The Allman Brothers Band

A Good Month for the Blues

“One Way Out” Allman Brothers Band

by Kevin Krieger

14 April 2004, The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (PA)
(c) Copyright 2004, The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. All Rights Reserved.

April has been a good month for the blues. Not for having the blues, but for listening to the blues. Three major acts have released blues-tinged efforts with varying degrees of authenticity attached. While both Eric Clapton and Aerosmith have rolled out blues albums, but the first volley belonged to the Allman Brothers Band.

The band’s “One Way Out” is a 2-CD set that centers around two performances from the Allmans’ thirteen-night stand at NYC’s Beacon Theater in 2003. While not 100% grounded in one specific blues flavor, the Allmans continue to mine the same guitar/Hammond organ sound that has permeated the group’s music since the celebrated “Fillmore East” concerts in 1971. And the best news is that the fire and passion hasn’t left the band’s music, even after thirty-plus years.

While Clapton wandered in and out of pop and soundtracking, and Aerosmith was always a rock band with blues preferences, the Allman Brothers stayed the course and added to its legendary performances and road warrior image. Songs like “Whipping Post” and “Dreams’ practically invented the jam band methodology and both are included here in fresh new versions. No longer laid out as 30-minute epics, both songs still manage to reach heights that many young bands can only dream about.

This is practically the same set that rolled over Montage last August and comprises most of the platinum-selling “Live At The Beacon” DVD. Several classic ABB songs like “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” Come And Go Blues,” and “Don’t Keep Me Wondering” have been returned to the set list and are sure to please the ABB faithful.

It is also necessary to mention the incredible fireworks played out by guitarists Warren Haynes (also of Govt. Mule fame) and ABB guitarist Derek Trucks. This duo is easily the hottest pair of string-slingers that have graced the Allmans’ stage since the original Dickey Betts/Duane Allman days. The solos on “Instrumental Illness” and “Desdemona” are simply blistering.

Whether you’re looking for a souvenir from last year’s tour or live material from the strongest album the Brothers have released in years, the “One Way Out” set is another excellent chapter in the road that seems to go on forever. “The Fillmore Concerts” album is still the best representation of the true power of a live Allman Brothers show, but thirty-two years later, “One Way Out” is hot as hell and enjoyable from end to end.

Rating: A

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