The Allman Brothers Band - Brothers and Sisters: deluxe edition
Probably the American southern rock group of the early 70s (sorry Lynyrd fans) The Allman Brothers Band released their defining album (sorry At Fillmore East) in 1973. Brothers and Sisters was their first full album without leader and founder Duane Allman following his tragic death in 1971 but it would turn out to be their greatest commercial success.Stacked with amazing guitar and piano solos, and more bluesy than you might remember, this is the sound of a band fighting back from the brink (bassist Berry Oakley also died during the making of the album). From rock opener 'Wasted Words', to the soaring 'Come And Go Blues' and 'Jelly Jelly', the seven minute-plus instrumental brilliance of 'Jessica' and their only bonafide hit single, the country-riffic 'Ramblin' Man', this is show-stopping stuff. New to the Allman Brothers sound was Chuck Leavell on piano, which is used here as a lead instrument, playing off against the guitar of Richard 'Dickey' Betts, and highlighted particularly on the country-blues tracks. It's an addition that replaces their trademark dueling guitars, but they were no lesser an act as a result. So the album itself is great, but you knew that already, right? This fresh remaster is good, with the vocals, guitar and piano high in the mix. Reason enough to replace your current CD then. But it's really the additional discs here (two or four disc versions are available) that make this an essential purchase. The second disc is the standard - for these special editions - previously unreleased material, and the obligatory newly discovered tune, 'A Minor Jam'. Obviously, it isn't minor; what it is is a 16 minute studio jam where you can hear the formative steps of the piano/guitar interplay that are key to the new direction.The third and fourth discs are devoted to a live performance recorded just a month after the album release at Winterland in San Francisco. The quality of recording is excellent considering the gig was 40 years ago. Sometimes they're the best blues band around ('Stormy Monday'), other times the best country-rock band (an extended 'Ramblin' Man'), and always awesome. Containing 17 songs these two live discs cover the Allman catalogue up to that point, including early live performances of the new tracks ('Southbound', 'Jessica', etc) and a 25 minute 'Les Brers In A Minor'. For the casual fan the two disc deluxe version might suffice, but the four disc super deluxe version is as close as you get to a must buy. A really top package overall: a timeless rock classic remastered and a live performance from a band at the top of its game. It doesn't get better than that.