Text and photo by Dawoud Kringle
The southern part of the United States gave birth to many rock & roll pioneers such as Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis; all of whom defined rock & roll. When one thinks of Southern Rock, the works of groups such as the Outlaws, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, ZZ Top, Elvin Bishop, 38 Special, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, and others inevitably come to mind. But the genre of Southern Rock owes its existence to the Allman Brothers Band. Since their debut in 1969, the group’s work single handedly defined a distinctively American music.
Their original line up consisted of Duane Allman (guitar), Greg Allman (keyboards), Barry Oakley (bass), Butch Trucks (drums), Jai Johanson (drums), and Dickie Betts (guitar). They gained national notoriety with the 1971 release of their live album At the Fillmore. The album and the live performance it documented became legendary. Their effortless blend of rock, blues, and country with jazz inspired extended improvisation forged the group’s sound and legacy.