The Allman Brothers Band's first Number One album, 1973's Brothers and Sisters, was a miracle of recovery and reinvention amid grim, enforced change: the deaths, in 1971 and 1972, respectively, of guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley. Guitarist Dickey Betts took a greater leading and writing role, increasing the country light and buoyancy in the Allmans' electric-blues stampede ("Ramblin' Man," "Southbound," "Jessica") as new pianist Chuck Leavell added more barrelhouse and fusion dynamics. The road to that symmetry is caught in this four-CD set by a disc of rehearsals and outtakes that sounds like the work of a more brawny, Southern Grateful Dead, at once winding ("A Minor Jam"), earthy and hurting (Gregg Allman's howling in Ray Charles' "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town"). A complete 1973 concert from San Francisco's Winterland shows the new lineup's confidence and style of ascension (the stately, climbing pathos in the middle of "Whipping Post") at bright, striving length – before the family really fell apart.
From The Archives Issue 1194: October 24, 2013