the allman brothers band -- 9/29/23

Today's selection -- from One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul. In the 1960s, a group of young musicians in Jacksonville, Florida, started hanging out and playing together. They would soon form what they named the Allman Brothers Band. The magnetic presence that attracted them all was Duane Allman, who, to their surprise, had incredible talent, no ego, and praise for everyone who came to jam with them.

“DICKEY BETTS: It was fun and exciting, and the band just sort of happened. It was supposed to be a three-piece with Duane, Berry, and Jaimoe. Duane had no idea that he would end up with this very different thing, but he was open to seeing what happened. I was playing with Berry, and Duane and Jaimoe kept coming and sitting in with us and exciting stuff started happening really quickly and naturally. We all felt like we had discovered the very thing that we'd been looking for, even if we didn't know it beforehand. We all knew that something very, very good was happening.

“REESE WYNANS, Second Coming keyboardist: I had never heard anything like Duane Allman and his slide guitar. He played it like a violin or saxophone. It was just the weirdest instrument and most unbelievable sound and his phrasing was impeccable and his ideas were over the top. When he sat in with us it lifted the whole thing up and I had an immediate, extremely positive reaction, as did everyone else. 

“JAIMOE: He was always on and up and pulling everyone along.

The Allman Brothers Band, March 1971. From left to right: Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Jaimoe Johanson, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks.

“WYNANS: Sometimes when someone comes and sits in and they're hot shit, they get an attitude. Duane didn't have any of that; there was none of that diva attitude. He was one of us immediately. It became obvious in the jam sessions that something special was going on. We would play for hours and it was incredible. He was a really positive guy--outgoing, giving, and always handing out a lot of really positive thoughts and comments. Just hanging around him was exciting.

“HALL: Duane always was an upper. He never had anything but praise for everybody. He was totally confident, but he also always had that little boy, down-home modesty about him. He was a good, good guy, which is why in time the musicians down here all fell in love with him, despite being leery at first.

“HAMMOND: Duane was a phenomenal player, but the opposite of a headcutter. He wanted to include everyone and make him sound better. He had supreme confidence but he loved the music more than anything and was not on any kind of ego trip.

“THOM DOUCETTE, harmonica player, Duane confidant, and unofficial member of the ABB: Duane had his arms wide open, and he was so f**king magnetic. This was a connected guy--connected to the higher order of the world. Just incredibly tuned in, and with absolute self-confidence but no ego. None. It was never about ‘me.’ That combination of total self-confidence and lack of ego with that kind of talent and fire is unheard of."



Alan Paul


One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band


St. Martin's Griffin


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