This four-CD celebration offers an incredibly comprehensive look at the Allman Brothers, adding early demos, rare live recordings, alternate takes, outtakes, remixes, and solo efforts to the already powerful "official" catalog. Their progression from '60s Invasion-style rockers to blues cover band with a taste for B.B. King to dynamic rock & roll juggernaut is astonishing, and the inclusion of sundry oddities will make collectors happy. The booklet is thorough and lovingly produced.~Marc Greilsamer
Spanning four discs and nearly 100 tracks, Dreams is one of those rare box sets that tells a story while delivering the definitive word on its subject. Its success has a lot to do with its status as Polygram/Bill Levinson's sequel to the acclaimed hit Crossroads, which summarized Eric Clapton's winding career perfectly. They follow the same approach here, gathering pre-Allman's recordings from the clan, including cuts by the Allman Joys, selecting the hits from the classic years, and adding stray cuts by solo projects to the mix. It's a smart move and it results in a terrific box that truly offers the definitive word on one of the longest-running dramas in Southern rock. Yes, the Allmans reunited rather successfully after this box, so none of that material is here, but it's not missed – this is the story of the band. AMG
It takes an aircraft-carrier of a release such as Live at the Beacon Theatre to remind us just how unique the Allman Brothers Band always was and still is. Traditionally a byword for down-home R&B/country blues-rock, the reality is that the band's gigantic sound is almost a musical form in itself. Make no mistake, the Allmans are still making big music, now with a two-guitar front line as well as their trademark two-drummer rhythm section (augmented these days with an additional percussionist), plus Gregg Allman's Hammond cutting through all of this like a serrated knife.
2016 live archive release from the southern rockers. Live From A&R Studios: New York, August 26, 1971 was initially a radio broadcast that originally aired on WPLJ. This set features the band steamrolling through a set of songs including "Statesboro Blues, " "Trouble No More, " "One Way Out, " "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Hot 'lanta." The recording was widely bootlegged, but has been remixed from the original multi-track recording. The quality, dynamic performance and ambience encompassed herein all at once make for a quite staggering sonic experience, one that fans of this legendary act in it's original line-up will relish alongside the groups other essential releases.
This might be the best debut album ever delivered by an American blues band, a bold, powerful, hard-edged, soulful essay in electric blues with a native Southern ambience. Some lingering elements of the psychedelic era then drawing to a close can be found in "Dreams," along with the template for the group's on-stage workouts with "Whipping Post," and a solid cover of Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More." There isn't a bad song here, and only the fact that the group did even better the next time out keeps this from getting the highest possible rating.