THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND
TROUBLE NO MORE:
50TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION
UMe (10-LP or 5-CD Box Set)
By Ray Chelstowski
For their 50th anniversary, The Allman Brothers have decided to pull out all of the stops. No stranger to celebrating milestones, the ABB continues to present awe-inspiring collections that marry never heard before material with classics. Moreover, their eye toward building a proper package to house this music has always been razor sharp. In turn with this outing, the extras complement the music in first-rate fashion. 10 LPs reside in five gatefold jackets, nestled within a wood veneer slipcase with gold graphics. There’s even a 56-page book. It’s spectacular in every way.
The collection is chronologically arranged and begins with the band’s original 1969 demo of the Muddy Waters’ song “Trouble No More” – the first song they would ever jam to in the studio together. It closes with a live version of the song from their final show at New York’s Beacon Theatre. These cuts operate as exceptional bookends to a collection of 59 other dynamite tracks.
Here all 13 lineups of the band are represented. What’s most impressive, as it was with last year’s Tom Petty retrospective The Best of Everything, this was a cross label affair. Team Allman was able to get Capricorn, Arista, Epic and the band’s own Peach imprint to work together. This ensured that the collection presented was as powerful as possible. All of the recordings were remastered by Jason Nesmith at Chase Park Transduction in Atlanta and the impact of this revisit comes to life from the moment you drop the needle.
Some standouts include the previously unreleased gems of 2005’s stint at the Beacon. These include a rare version of “Blue Sky” with Gregg Allman on vocals and a dynamic interpretation of Duane Allman’s instrumental “Little Martha” by Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Together these tracks demonstrate the timelessness of the band’s music and the might of their musicianship.
The impact of the package is described best by Allman Brothers Band historian John Lynskey who told Goldmine: “It was a group like no other and this collection is a package worthy of the legacy and magnificence of The Allman Brothers Band.” The 9,000-word essay he contributed to the box set provides an expansive and insightful history of the band from his own front row seat.
This March at Madison Square Garden, billing themselves as “The Brothers” — Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge and Marc Quiñones will be joined by Duane Trucks, Reese Wynans and special guest Chuck Leavell to celebrate this 50th anniversary as a one-time concert event. That evening will bring the exceptional body of work presented in this expansive package to life. When played straight through, this carefully curated package listens like one live show. There’s not a much better way to honor the material than that.
— Ray Chelstowski