the Fillmore East that was immortalized on their live album. He has followed the band closely ever since, seeing shows at each major juncture of their career. He brings this broad perspective to a series of articles covering ABB in the studio and on the stage.

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