The Allman Brothers Band

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-71)

- Duane Allman (RIP 1971) -- lead guitar 

- Gregg Allman -- vocals, organ, guitar

- Dickey Betts -- vocals, lead guitar

- Jai Jai Johanson -- drums, percussion

- Berry Oakley -- bass

- Butch Trucks -- drums, percussion


  supporting musicians (1970)

- Thom Doucette -- harmonica


  line up 2 (1971-72)

- Gregg Allman -- vocals, organ, guitar

- Dickey Betts -- vocals, lead guitar

- Jai Jai Johanson -- drums, percussion

- Berry Oakley (RIP 1972) -- bass

- Butch Trucks -- drums, percussion


  line up xx (1989-90)

- Greg Allman -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Dickey Betts  -- lead guitar

- Warren Hayes -- lead guitar

- Jaimoe -- drums

- Johnny Neel -- keyboards

- Butch Trucks -- drums, percussion

- Allen Woody -- bass






- 31st of February

- The Allman Joys (Duane Allman and Greg Allman)

- Duane Allman (solo efforts)

- Greg Allman (solo efforts)

- Greg and Duane Allman

- Allman and Woman

- Aquarium Rescue Unit

- Blue Floyd

- Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit

- The Dead

- The Derek Trucks Band

- Dickey Betts

- Frogwings

- Hourglass

- The Dickey Woods Band

- Dickey Betts and Great Southern 

- Gov't Mule (Warren Hayes and Allen Woody)

- Jaimoe's Jassz Band

- Oteil & the Peacemakers

- Sea Level (Chuck Leavill)

- The Second Coming  (Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley)

- Spyro Gyra

- Surrender To the Air

- The Toler Brothers

- Toler Townsend Band

- Vida Blue





Genre: Southern rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Allman Brothers Band

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-308

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 773

Price:  $20.00


Released in 1969, "The Allman Brothers Band" is nothing short of a classic blues-rock album.   Produced by Adrian Barber, the album's got it all.  Gregg's instantly recognizable blues voice; Duane Allman and Dickey Betts twin lead Gibsons; one of rock's all time great rhythm sections in the form of bassist Berry Oakley and a twin drumming line-up in the form of  Jai Jai Johanson and Butch Trucks that actually worked.  Add to that a great line-up of blues-rock classics (only one performance 'Dreams' clocking in over seven minutes).  The funny thing is today the album seems widely overlooked in favor of "At Fillmore East", "Eat a Peach", or even "Brothers and Sisters".   I'm not saying there's anything wrong with those other albums, but if you want to hear a truly blazing set of ground breaking, blues influenced Southern rock, then this is the album to start with.   As alluded to, on the debut the band remained focused on song structure.  While I don't mind an occasional extended jam, you certainly won't find a twenty-three minute 'Whipping Post.'  As much as I like that song, the absence of a sidelong track is a good thing in my book.  The original 'Whipping Post' studio version clocked in at just over five minutes and is all the better for it's relative brevity.   Simply a great album from start to finish with virtually every one of the seven songs destined to become a genre classic.  In fact, most of these songs remain perennials in the band's current live concert set.    


Maybe it's just a reflection of my age, but I've always found it funny to hear folks hold the album in such high esteem, only to discover they know next to nothing about it.   Actually heard such a conversation right before Christmas.  I was in a music store and three college kids were pawing through the bins.  One of them pulled a copy of the album out and was going on about how his grandfather had a copy (ouch, made me feel really old) and they were one of these best bands to ever come out of Texas.  For goodness sakes ....  The other  problem is that judging by the rest of his commentary, he was actually talking about "Eat a Peach."  Well at least they weren't looking at a rap album.   Anyhow, today the album is widely recognized as a classic release, but back in 1969, it was a poor seller, peaking at # 188 on the US charts


"The Allman Brothers Band" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Don't Want You No More (instrumental) (Spencer Davis - Edward Hardin) - 2:25  rating: **** stars

Guitarist Betts and Oakley were apparently responsible for this interesting choice - one of the first songs the band ever recorded.  Why would a Southern band record a Spencer Davis instrumental ?   Turns out the song had been part of Betts and Oakley's live repertoire while members of The Second Coming.   If you're my age (getting close to social security), their instrumental cover of the Spencer Davis Group's 'Don't Want You No More' was simply a classic tune.   It just screams early-'70s to my ears. 

