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
Do we really need another live double CD by the Allman Brothers Band? Oh yeah. In fact, when they play this well, we need them in droves. This collection marks the second time the Allman Brothers have issued music from their storied shows at the Beacon Theater in New York. The first, Peakin' at the Beacon, was issued in 2000 with Dickey Betts and Derek Trucks in the lineup. Betts had not yet been fired and Warren Haynes was yet to return to the fold. While Betts is a singular voice and is one of the pillars of the ABB's sound, this new version of the band with Trucks and Haynes manning the guitars has gelled into a formidable unit; in fact, they are something spectacular. Add to the fact that Gregg Allman is singing and playing better than at any time in his life (and Haynes is no slouch either), and you have the best live band in the world, bar none.
They hailed from Macon, Georgia. They looked liked any number of young, hopeful bands straddling the violent fade of the 1960s with the advent of the 1970s. They missed the British Invasion-triggered blues revival by several years. Yet they sounded like no other group, their youthfulness belied by virtuosic abilities and interlocking interplay Miles Davis would've envied. It all starts here, on a smoldering self-titled debut that has few peers.
Having already cut its collective teeth via live shows throughout the South, the Allman Brothers Band was properly vetted for its initial major-label foray. In particular, Gregg and Duane Allman had done stints in several other collectives that recorded a handful of long-forgotten records…