Musical siblings Duane and Gregg Allman spent their formative years numerous bands before striking gold with The Allman Brothers. Yet a 1968 demo session recorded with Miami rock band The 31st Of February captures the young band in formation. Because of contractual issues with their former record label, the material was shelved, but was subsequently released as Duane & Greg Allman (sic) in 1972, thanks to the international success of Eat A Peach and the untimely death of Duane.
It’s clear from listening to Duane & Gregg that the elements were in place for what was to come next. Indeed, at times the album truly sounds like an Allman Brothers album. While a rough, early version of Eat A Peach hit “Melissa” may be a key selling point, the rest of the album has plenty to offer. A rousing take on the now-standard “Morning Dew” kicks off the album, followed by Gregg’s moving tribute to Martin Luther King, “God Rest His Soul”. Furthermore, “Well I Know Her Too Well” would have made it a fine Allman Brothers tune. Same with the mellow rocker “In The Morning When I’m Real,” as exciting as watching a Sunday morning sunrise. Also worthy is a take on the blues standard “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out,” which Duane would shortly revisit with one-off supergroup Derek & The Dominoes.
These sessions capture the magic around the Allman brothers. They would soon form their own band, bringing along drummer Butch Trucks from these sessions. And while Duane & Gregg may well have been a cash-in on the sudden success of the Allman Brothers, ultimately that doesn’t matter. It’s a formative snapshot of a fantastic band in the process of being born.
Purchase Duane & Gregg Allman Duane & Gregg: The Allman Brothers Band Recording Co.