2.) It's Not My Cross To Bear (Gregg Allman) - 5:02  rating: **** stars

Reportedly inspired by a former girlfriend (aren't all good blues numbers ?), musically 'It's No My Cross To Bear' was a conventional blues number, but hearing Gregg's growling delivery remains a treat after all these years.   You simply had to wonder how was it possible for a skinny, young white guy like Allman to sound so authentic ?   For the hardcore fan out there, you'll want to score a copy of the original ATCO album.  Why you ask ?   Because on the original album this song fades out and then fades back in before coming to a close.   On subsequent releases the track ended at the original fade out.  

3.) Black Hearted Woman (Gregg Allman) - 5:08  rating: **** stars

Blues for people who don't really like the idiom ...   'Black Hearted Woman' had so much going for it ...  Killer tune; Gregg's searing vocal, and those wonderful guitars, though I think Dickey Betts played most of the stuff on this one.    Who cares since it's a classic Allman Brothers tune.   It was also tapped as their first single:  

- 1969's 'Black Hearted Woman' b/w 'Every Hungry Woman (Capricorn 45-8003)    

4.) Trouble No More  (McKinley Morganfield) - 3:45  rating: **** stars

Wonder how many folks know this was actually a Sleepy John Estes ('Someday Baby Blues'), via Muddy Waters cover ?    Doesn't matter since their cover is stunning and virtually impossible to sit still through.   Wonder how many English blues-band simply threw in the towel after hearing this one ?  


(side 2)
1.) Every Hungry Woman (Gregg Allman) - 4:19
  rating: **** stars

One of my favorite performances on the album, Gregg's 'Every Hungry Woman' managed to effortless meld a bluesy feel with a rock baseline and a surprising jazzy sensibility.   Probably doesn't sound all that promising, but every second of the song (particularly the Duane and Dickey Betts twin lead runs)  was wonderful  

2.) Dreams (Gregg Allman) - 7:18  rating: **** stars

One of the older songs in their repertoire, Gregg apparently wrote 'Dreams' back in his Hourglass days and somewhat reluctantly auditioned it to the rest of the band. One of the first tracks the band recorded, it's a classic Allman tale of sorrow, featuring some classic Duane bottleneck.  I know, I've used the adjective classic way to many times here, but what else can you use to describe 'Dreams' ? 

3.) Whipping Post (Gregg Allman) - 5:17  rating: ***** stars

Allman's always claimed the song came to him in a flash which makes sense given how amazing the track is.   From Oakley's stunning bass opening, through Gregg's impassioned performance (he's seldom sung anything with as much pain), to Duane and Dickey's twin leads ...   seriously five star territory here.   Yeah, the extended in-concert versions are more popular, but I'd actually give the nod to the original studio version.    Clocking in at just over five minutes, it gets the point across without bludgeoning it to death.





Genre: Southern rock

Rating: 5 stars *****

Title:  Idlewood South

Company: ATCO/Capricorn

Catalog: SD 33-342

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price:  $20.00


Largely produced by Tom Dowd and named after the Macon, Georgia farmhouse that served as their rehearsal space and  base of operations, "Idlewood South" was their second studio set.  Reflecting material that had been "road tested' over some 300 dates throughout the past year, it's simply a classic Allman Brothers' collection.  Recording over nearly half a year, recording sessions were slotted in between touring commitments.  Sessions started at Capricorn Sound Studios, but produce Dowd was unhappy with the newly refurbished studio.  The next sessions took place in Miami's Criteria Studios and finally on to Atlantic's New York Regent Sound Studios.  Unlike so many albums that are pieced together with lots of support from sessions players, most of the album was recorded with the full band present and collaborating in the studio.  The results would then be taken on the road to see how the track stood up in a concert arena. Fans will argue some to the later live versions are superior, but I'll stick with the tighter, shorter studio originals.  At this point there isn't much you can write about an album that routine makes "best album" lists.  For goodness sakes, music curmudgeon Robert Christgau even gave the album a B+ rating.  And while I'm not a hardcore Allman Brothers fan, I have to admit that on a song-for-song basis, 1970's "Idlewood South" is my favorite studio album in their catalog.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Revival', the bluesy 'Don't Keep Me Wonderin'' and 'In Memory of Elizabeth Reed' it's certainly the most commercial to my ears.  It's an album I've had in my collection since high school (Brussels American High School, class of 1977 - go Brigands).  It's an album that I've listened to hundreds of times.  It's an album that still brings me joy. As such, I suspect organization expert Marie Kondo would even agree this one's a keeper.  


