The fifth album from the definitive Country Rock band The Allman Brothers Band released in August 1973, Brothers and Sisters, would find the band coming fresh off their breakthrough successes At Fillmore East and Eat a Peach. It’s also an album created from the ashes of tragedy, being the first full album recorded by the band without founder, leader, and brother (to Greg Allman) Duane Allman, who tragically died in a motorcycle accident just as At Fillmore East was heating up the charts. The Brothers and Sisters sessions would also see their own tragedy, as bassist Berry Oakley would also die in a motorcycle accident during in midst of the recording sessions, having to be replaced by Lamar Williams.
Despite these devastating setbacks, the band soldiered on, and, with guitarist Dicky Betts becoming evermore confident in his new role as band leader and sole lead guitarist, Brothers and Sisters would go on to become the Allman’s most successful album to that point. It would spawn the hits “Ramblin’ Man”, an upbeat country tune with a twin guitar assault reminiscent of the old Duane-era recordings, with Betts singing lead, and “Jessica” an instrumental dedicated to Betts’ daughter.
Other outstanding numbers from the album include Greg Allman’s almost funky opener “Waste Words” the bluesy Trade Martin cover “Jelly Jelly”, and the dreamy “Come and Go Blues” penned by Greg Allman.
This 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition also gives us additional “albums” in a second album of previously unreleased jams, rehearsals and outtakes, that gives wonderful insight into how a lot of the songs from this album came together, and given how the Allman’s have always been known as a much better live act than a studio one, this is truly a bonus. Which makes it even more of a plus that the entire show from San Francisco on September 26, 1973 at Winterland is included here as well. While some of these performances and arrangements lack the same fire and energy as the At Fillmore East performances, these are still marvelous live renditions of some great Allman Brothers tracks. “Midnight Rider”, “Come and Go Blues” and, as always, “Whipping Post” provide some bone chilling moments.
- Wasted Words (4:20)
- Ramblin’ Man (4:48)
- Come And Go Blues (4:55)
- Jelly Jelly (5:46)
- Southbound (5:10)
- Jessica (Unedited Version) (7:31)
- Pony Boy (5:51)
- Wasted Words (Rehearsal/1972) (5:06)
- Trouble No More (Rehearsal/1972) (3:58)
- Southbound (Instrumental Outtake/1972) (5:56)
- One Way Out (Rehearsal) (5:38)
- I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (Rehearsal) (11:14)
- Done Somebody Wrong (Rehearsal/1972) (3:50)
- Double Cross (Outtake/1973) (4:35)
- Early Morning Blues (Outtake/1973) (9:27)
- A Minor Jam (Studio Jam/1973) (16:29)
- Introduction By Bill Graham (Live At Winterland/1973) (1:23)
- Wasted Words (Live At Winterland/1973) (5:17)
- Done Somebody Wrong (Live At Winterland/1973) (4:01)
- One Way Out (Live At Winterland/1973) (8:44)
- Stormy Monday (Live At Winterland/1973) (8:12)
- Midnight Rider (Live At Winterland/1973) (3:34)
- Ramblin’ Man (Live At Winterland/1973) (7:33)
- In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Live At Winterland/1973) (17:20(
- Satesboro Blues (Live At Winterland/1973) (4:27)
- Come And Go Blues (Live At Winterland/1973) (5:12)
- Southbound (Live At Winterland/1973) (6:01)
- Jessica (Live At Winterland/1973) (9:46)
- You Don’t Love Me / Amazing Grace (Live At Winterland/1973) (10:49)
- Les Brers In A Minor (Live At Winterland/1973) (25:49)
- Blue Sky (Live At Winterland/1973) (4:49)
- Trouble No More (Live At Winterland/1973) (4:47)
- Whipping Post (Live At Winterland/1973) (15:04)
This “super deluxe edition” of Brothers and Sisters, according to the liner notes, was transferred by Eliot Kissileff at Sterling Sound, New York and mastered by Seth Foster at Sterling Sound, New York. HDtracks has offered it up in a 96kHz/24-bit download in various uncompressed or lossless high-res options.
My digital reference for this album is the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs Ultra Disc II gold CD, which, to be perfectly honest, does not even compare to this new master. The MFSL release is tizzy and far too tweaked in the high end. This new high-res version is perfectly smooth, warm, and robust in the lows, with a good sense of dynamic range. By necessity, the live and rehearsal recordings lose a little bit of clarity and stereo separation, but they are no less dynamic, and still retain the warmth and natural ambience. This is an excellent reference version of these recordings. They sound as analogue and true to the source as can be.
We are given a PDF with album art, extensive liner notes by Scott Schinder, written in April 2013, album credits, and additional archival photos.
The Definitive Word
HDtracks comes through again, courtesy of Mercury Records, with another marvelous, reference quality download of a rock classic. Brothers and Sisters (Super Deluxe Edition) is a sumptuous sounding release with a wealth of Allman Brothers material. This is a must own for music lovers.