A Decade Of Hits (The Allman Brothers Band) – Compilation Album

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on August 8, 2009

This Is The Original CD Cover. A Re-release Saw The Light In The Year 2000, And It Features A More Informative Booklet. The White Lettering Is Different.

This Is The Original CD Cover. A Re-release Saw The Light In The Year 2000, And It Features A More Informative Booklet. The White Lettering Is Different.

As you know by now, I am very attached to country music. It is probably my favorite American genre. It was only natural that I would start exploring Southern rock in due time, and that is exactly what has happened. Over the last week I purchased both a ZZ Top “best of” album and an Allman Brothers’ compilation, as well as locating a Lynyrd Skynyrd anthology that I will get my hands on soon.

While I enjoyed the ZZ Top album (and far more than I would have expected, to be frank), the one I came back to the most often this week was the Allman Brothers’ compilation. As its title implies, it collects their salient recordings during a whole decade, (1969 – 1979). Four studio albums and one live recording are covered here.

I have to tell you something. I have two big pet hates when it comes to music. They are: A) Instrumental tracks, and B) The blues. I could never get around either, no matter how much I tried. Now, this compilation features a hefty dose of either. And I never listened to instrumentals and blues numbers this enthusiastically. I am either opening up as I grow older, or these guys are really, really good. And, you know, I think I know where my money is.

And when it came to genres I am more familiar with, I was ecstatic. The most obvious example must be track number two, “Rambling Man”. The country inflections can’t but have any adept to the genre glued to the speakers. I am also very keen on the songs “Crazy Love”, “Melissa” and “Wasted Words”. But the whole album is a cohesive statement, from the opening blues cover to the last bars of “Whipping Post”.

I also feel I must include a paragraph about Duane Allman. As you know, he died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, and it would sadly be the first of many tragedies that would befall the band. He has one of the most distinctive styles I have heard. In the same way that one realizes that a Who album features Keith Moon the moment the first drum is hit, one is aware Duane is taking care of guitar duties the moment the first notes are sent out. And having “Statesboro Blues” as the first track certainly was a wise move, as he is mesmerizing all through the performance (recorded at the Fillmore auditorium, and released just two weeks before the accident that ended his life).

It is easy to figure the reason why this band is so enormously important in the States. They melded a lot of influences and styles together, and created something which was exponentially better. I wouldn’t call what they did a mere sum of parts, but rather an addition of voices that created a true set of musical ideals. Americans can relate to these naturally, and people in other countries (like me) can also do so because the music is so genuine and enjoyable that these guys are invariably approachable, and enlightening about a whole country and the way music is felt there.

Summing up, a very accurate introduction to a band representative not just of a musical style but of a whole nation. There are endless compilations and even boxed sets, but I can tell you this particular one works more than satisfactorily enough. It did for me, and if you take into account about half of the CD includes styles that I traditionally do not like then we will all agree that is saying a lot.

Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes

Do I feel like digging deeper into their catalog after listening to it: Yes

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