"Idlewood South" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Revival (Dickey Betts) - 4:04 rating: ***** stars

Start taking about The Allman Brothers and most of the time the discussion revolves around Duane and Greg.  Mention Dickey Betts and you get a shrug.  Anyone doubting Betts' importance to the band need only listen to 'Revival.'  The first song Betts had placed on an Allman Brothers' album, the tune was original envisioned as an instrumental, Betts coming up with the lyrics as he refined the melody.  One of the things that's always amazed me about the tune; whereas most love-and-peace lyrics haven't aged all that well (think The Youngbloods' 'Come Together', or Scott McKenzie's 'San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)'), 'Revival' has stood the test of time. Starting off with a jazzy vibe, the interplay between Betts on electric guitar and Duane Allman on acoustic is mesmerizing and instantly recognizable.  And then about ninety seconds into the song it makes a magical transition with Greg's growling vocals turning it into one of their catchiest and most uplifting performances.  The sweet, Gospel-touched harmony vocals are merely icing on the cake.  One of the few songs out there that deserved to have had a longer running time.  An edited version of the song was tapped as the album's lead-off single.  Interestingly, the single carried a slightly modified title - 'Revival (Love Is Everywhere)':

- 1970's 'Revival (Love Is Everywhere)' b/w 'Leave' (Capricorn catalog number 45-8011) #92 pop

2.) Don't Keep Me Wonderin' (Greg Allman) - 3:40  rating: ***** stars

Blues isn't one of my favorite genres, but I'll make an exception for Greg's blazing 'Don't Keep Me Wonderin'.'   Gregg seldom sounded as passionate and yet the star of this one was the interplay between Duane's stunning slide guitar and Betts.  Guest Thom Doucette provides harmonica for people who don't like harmonica.  The sound quality is poor (particularly Greg who sounds like he was sitting a state over, but YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song during for a September, 1970 appearance at Bill Graham's Fillmore East:  One of several songs the performed (see below), the concert was for a PBS television special: The Allman Brothers Band - Don't Keep Me Wonderin' - 9/23/1970 - Fillmore East (Official) (

3.) Midnight Rider (Greg Allman) - 3:00 rating: ***** stars

One of rock's best "man-on-the-run" songs ...  Perhaps urban legend, but the bulk of the song came to Allman quickly, but he ran into writer's block before he could finish it and got an un-credited assist finishing it from band roadie Robert Payne.  The pair then broke a window in order to get into Capricorn Studios to record a demo of the tune.  (Payne was later given 5% of the song's future royalties - I suspect he was able to live comfortably thereafter.)  Duane on acoustic guitar; Betts on electric ...Released as the album's second single, the 45 flopped.  Ironically in 1973 Allman re-recorded the song for his "Laid Back" album.  He added horns to the arrangement and released it as a solo single, enjoying a top-20 US hit. 

- 1970's 'Midnight Rider' b/w 'Whipping Post' (Capricorn catalog number 45-8014)   There's no Duane, it's a bit ragged and was shot in black and white, but YouTube has a September, 1973 performance of the song at The Grand Opera House: The Allman Brothers Band - Midnight Rider - 9/10/1973 - Grand Opera House (Official) (

4.) In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (instrumental) (Dickey Betts) - 6:54 rating: ***** stars

'In Memory of Elizabeth Reed' is one of my earliest rock memories.  As a child I listened to a lot of Armed Forces Network radio and there was a Sunday evening program that featured the song as their theme.  Even though it wasn't the top-40 pop, or Motown stuff that I loved, there was something mesmerizing about this tune that's stuck with me throughout my life.  Bett's multiple solos wee melodic.  Duane's were equally impressive and as band they never sounded as tight. Bett's inspiration for the jazzy instrumental was reportedly a woman he'd taken an interest in, but who was seeing another musician (supposedly Boz Scaggs).  Wanting to hide her identify, he came up with the song title after seeing a headstone for Elizabeth Jones Reed Napier in the Macon, Georgia Rose Hill Cemetery. So you might be asking "What was Betts doing in a cemetery?"  For whatever reason band members found the cemetery to be a quiet place to relax, enjoy various recreational practices and write material.  Hardcore fans point to the 12+ minute version on "Live At Fillmore East" as the classic version.  Clocking in at seven minutes,  I'll tell you the concise, original studio rendition is the one to go with.  YouTube has a mesmerizing live performance of the song filmed at the Fillmore East for a September 1970 PBS special: The Allman Brothers "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" 1970 HQ (


(side 2)
1.) Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 4:54 rating: **** stars

The lone cover, Allman and Berry Oakley had performed this Willie Dixon tune as part of their repertoire in The Second Coming.  Oakley's bass line was one of the first to climb in my head and stick ...  His only recorded vocal on an Allman Brothers album, I've always been surprised at how good Oakley's voice was.  Oakley could certainly give Greg a run for his money.

