The Allman Brothers were the first and greatest Southern blues band to hit the big time. Their wailing twin lead guitar attack set them completely apart from any of their acid rock contemporaries, and they continued to produce fine records throughout the 70s. Although the band frequently got mired in self-indulgent, monotonous blues jams, they had piles of instrumental virtuosity, and occasionally were given fine ballads to work with by singer/organ player/main songwriter Gregg Allman. But the real story is Duane Allman: the man was truly gifted, and surely the best slide guitarist of his time. His work on Eric Clapton's Layla has entranced me ever since my childhood, and some of his playing with the Allman Brothers approaches that pinnacle.
The real-life Allman brothers - Duane and Gregg - had been cutting sessions and floating from band to band for years before forming the Allman Brothers Band in 1969. In fact, they'd already released two albums with a completely different act called the Hour Glass; Within a couple of years the Allmans were a major chart success, and had established their reputation with fine concert performances that are captured on several live albums. Tragically, however, Duane died in a motorcycle crash in late 1971; he wasn't replaced and the band continued without him, with guitarist Dicky Betts stepping up to take a more active role. The next year Berry Oakley died in a similar accident, and the band again pushed on before splitting temporarily in the late 70s. After a hiatus in the mid-80s, the surviving lineup recruited a top-notch lead guitarist named Warren Haynes and put out a long string of records.
Gregg Allman: organ; lead vocals
Dickey Betts: lead guitar; lead vocals
Jaimoe: drums; percussion
Butch Trucks: drums; percussion; tympani
Warren Haynes: lead guitar; background vocals
Allen Woody: bass guitar; background vocals
Johnny Neel: piano; keyboards; background vocals