At a time when so much of our routine is migrating online—meetings, happy hours, and even church services—there’s something to be said for analog entertainment, too. And those of us getting reacquainted with our record players have reason to rejoice: Four albums of early recordings from Duane and Gregg Allman have just been released on vinyl for the first time in nearly fifty years, and on CD for the first time ever. The first of the four albums is of the Allman Joys, the band the brothers formed just out of high school, and was recorded with songwriter John D. Loudermilk in 1966 after he caught a set of them performing at the Briar Patch, a small venue in Nashville. The second two are albums by Hour Glass, the band Gregg and Duane formed just after, releasing one album in 1967 and one in 1968. The final of the four has enjoyed perhaps the biggest legacy: Duane & Gregg was released in 1972 from sessions recorded in 1968 with future Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks’s band 31st of February. Among other gems, it features one of the earliest studio recordings of “Melissa,” a song that would go on to be a staple in the Allman Brothers’ repertoire.
We recommend you go old-school and listen to the four albums in full. But in the meantime, get a taste of Duane & Gregg below with this rendition of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” The blues classic was written by Jimmy Cox in 1923, popularized by Bessie Smith in 1929, and has since been recorded by Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, and Jason Isbell, among others. Duane himself went on to play slide guitar on a cut of the song with another legendary guitarist—Eric Clapton—in 1970. Listen to the brothers’ ‘68 recording of the song below. All four albums are available for purchase on vinyl and CD: Early Allman by the Allman Joys; Hour Glass and Power of Love by Hour Glass; and Duane & Gregg.