2.) Please Call Home (Greg Altman) - 4:00  rating: *** stars

Allman's voice can irritate me, but he seldom sounded as good as on the bluesy ballad 'Please Call Home.'  Ah, the pain of heartbreak.  One of the final tracks recorded for the album, the track was produced by noted jazz producer Joel Dorn.  Dorn was called in when Dowd was unavailable for a planned recording session.  Hard to believe the band cut the song in two takes.

3.) Leave My Blues At Home (Gregg Allman) - 4:15 rating: **** stars

Closing the album 'Leave My Blues At Home' had a very different feel from the rest of the album ...  The Allman's get funky until they discover a jazzy interlude !!!  For many years I thought this one was the album's fill-out-the-grooves throwaway.  Now it's one of my favorite performances with a killer Oakley bass line and some devastating end-of-song Duane and Dickey guitar theatrics.





Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Eat a Peach

Company: Capricorn

Catalog: 2CP0102

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve; includes insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 271

Price:  $20.00


Best time to play:  road trip !!!


The first double album I ever bought and I'll admit that the title and cover art played a big role in the purchase.  Yes I knew who they Allman Brothers were, but I wasn't a gigantic blues-rock fan.  On the other hand, I knew 'Melissa' and 'Blue Sky' were on this album and that was enough to warrant the investment of my limited funds.  


The album's tortured history is well documented and that background makes it an even more impressive package.  I'm hard pressed to think of another band that in the wake of a massive loss like Duane Allman's death, couldn't have found the inner strength and courage to pick up the pieces of their personal and professional lives to complete an album.  The success of their prior album must have added even more pressure to the situation.  As it was, the band's sense of loss was palpable throughout the grooves and it resulted in some of their finest work - 'Ain't Waistin' Time No More', 'Melissa', 'Trouble No More', and 'Blue Sky' are all classic Allman tunes.  That's not to say "Eat a Peach" was perfect.  I'm not sure why they felt the need to released a double album set, but devoting over thirty minutes to 'Mountain Jam' may have underscored their jam band credentials and given each member an opportunity to showcased their technical skills, but thirty minutes split over two sides made for a long song and at last to my ears, not even Duane and Dicky Betts twin lead guitars could salvage the results.

"Eat a Peach" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't Waistin' Time No More   (Gregg Allman) - 3:40   rating: **** stars

Clearly a reaction to Duane Allman's death, 'Ain't Waistin' Time No More' Gregg supposedly borrowed the basic melody from some notes Dicky Betts played during the extended live version of 'Whipping Post'.   I've listened to the songs dozens of times and never spotted the relationship, but who knows.  Regardless, to my ears the song stands as one of the best things Gregg Allman's ever written.  Yeah, it's a blues song, but with a cutting rock edge and some of the best lead and slide guitar Dicky Betts ever laid down on tape (yes lots of folks think it's Duane - it's Betts).

2.) Les Briers In a Minor (instrumental)   (Dicky Betts) - 9:05   rating: **** stars

Written by and showcased Dicky Betts, 'Les Briers In a Minor' was another song recorded in the wake of Duane's death.  The band struggled with the track; urban legend says they recorded nearly 30 takes, before deciding to use one of the first takes.  The first three and a half minutes have always sounded like an extended warm up session ...   and just when you'd basically given up on the song ever finding a focus - darn if it didn't become a killer jam tune.  Besides Betts, the big surprise on this one was bassist Berry Oakley who turned in an inspired performance.   

3.) Melissa   (Gregg Allman - Steve Alaimo) - 3:05   rating: ***** stars

Gregg began writing what would become 'Melissa' back in 1967 and a rough version of the song was recorded the following year while recording with the Florida based band The 31st of February.  Duane felt the song was incomplete but hit writers block and the song sat unfinished for the next four years.   Supposedly one of Duane's favorite tunes, Gregg finished the song shortly after his death and in time to record it for "Eat a Peach".  The song was supposedly the first track the band recorded when they regrouped in the studio.  History aside, there simply isn't much you can say about 'Melissa' other than it's a rock classic.   Bett's seemed to echo Duane's playing style on the song.   One of the song's I'll ask folks to play at my wake.  


