The Allman Brothers Band released their (self-titled) debut album on Nov. 4, 1969. The LP garnered critical acclaim, but sold less than 50,000 initial copies, peaking at #188 on the Billboard Top LPs chart.
The band formed in Jacksonville, Fla., in March of 1969. Duane and Gregg Allman grew up in Daytona Beach and had several garage bands during the mid-60s, including one called the Allman Joys. A series of ventures led them to Los Angeles, where they released two albums with a band that garnered no acclaim or success. Gregg was offered an extended recording contract which kept him in LA, and Duane left to become a session guitarist for FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala. He would play on records for Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge and others.
A co-founder of Capricorn Records, Phil Walden, encouraged Duane to leave session work and start a band. Duane returned to Jacksonville and began jamming with Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley. Duane invited two drummers to be part of the group, Butch Trucks and Jaimo Johanson. When Gregg’s contract ended, he returned to Jacksonville and joined the band as its keyboardist and songwriter.
The Allman Brothers Band toured extensively across Georgia and Florida throughout the spring and summer of ’69, honing a Southern rock sound that incorporated the blues, jazz, country and western—even classical music. On stage, they were known for their extended jams and improvisations.
Walden signed the band to his Capricorn label and by August they were in NYC recording The Allman Brothers Band.
Here’s an 11-minute performance (from September 1970 at NYC’s Fillmore East) of one of those songs on their debut LP, “Whipping Post.” It had been written by Gregg Allman just 18 months earlier at the age of 21. The band was just beginning its journey of being a musical influence, receiving artistic accolades and experiencing personal loss.