The Allman Brothers Band
It's hard to believe now, but in 1969 The Allman Brothers Band were kids, really. But here they play like a seasoned crew, giving their rock and Southern blues an eerie gospel groove and a freeform jazzy feel. And you can hear in their playing the respect they have for all the musicians who'd passed before them. This self-titled debut opens with a rousing version of The Spencer Davis Group instrumental “Don’t Want You Know More” and flows effortlessly into Gregg Allman’s wise-beyond-his-22-years testimonial “It’s Not My Cross to Bear.” They sound like two sides of the same song: not in structure or chord changes, but in some darkly Southern way, like a soundtrack to a William Gay story. The set features future concert staples “Whipping Post” and the beautiful, waltz-timed “Dreams”—two songs that are equal parts tragedy and melancholy and foreshadow the band’s character for years to come. Helmed by Atlantic house producer Adrian Barber (Cream, The Bee Gees), this album introduces the classic and best lineup of The Allman Brothers Band, which here really does sound like a brotherhood. That sound just can’t be faked.