Dean Reynolds of Milford, Ohio, grew up down the street from one of Cincinnati's legendary Rock clubs, the Ludlow Garage in Clifton. Reynolds was a frequent visitor to the club, which opened its doors in September of 1969 with Grand Funk Railroad and hosted over the next few years such acts as Humble Pie, Santana, Iggy Pop, B.B. King, The Kinks, The Incredible String Band and Alice Cooper. But the band who made the biggest impression on Reynolds was the Allman Brothers from Macon, Ga.
Reynolds first caught the band at the Clifton club in April 1970, a show which was eventually released as the double CD Live at Ludlow Garage 1970 (Polydor) in 1990. Reynolds served as the logistical coordinator for this release — he was responsible for tracking down the old master tape — and wound up with an album credit from his favorite band. Reynolds, who these days works for General Electric's Aircraft Engines Group, says of seeing the Allmans for the first time, "I'd seen a lot of bands, a lot of ego trip bands at the Ludlow garage, and this band was just really playing music. They just really wanted to play."
After years of following the band, travelling to concerts and collecting records, CDs, posters and other memorabilia, Reynolds was contacted in September of 1995 by Belmo, a producer of Rock-themed books — Jimi Hendrix: Experience the Music (1998), 20th Century Rock and Roll: Psychedelia (1999) — who suggested that Reynolds use his massive Allman Brothers collection to create a discography for the group. The result is a full-color, 223-page limited-edition book titled The Complete Allman Brothers Band Discography.
This extremely colorful and well-researched book includes the complete track listings, album credits and release dates for all Allman Brothers releases and solo albums as well as session appearances and side projects, such as Sea Level, Government Mule and pre-Allman Brothers efforts by Hourglass and the 31st of February. To cover the complete range of Allman Brothers-related releases as Reynolds has done is an impressive achievement.
Particularly interesting is the chapter devoted to Duane Allman's work as a sideman. Before the pioneering Blues/Rock guitarist's life was cut short in a 1971 motorcycle accident, Duane Allman had lent his fiery playing to some of the great Rock and Soul LPs of the late 1960s and early '70s. Of course, most famously, Duane was a member of Eric Clapton's short-lived Derek and the Dominoes, whose "Layla" is one of the cornerstones of Classic Rock, but Duane also cut sides with Aretha Franklin, Irma Thomas, Wilson Pickett, King Curtis, Clarence Carter, Percy Sledge, Boz Scaggs, Herbie Mann and Lulu.
For the Duane Allman chapter, Reynolds includes an overview of the guitarist's sessions and then provides a discography arranged chronologically by release date, which includes singles as well as full-length releases. As elsewhere in the book, the pictures are a great part of the fun. For Rock and Soul music fans, it's impossible to look at the book without being swept up in the romance of the album cover. Many of these records have not been re-issued yet on CD, or are available only as imports, so one would likely have to do some digging to find a copy of Cowboy's 5'll Getcha Ten or Ronnie Hawkins' The Hawk.
For a band that liked to stretch out as the Allman Brothers did — the Allmans were no strangers to the long form such as those hour-long "Mountain Jam" jams — the band has a surprising number of singles releases. Reynolds has done a great job of cataloging them, including promo labels and every conceivable version of a release. For example, Gregg Allman's "Midnight Rider" single was available with a variety of b-sides, including alternately "Don't Mess Up a Good thing" and "Multi-Colored Lady." Admittedly, this sort of information is only of interest to record collectors and Allman Brothers completists. Of course, that is the target audience for this thorough discography.
For serious Allman Brothers fans, though, the book is a delight. But with a limited edition of only 2000 copies, they may be in short supply. The book is available exclusively from Reynolds himself for $44.05 ($34.95 + $7 shipping and $3 sales tax for Ohio Residents — non-Ohio residents may omit sales tax) by writing to Dean Reynolds, P.O. Box 709, Milford, OH 45150. Or by visiting his Web site at www.geocities.com/abbbook.