Brothers And Sisters

And so the first item to catch my eye was Mobile Fidelity's newly remastered LP pressing of Brothers and Sisters (1973) by The Allman Brothers Band. It also comes as an SACD if you prefer. This is the second time that MoFi, which is now owned by Music Direct, has reissued this album, the first being in 1994 (on CD) and 1995 (LP).

The second album released after the motorcycle accident that killed Duane Allman (1971) and the first after yet another motorcycle accident—three blocks from where Duane died—killed bassist Berry Oakley (1972), B&S became the Brothers biggest seller and contains their biggest single, “Ramblin’ Man.” I’ve always felt that this is an album in a category of one. It’s the last to benefit from the spirits of Duane and Berry Oakley who still hover over the proceedings, and also the last to still exude some of the brotherhood the band exhibited when those two were alive. It’s the sound of the Allman’s before the air came out of the balloon. It’s the final great studio record by what remained of the original band plus Chuck Leavell (keys) and Lamar Williams (bass), and it’s the sound of a band struggling mightily to find a new leader and new material that’s as compelling as the classics from The Allman Brothers Band, Idlewild South, At The Fillmore East and Eat A Peach. The jam, “Southbound” is among their very best. “Ramblin’ Man” is a catchy single. And “Jessica,” played by sideman Led Dudek, has launched a thousand air guitar solos.

After Brothers and Sisters the band spun off into an endless round of arena and stadium concerts—rooms like The Fillmore weren’t big enough anymore—which commoditized and wore them out. Their next record, Win, Lose or Draw was a disappointing flop. And while they’ve still had their moments, mostly at the Beacon Theatre in NYC, B&S is the Allmans with the last glints of Duane’s sparkle.

Compared to an original Capricorn LP issue, this new pressing is more spacious and has impressive richness and clarity. And is always the case with the Music Direct version of MoFi, the packaging and the poly sleeve are first rate. Finally, to answer the most asked question about this record: the little boy on the cover is drummer Butch Trucks son Vaylor, while Berry Oakley’s daughter Brittany graces the back cover.

otaku's picture

We had a listening room at school (turntables, Koss Pro4 AA's), and this was on 24/7 for four years.

John Atkinson's picture
I always thought it was Dickey Betts, who wrote the song, who played the electric guitar solos on "Jessica, with Les Dudek playing acoustic guitar.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

audiocaptain's picture

I traveled many times to the farm in Georgia to commune with the brothers and everything else in the universe. The really good old days, maybe it's better left alone.

zansky32's picture

Yo RB,
Great to hear, see your stuff.
Email me your phone:
Looking forward,