One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band
The whole epic saga between two covers
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., May 30, 2014
St. Martin's Press, 464 pp., $29.99
In January, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced they'd be leaving the Allman Brothers Band, which marked a fatal blow to the 45-year-old group as a touring outfit. Yet the ABB has endured, and thrived, improbably through a history of tragedies, catastrophes, successes, and fallouts as perhaps no other band in rock history could. Music journalist Alan Paul has followed the group through nearly every stage, and One Way Out culls an oral history from those interviews and with the band's contemporaries, providing the most authoritative record of musicians that merged Southern blues, rock, and soul with California jams into an unstoppable force. Paul provides context, but lets the members tell the story, which becomes tedious at points, but also unfilters the complicated and often contentious relationships in the band, the riot of drugs, and picking up the pieces following Duane Allman's 1971 death on the threshold of stardom. The book steeps in tribute to the elder Allman's vision of brotherhood and musical exploration, even as it often strayed with Dickey Betts at the helm until he acrimoniously split in 1999. A necessary and monumental record of a defining rock institution.