The Allman Brothers….Before and After – Music Makeovers that made sense AND dollars (Vol. 2)

Before: (1969-1971)

Southern blues band led by blues/rock guitar master Duane Allman. The band had worked their ass off to the verge of international superstardom. Then the band lost two key members to fatal motorcycle accidents in the space of twelve months.

The life of Jimi Hendrix was woefully short. However, he still got three more years on earth than Blues/Rock/Jazz/Slide virtuoso Duane Allman. Allman stands as one of the greats even though he was cut down at age 24 in a tragic motorcycle accident a scant few months after the band had their first commercial breakthrough. Bass player and Duane soul brother Barry Oakley died the same death twelve months later.  The live album, “At Fillmore East” is still required listening for all aspiring blues guitarists. Additionally, Duane was a leading character in Derek And The Dominos saga.  His standard tuning slide work set a ridiculously high standard for all who followed. Along the way, the band established the Deep South as a rich and fertile wellspring for serious rock music. The Allman Brothers was Duane’s band, and then he was gone…..

After: (1973 –     )

Hugely successful Southern style Pop/Rock band that sold shit loads of records and established themselves as Classic Rock royalty. On the downside, they made the Marshall Tucker Band possible.  

How do you replace a legendary guitarist and namesake of a band? Wisely, The Allman Brothers didn’t go there. When one door closes, others tend to open. In the case of support guitarist and loyal second banana Dickie Betts; good fortune followed poor circumstance. With Betts and Duane’s little brother Greg at the helm, The Macon Georgia band took a hard right turn away from their improvisatory Blues/Jazz stylings and went Country (rock that is). Gone were the marathon, cannabis friendly blues/jazz excursions. The Allman’s first (sans Duane) album “Brothers And Sisters” went multi-platinum behind hits like the catchy home-fried instrumental “Jessica”. The Betts original, “Ramblin’ Man” was a monster single. “Ramblin’ Man” occupied the radio waves with an awesome omnipresence that bordered on irritating.

What happened next?

The Allman Brothers slowly unraveled after their mega success. Little brother Greg Allman married Cher and took a lot of drugs. Dickie Betts became a mean drunk and went solo. The band leaned heavily on the Allman Brothers brand into the next millennium with a host of fine (but non-fraternal) guitar replacements. In the last two decades, The Allman Brothers brand has been diluted to the point where it now only serves as a safety net for Greg Allman’s faltering solo career.

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