The Allman Brothers Band
Before assembling the first legendary lineup of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, Duane and Greg played together in two British-Invasion-style projects called the Allman Joys and Hourglass. Duane decamped to Muscle Shoals where he was exposed to the finest Soul and R&B players around, appearing alongside Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin. These influences fed into the gumbo of sounds that made the Allman Brothers Band's self-titled debut unlike any record that had come before it. At a time when the color line dividing the American South was still something people fought and died over, the Allman Brothers not only integrated blues and soul with swampy, Psychedelic rock and bits of country; they went one step further by including an African-American in their lineup. The twin percussive attack of Jaimoe Johanson and Butch Trucks gave early concert favorites such as "Whipping Post" and "Dreams" an elaborate architecture, which Dickey Betts and the Allmans supplemented with tidy bits of soloing, sharing leads with the poise of a seasoned jazz group. They were one of those rare bands who always sounded better live than in the studio -- Live at Fillmore East being one of those epochal documents (like Johnny Cash's penitentiary performances or MC5's Kick Out the Jams) that captures a certain music at that certain time when it's as near perfect as it ever will be. The live version of "Mountain Jam" featured on Eat a Peach (1972) is still one of the best ways to stretch a jukebox quarter into a half an hour of pure happiness.