The Birth of Southern Rock

Allman Bros Band 1971
The Allman Bros Band 1971

Southern rock didn’t appear out of nowhere. It was preceded by the “swamp rock” sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival. A “bayou” isn’t exactly a “swamp,” but it’s close enough.

When you say ‘southern rock,’ the first bands most people think of are Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, Marshall Tucker, and ZZ Top. But before any of them, The Allman Brothers Band was the band that first defined southern rock, and introduced it to the world. The “official”  birth of southern rock may have been Jessica or Ramblin’ Man from the Allman’s Brothers and Sisters album. But the true roots of southern rock goes back further, to 1969, to the the band’s self-titled first album, and to Idlewild South.

The Allman Brothers were also the last ones standing at the end. Their final studio album, Hittin’ The Note, was released in 2003, and is a very good album, with all of the ingredients you expect from an Allman Brothers album. Gregg Allman stayed with the band until it played its final concert in 2014.

The most successful bands are the ones that evolve into franchises which live beyond their original members. The Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd are just two examples. Some acts, like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, are conceived as franchises. Now, Gregg Allman’s son Devon and Dickey Betts’ son Duane have revived the Allman Brothers’ legacy.

From the Eventbrite website:

“Sons of Gregg Allman (Devon Allman) and Dickey Betts (Duane Betts) have joined forces to form The Allman Betts Band. They kicked off their World Tour on March 27, 2019 and sold out twelve of their first eighteen shows. The show features new music, songs from their solo projects and classic Allman Brothers and Gregg Allman tunes in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band. Their debut album, released on June 28, 2019, was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley). Former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and current Rolling Stones keyboardist, Chuck Leveall, and former Greg Allman Band Hammond B3 player, Peter Levin, both guested on the record.

The Allman Betts Band includes Devon Allman, Duane Betts, Berry Oakley Jr. (son of original Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley), Johnny Stachela on slide guitar, John Ginty on Hammond B3 (Robert Randolph/Dixie Chicks) and Devon Allman Project percussionists R. Scott Bryan (Sheryl Crow) and John Lum. Additionally, Brotherhood of Light, the “original San Francisco psychedelic show” is providing visuals and lighting for the evening. Brotherhood of Light has worked with The Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin and The Who among others.”

YouTube Links:

The Allman Brothers Band – Don’t Want You No More

The Allman Brothers Band – In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

The Allman Brothers Band – Revival (1970)

From Hittin’ The Note:

The Allman Brothers Band – High Cost of Low Living (2003)