(side 2)
1.) Mountain Jam   (Donovan Leitch - Gregg Allman - Duane Allman - Dick Betts -
Jai Jai Johanson) - 19:37   rating: **** stars

The song was based on Donovan's 'First There Is a Mountain'  (hence Donovan was given a writing credit), but given the full Allman Brother jam treatment which saw it stretched out over two full sides (side two and four of the original vinyl).  For anyone other than the true devoted hardcore, the 33 minutes plus 'Mountain Jam' was probably going to be too much of a good thing ...   The song actually recorded at the same performance as their "Fillmore East" album (March 1971), but wasn't included on the earlier album due to the song's sheer length.  It's a great example of Allman and Betts interlaced twin lead guitars and it has a truly amazing Johnason and Trucks drum solo.    


(side 3)
1.) One Way Out    (Marshal Sehorn - Willie Sonny Boy Williamson) - 4:58   rating: **** stars

Remember how Aretha Franklin made Otis Redding's 'Respect' her song ?   Well, The Allman Brothers did the same thing to Sonny Boy Williamson's 'One Way Out'.  Another Fillmore East carryover, their live version was simply crushing, serving as a classic example of Duane's bottleneck slide guitar prowess.   If you listen closely you can hear Oakley flub the bass line about 30 seconds into the song.   

2.) Trouble No More   (McKinley Morganfield) - 3:28   rating: **** stars

Just like they appropriated 'One Way Out', they did the same thing with this blues classic - if you're a certain age (say in your late-40s/early-50s), this is the classic cover of 'Trouble No More'.  Gregg seldom sounded as good and Duane and Dicky simply tore the song up.   

3.) Stand Back   (Gregg Allman - Barry Oakley) - 3:25   rating: ***** stars

Gregg and Duane 'owned' the band, but 'Blue Sky' shows you what a key ingredient Betts was to the band's success.  Written and sung by Betts (the track was apparently inspired by a girlfriend), its simply one of the best songs in their extensive repertoire. this was the easy-going, highly commercial side of the band for folks who were particularly attuned to 30 minute  blues jams.  The Duane-Betts bridge section is simply breath-taking.  To this day I get chills every time I hear it.    

4.) Blue Sky   (Dicky Betts) - 5:10   rating: **** stars

Co-written by bassist Barry Oakley and Gregg and the last track recorded with Duane, 'Stand Back' was the album's overlooked gem.  A short, sweet, and slinky rocker that showcased Duane's instantly recognizable slide guitar,  this one would have made a killer single.    

5.) Little Martha (instrumental)   (Duane Allman) - 2:08   rating: **** stars

If you believe the story, Duane had a dream where Jimi Hendrix showed him how to play what became the instrumental 'Little Martha'.  The title was apparently a dedication to girlfriend Dixie Lee Meadows.   Musically it's a beautiful acoustic piece - just Duane and Dicky on guitar.  Talk about a primer for students.  


(side 4)
1.) Mountain Jam Cont'd   (Donovan Leitch - Gregg Allman - Duane Allman - Dick Betts -
Jai Jai Johanson) - 15:06  rating: *** stars

And if you didn't get enough of 'Mountain Jam' on side two, there was always another 15 minutes of it on side four.


 album inner sleeve: F. Holmes and D. Powell


Capricorn tapped the album for three singles:



- 1972's 'Ain't Wastin' Time No More' b/w '' (Capricorn catalog  number CPR-0003)  # 77 pop

- 1972's 'Melissa' b/w 'Blue Sky' (Capricorn catalog  number CPR 0007)  # 86 pop

- 1972's 'One Way Out' b/w 'Standback' (Capricorn catalog  number 0014 )  # 86 pop


Flaws and all, its still a classic album that most people should have in their collection.








Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Brothers and Sisters

Company: Capricorn

Catalog: CP0111

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1093

Price:  $20.00


Because it was my initial introduction to the Allman Brothers, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for  "Brothers and Sisters".   So here's a band that over a two period lost two  founding members.  The loss of talents like Duane Allman and Barry Oakley would had crippled most bands, but these guys somehow managed to soldier on.  With Oakley dying in a motorcycle accident in the middle of the recording sessions, musically this remianed instantly recognizable as an Allman Brothers product, but the sound reflected some distinctive changes including Betts emergence as the band's creative force.  In addition to penning  four of the seven tracks, he also handled two of the lead vocals.   Elsewhere the album was interesting for the group's decision to forgo a replacement for Duane and a return to a dual lead guitar format in favor of a second keyboardist in the form of Chuck Leavell.  While the first three tunes ('Wasted Words', 'Ramblin Man', and 'Southbound') featured Oakley on bass, the album's remaining four tracks showcased replacement Lamar Williams.  The end result was a leaner, slightly more country-tinged feel when compared to the earlier releases.  Not everyone approved, but regardless of how you felt, you had to admire the band's durability.   Most folks point to 'Ramblin Man' and the instrumental  'Jessica' as the album highlights.  I'd concur, but would add Gregg Allman's 'Come and Go Blues' and  'Southbound' to the list of standout performances.


"Brothers and Sisters" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wasted Words   (Gregg Allman) - 4:19

I've always found it interesting that in the wake of Duane Allman's death Dickey Betts wasn't keen to play electric slide guitar.  Luckily he put that reluctance aside for this blazing rocker.  For his part, Gregg sounded wonderful on this one.    For hardcore fans, it was also one of the last tunes to feature bassist Barry Oakley.     rating: **** stars

2.) Rambling Man   (Richard Betts) - 4:26

Easily one of the best things Betts ever wrote.  Given it was their biggest commercial hit, there's a certain irony in the fact the band was reluctant to record the tune, let alone release it as a single.    rating: **** stars

3.) Come and Go Blues   (Gregg Allman) - 4:52

For an album that supposedly showcased Betts as the band's creative lead, I've always been surprised by how good Allman's contributions were - among the highlights, the breezy and instantly enamoring 'Come and Go Blues'.   Yeah, Bett's turned in some of his most tuneful work on this one, but special kudos went to Chuck Leavell for his keyboard contributions.   rating: **** stars

4.) Jelly Jelly  (Trade Martin) - 5:47

The album's first disappointment, 'Jelly Jelly' was a standard blues number.   Allman's vocal was nice enough, but other than nice solos from Allman (organ), Leavell (piano) and Betts, the song was predictable and about two minutes too long.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)

1.) Southbound   (Richard Betts) - 5:07

Classic Betts rocker with Allman turning in one of his classic vocals.   Easily one of the band's most recognizable performances.  rating: **** stars

2.) Jessica (instrumental)    (Richard Betts)  - 7:02

A couple of years ago while driving my older son and some of his friends to one of their high school baseball game 'Jessica' came on the classic radio station I was playing.  I was amused to hear one of  the friend recognize the song as the theme song to BBC's 'Top Gear" television show (always wondered how a British car-oriented show came to use the song as their theme).  How the mighty have fallen ...   One of Betts' prettiest compositions, 'Jessica' was supposedly inspired by his then one year old daughter.   Betts also used the song to showcase his affection for noted jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt   Though not credited on the song, guitarist Les Dudek (briefly considered as a replacement for Duane Allman), co-wrote the song with Betts and was featured on acoustic guitar though he got no credits and no share of the resulting income.  Leavell provided the wonderful keyboards.   rating: **** stars

3.) Pony Boy  (Richard Betts) - 5:50

Say what you will about this one, but the combination of Betts' likable voice, killer slide dobro and a rollicking country beat made this one of the album's charmers.  And you didn't think Betts had a lighthearted side ...   rating: **** stars


Capricorn tapped the album for a pair of singles:


- 1973's 'Ramblin Man' b/w 'Pony Boy' (Capricorn catalog number CPR 0027)

- 1974's 'Jessica' b/w 'Come and Go Blues' (Capricorn catalog number CPR 0036)



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Seven Turns

Company: Epic

Catalog: E 46144

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $25.00


It may sound stupid, but I've got a dream list of bands no longer playing that I wish I'd had the opportunity to see.  Prominent on that list is the original Allman Brothers Band line-up ...  obviously not going to happen.    Needless to say, playing with fantasies like that, I'm a big fan with a bunch of Allman Brothers material in my collection.  I guess that makes it kind of odd that this would be the first Allman Brothers Band LP to make it into the BadCatRecords website ...  On the other hand, while it may not be one of the classic Allman Brothers LPs, its certainly the best studio set they've released in the last 20 years !!!


