As any fan knows -- heck, as anyone who's listened to the radio since 1970 knows -- there was much more to the Allman Brothers Band than blues. Blues-rock, however, was a foundation of their music, and that's what you'll hear on this compilation, which is part of the Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues CD series, issued in conjunction with the television documentary series The Blues. As is proper, almost all of this is from the band's early years; all but two of the songs were recorded between September 1969 and June 1971, and none of them postdate 1979. So the accent falls very heavily on their Southern rockified covers of blues songs by Elmore James, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie McTell, and Sonny Boy Williamson, including tunes that were among the group's most popular, among them "Trouble No More," "Statesboro Blues," "One Way Out," "You Don't Love Me," and "Dimples." That means there's no room for the considerable chunk of their repertoire that also mixed in pop, straight-ahead hard rock, jazz, and country, like "Dreams," "Ramblin' Man," "Whipping Post," and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." But if you are in the mood for the blues and the blues only, this is certainly a good (and long, running 74 minutes) sampler of the sounds that made them the most esteemed American blues-rock interpreters.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger