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Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the ’70s
“No journalist knows the Allman Brothers Band’s ins and outs of the better than Alan Paul.” – Warren Haynes
BROTHERS AND SISTERS: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the 70s (St. Martin’s Press) by Alan Paul is a deep dive into the time before and after 1973’s Brothers and Sisters. It was not only the band’s best-selling album, at over seven million copies sold, but it was also a powerfully influential release, both musically and culturally, one whose influence continues to be profoundly felt. Celebrating the album’s 50th anniversary, Brothers and Sisters the book delves into the making of the album, while also presenting a broader cultural history of the era, based on first-person interviews, historical documents and deep research and a trove of never-before-heard interviews conducted by the band’s “Tour Mystic,” Kirk West.
The five-year period between Duane Allman’s 1971 death and the Allman Brothers Band’s 1976 breakup was a remarkable run for the group that helped define the era, rock history and American culture and politics. They played a major role in electing President Jimmy Carter; were intimately linked with the Grateful Dead; and inspired the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the entire Southern Rock genre. Gregg Allman’s marriage to the iconic star Cher also put the couple at the vanguard of a newly emerging celebrity media culture.
A wide range of fascinating, crucial characters pass through the pages of BROTHERS AND SISTERS. Not only Jimmy Carter and Cher, but Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, actress Susan Sarandon and Native American activists. The book includes several extensive chapters on the Jam at Watkins Glen, the concert featuring the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band that drew over 600,000 people to a small town in upstate New York and will celebrate its 50th anniversary the week of the book’s July 23 release. BROTHERS AND SISTERS includes the deepest reporting and writing yet about about the bond between the Allmans and the Dead and just what drove them apart. There are also chapters about the making of Gregg Allman’s Laid Back and Dickey Betts’ Highway Call, solo debuts that have been largely overlooked. The book also contains the complete inside story behind Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, which was largely based on his experiences touring with the Allman Brothers Band for a 1973 Rolling Stone cover story.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS is enlivened by content from Kirk West’s never-heard interviews.
“Kirk was researching a book while the band was broken up in 1986 and 1987 and he interviewed all the surviving members extensively: Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, as well as many other friends and associates,” says Paul. “The subjects were talking to someone they deeply trusted, the band was twice broken up with no plans to reunite and everyone was bracingly honest and deeply reflective and insightful. The interviews were an absolute gold mine, most of which not even Kirk had ever listened to. I am thrilled to get them out to fans of the band. I can’t wait to share this book and start talking about it!”
The release of BROTHERS AND SISTERS will be celebrated with star-studded musical events in Atlanta on July 28 and New York City on July 30. Paul’s last two books, Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan and One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band were both instant New York Times best sellers.