The Allman Brothers has always been one of my favorite bands. Recently, I came across 2nd Set and had to get it on vinyl. Produced by Tom Dowd, this album was the Allman Brothers Band's fifth live release in 25 years. It was recorded during 1994 at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC and the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey with track five in 1992 at R&R Club in Los Angeles, CA. This hot album portrays this lineup at the band's highest point in the 90s, and shows how they were hitting on on cylinders.
I completely agree with Rolling Stone magazine's reviewer John Swenson when he said, "The Allman Brothers Band live on because live performance is what they're about. The call of the road and the thrill of collective improvisation are the animating forces behind this rock institution, ever since 1971's live At Fillmore East confirmed their reputation and provided their commercial breakthrough."
Writer Marc Greilsamer states, "Old-timers might cry blasphemy, but the band's resurgence in the early 1990s came remarkably close to recapturing the glory of their seemingly insurmountable peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s. With five years in the band under his belt, slide guitarist Warren Haynes had truly come into his own, magically interacting with Dickey Betts and serving up scorching leads that might have made even Duane look twice."
Swenson goes on to say, "2nd Set, the sequel to the 1992 concert disc An Evening With ..., documents the miraculous revivification the Allman Brothers have undergone since reconvening in 1989. They've survived the losses of guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley more than 20 years ago, not to mention a few lost years in between. In fact, they've managed to retain and refine their musical identity. The continuity is provided by the seemingly indestructible core of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts. These men have endured the ravages of rock & roll and emerged strengthened, with the kind of world-wary depth and wisdom that informed most of the great blues musicians."
Both reviewers were dead on. Take a look at the tracks below and then listen for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
- "Sailin' 'Cross the Devil's Sea" (Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Allen Woody, Jack Pearson) – 4:49
- "You Don't Love Me" (Willie Cobbs) – 6:36
- "Soulshine" (Warren Haynes) – 6:42
- "Back Where It All Begins" (Dickey Betts) – 12:32
- "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (Dickey Betts) – 10:15
- "The Same Thing" (Willie Dixon) – 8:22
- "No One to Run With" (Dickey Betts, John Prestia) – 6:29
- "Jessica" (Dickey Betts) – 16:09