Celebrating the band's 20th anniversary their "Dreams" anthology saw original members Greg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe and Butch Trucks set aside their differences to mount a tour in the summer of 1989.  Adding guitarist Warren Hayes, keyboardist  Johnny Neel and bassist Allen Woody to the line-up, the resulting dates generated enough good will to carry over into the band's first studio set in nearly a decade.  Produced by Tom Dowd, 1990's "Seven Turns" was simply full of surprises.  At least to my ears, one of the biggest surprises was imply how reinvigorated the band sounded. A big part of the result creative success came from the fact Betts and Hayes went a long way to recapturing the band's classic twin lead guitar attack.  The band also benefited from abandoning any interests in trying to cater to popular tastes; instead tracks like 'Lay Down Dirty' and 'Gambler's Roll' returning to their patented blues-rock attack.  Another surprise - while Allman sounded in prime form while handled the majority of lead vocals (his trademarked organ is also largely absent), with the exception of a co-writing credit on the lead-off rocker 'Good Clean Fun', creatively he was largely relegated to the background.  Betts stepped forward as the band's creative mainstay, responsible for the majority of the material and some of the year's best guitar work.


"Seven Turns" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good Clean Run   (Gregg Allman - Dickey Betts - Johnny Neel) - 5:06     rating: **** stars

'Good Clean Fun' opened the album with a blazing blues-rocker.  Allman sounded positively rejuvenated with the rest of the band firing on all cylinders.  The band even did a promo video for the song: 

2.) Let Me Ride   (Dickey Betts) - 4:36   rating: ** stars

With Betts handling lead vocal, 'Let Me Ride' was a perfunctory Southern rocker that sounded more like a 38 Special outtake than an Allman Brothers track.  It was certainly commercial, but that may have been one of the reasons it was off putting.   

3.) Low Down Dirty Mean   (Dickey Betts - Johnny Neel) - 5:29   rating: *** stars

Even though it was a standard blues-rocker, Allman's searing vocals managed to kick 'Low Down Dirty Mean' up a notch and Haynes' slide solo was astounding.     

4.) Shine It On   (Dickey Betts - Warren Hayes) - 4:52    rating: **** stars

Built on an insidiously catchy guitar pattern (and displaying some shimmering harmony vocals), 'Shine It On' was one of the album standouts - a tough rocker that retained a commercial edge, it was literally the kind of song the band had tried so hard to come up with when recording for Clive Davis' Arista Records.     

5.) Loaded Dice   (Dickey Betts - Warren Hayes) - 3:29   rating: *** stars

'Loaded Dice' gave Haynes a shot at lead vocals and he prove more than capable of handling the pressure.  With a deep, growling instrument he may not have been a direct threat to Allman, but he was actually a stronger singer than Betts.  As for the song,, it was a slinky rocker with a sizzling slide solo and a distinctive commercial edge.    


(side 2)
1.) Seven Turns   (Dickey Betts) - 5:03     rating: **** stars

People tend to forget that The Allman Brothers' catalog includes some of rock's prettiest melodies and the title track stands as a wonderful additional to that legacy; as well as offering up one of Betts most impressive performances.   Yeah it was a little strange to hear Betts handling lead vocals with Allman on backing vocals, but the end result was a simply gorgeous country-tinged ballad that I literally could not shake out of my head.    This was another track they filmed a promo video for: 

2.) Gambler's Roll   (Dickey Betts - Johnny Neel) - 6:43    rating: **** stars

A slow blues number like 'Gambler's Roll' was picture perfect for Allman's growling voice ...   A classic Allman Brothers blues-rocker for people who don't like blues-rock.  

3.) True Gravity (instrumental)   (Dickey Betts - Warren Hayes) - 7:57    rating: **** stars

The instrumental 'True Gravity' was one of the songs repeatedly identified as an album highpoint.  Co-written by Betts and Haynes, I'll admit it took me awhile to figure out what all the excitement was about.  To my ears it doesn't come anywhere close to a classic track like 'Melissa', but the mix of jazzy moves and Southern rock energy grew on me after awhile.   

4.) It Ain't Over Yet   (D. Crider - Johnny Neel) - 4:52   rating: *** stars

'It Ain't Over' ended the album was a melodic, mid-tempo number that again managed to showcase the band's commercial edge without selling out.     


A real rarity in that it was a comeback album worth hearing,  I'm still amazed that this collection disappeared with a minimum of attention ...