PRAISE FOR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
“Alan Paul is perceptive when analyzing the musical approaches of the band’s members.”
-The Wall Street Journal
“Happily, Paul is far more interested in music than gossip, and has a knack for writing about the way it sounds and how it makes people feel. He’s at his best tracking influences, dispelling myths and half-truths, and teasing out similarities and differences between players.”
–Eric Pooley, The Observer
Full Review Here.
“Few writers understand or appreciate the Allman Brothers as much as Paul. His book, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of its namesake album, colorfully narrates an oft-overlooked chapter in the band’s history with nuance, clarity and perspicacity. In addition to his own extensive reporting, Paul had access to hundreds of hours of interviews conducted in the mid-1980s by Kirk West, a longtime Allman Brothers insider, for a book West never got around to writing. That material gives Paul’s work a real richness and depth. Brothers and Sisters is a very good read for anyone interested in the Allman Brothers, the sounds of the ’70s or simply great music. It rocks.”
–Los Angeles Times
“Better known as a music journalist, editor and bestselling author, Paul is grinning like a Cheshire cat at stage left, his enthusiasm infectious. Several numbers in and humming on all cylinders, FOTB begins vamping a familiar two-chord mini-riff, with a passing chord on the upbeat, lightly. And the son of Dickey Betts is taking his time, letting the musical moment unfurl.”
“Alan Paul, Duane Betts & The Weight Of History: Friends Of The Brothers Play City Winery New York,” Pete Cenedella ,Jambase
“Paul, who has conducted extensive interviews with just about everyone in the Allman Brothers world (and also draws on hundreds of hours of interviews by Kirk West for a book that never got written), has previously written the definitive book on Allman Brothers Band history, One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band. So is another book really necessary? Yes it is, given everything that happened to the band from ’71 to ’76. Like Warren Zanes’ recent Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, it uses a great album as a launching pad for a thorough exploration of an artist at a unique and fascinating point in their history.” –Jay Lustig, NJ Arts.net
“Paul’s previous book, One Way Out, is a fascinating oral history written with the band’s participation, capturing various highs and lows from the 1960s right up to the years just before their final show in 2014. Paul’s latest Allman Brothers book, though, is even more rewarding.It’s a traditional narrative featuring Paul’s clean, smart, conversational prose, which he uses to make a strong case for Brothers and Sisters indeed being the definitive album of the 1970s. The book also explores how the Allman Brothers played an important role in getting their Georgia governor, Jimmy Carter, elected president and delves into the band’s relationship with the Grateful Dead, leading to one of the largest rock festivals of all time, Summer Jam at Watkins Glen. The “Brothers and Sisters” book utilizes previously unheard interviews with key figures, including Betts and Allman, conducted by Allman Brothers archivist, photographer, and “tour mystic” Kirk West in the mid-1980s, during the band’s second hiatus.” -Wade Tatangelo, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
RELIX: “I can’t really think of any other situation where a band’s most popular commercial era has been somehow overlooked,” Alan Paul says of the subject matter he examines in his new book, Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the ‘70s. Paul focuses on the years 1972-76, when Chuck Leavell and Lamar Williams joined The Allman Brothers Band following the deaths of co-founding members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. This time period includes the 1973 Summer Jam at Watkins Glen with the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and The Band, which drew over 600,000 fans. It also encompasses the release of the titular Brothers and Sisters record that yielded the group’s only Top 10 single, “Ramblin’ Man.”
This is Paul’s second work on the ABB, following 2014’s One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band. His first book, Big in China (2012), tracked Paul’s experiences with his family in Beijing, including his unforeseen notoriety as an expat blues musician. Paul served as the managing editor of Guitar World from 1991-96 and later collaborated with GW’s Andy Aledort on 2019’s Texas Flood: The Inside History of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Aledort and Paul are also currently bandmates in Friends of the Brothers, who celebrate the music of the Allman Brothers on select occasions, including the opening slot of this year’s Peach Music Festival.
“Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album that Defined the 1970s is a scholarly book with a warm spirit and filled with fresh information on one of America’s greatest rock bands. It is a noble, kick-ass addition to the literary rock canon.” ―CultureSonar
“Full of insider-y tidbits for Allman fans, but it also provides a fascinating portrait of the era” ―Garden & Gun
<div data-offset-key=”1f4tp-0-0″><strong>My Talk With Martin Ban Dyke At The Ann Arbor Public Library. </strong></div>
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“The book is full of trenchant observations by friends and contemporaries, creating a valuable perspective on the music scene in the early ’70s. A warm, entertaining appreciation of a key period in the career of a vital American band.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“a rollicking tale…Enriched by a cache of band interviews never heard before, Paul’s entry marshals encyclopedic detail and sterling prose for a vivid glimpse into a classic moment in music history. Rock fans will rejoice.” ―Publishers Weekly
“For a fledgling 20-year old piano player in 1972, being asked to join the Allman Brothers Band was like entering Heaven. There were ups and downs during the making of Brothers and Sisters, but it still stands as the band’s most popular and best-selling record. Alan has captured the era with deep research and his savvy writing skills.” ―Chuck Leavell, Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones
“If you want to know the real deal, read Alan Paul.” ―Oteil Burbridge, Allman Brothers Band
“No journalist knows the ins and outs of the Allman Brothers Band better than Alan Paul.” ―Warren Haynes, Allman Brothers Band
“Alan Paul is our Jimmy Olsen. He’s one of the only cats who even knows what questions to ask. I’m glad he’s now told the story of this era. We were a different band with Chuck and Lamar.” ―Jaimoe, Allman Brothers Band
“I sure am glad Alan took that suitcase full of interview tapes home with him. 40 years later I learned so much it surprised me.” ―Kirk West, Allman Brothers Band Tour Mystic
“Alan Paul’s vantage point and care are revealing and on target – a difficult task with so many moving parts. I greatly respect his dedication to search for the closest factual read. Hardcore fans and casual readers will both be thankful for his success!” ―Tommy Talton, Cowboy/Gregg Allman band
“No one knows more about the Allman Brothers than Alan Paul. In this fast paced yet moving account of the band’s post-Duane rise to stardom, Paul paints a compelling portrait of not just the world of rock back then but the world as well. A must read for all those who love their music, Brothers and Sisters is also a deep dive into the true price of rock stardom.” ―Robert Greenfield, author, Bill Graham Presents
“Gloriously researched and passionately written, Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters summons all the grand spirits of a time when America was at a hopeful crossroads, and the Allman Brothers were our treasured house band. This band needed no video assist, no pageantry, just a stage, some instruments, and an audience ready to scratch the heavens with them. By the first page, you’ll feel the band, hear the guitars, the elemental voice, and the magic of our most unforgettable band. There is no greater tour guide on this journey than Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters.” ―Cameron Crowe, journalist and filmmaker
“Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters is a significant piece of rock music history. It is written with great love for his subject―the Allman Brothers Band and their place in the music and culture of the Seventies―but with the practiced eye of a superb critic and interpreter. And as with all of Alan’s writing, it is immensely readable and accessible. Once I started, I read it cover to cover.” ―Jon Landau, producer, manager, journalist
“Unique among the rock bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s in their profound commitment to improvisation, the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead had a deep musical kinship. That and much more is beautifully explored in Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters. It is a unique and brilliant contribution to understanding the era when rock and roll really mattered.” ―Dennis McNally, author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead
“Alan Paul has delved further, dug deeper and discovered more about this pivotal era of the Allman Brothers Band than anyone ever has. Tightly written, informative and provocative, Alan has brought clarity to the sometimes distorted history of the ABB. Like the album that it takes its title from, Brothers and Sisters is a masterpiece.” ―John Lynskey, historian/curator, The Big House Museum
“Brothers and Sisters is more than a well-written book about a famous band and its famous album. It’s a trip back to a lost world of sublime possibility, when a legendary producer and a collection of talented musicians could help elect an American president.” ―Jonathan Alter, author of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life
“Brothers and Sisters is a fabulously entertaining, occasionally harrowing journey through the highs and lows of the Allman Brothers Band during their peak years in the 1970s, when they were arguably the most popular band in America. It’s an eye-opening saga, rich with detail and populated by a colorful cast that includes musical giants, movie stars, a future President of the Untied States, and assorted rogues and scoundrels. I was particularly thrilled to finally read a masterful account of the close bonds between the Allmans and the Grateful Dead, including Paul’s truly definitive look at the gargantuan Watkins Glen Summer Jam. This is one of the best rock books I’ve ever read – and I’ve read a ton of them!” ―Blair Jackson, author of Garcia: An American Life
-My WSJ essay on Carter/Allmans adapted from the book: https://bit.ly/3m6Va7G
-Me on NPR All Things Considered interview with me about same topic: https://bit.ly/3nyab3v
-Publishers Weekly Review: https://bit.ly/3A1di6Z
PRAISE FOR TEXAS FLOOD
“An oral history is only as good as its sources, and ‘Texas Flood’ is thorough and far-reaching, with Vaughan’s bandmates, crew and family taking center stage.” ―New York Times Book Review
“By collecting the voices of those who were there, authors Alan Paul and Andy Aledort get as close as possible to Vaughan’s journey from record-obsessed Dallas kid to all-time guitar god, taking care to convey what made his music transcendent….Its heart is his absence, and its accomplishment is that it causes us to feel the full weight of his loss. In that, the book is its own kind of blues: stirring, cathartic, and real.” ―Texas Observer
“Almost 30 years after his untimely death in a helicopter crash, Stevie Ray Vaughan comes gloriously back to life in this all-out biography…Texas Flood unleashes that which made Vaughan a master musician and person.”―Austin Chronicle
“Texas Flood adds greatly to the understanding and legacy of Stevie Ray Vaughan – both the man and the performer…Required reading for any SRV fan.” ―Houston Press
“A dynamically vivid new book that’s likely the premiere option available for anyone seeking a detail-packed, insider-style account into the life and tunes of Stevie Ray.” ―Dallas Observer
“A fascinating backstage pass, a front row seat at the epicenter of the Texas music that unfolded in the eighties and nineties in Austin, told in the many authentic voices that shared SRV’s life.” ―Lone Star Review
“Deep reporting makes this a treasure trove for anyone interested in the blues and Vaughan’s place within popular music.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Fans will be thrilled with this intelligent, informative, and enlightening biography of the guitar great.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Riveting…Vaughan deserved this book, and, as it should, the content will stay with readers long after the last note has sounded….This is the book fans have been waiting for.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“A must for Vaughan and blues fans.” ―Booklist
“What authors (and musicians, themselves) Alan Paul and Andy Aledort manage to do quite successfully with Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan is maintain the highest level of regard for Vaughan’s undeniably impressive talent, as well for his devotion to late-life sobriety, while not only revealing candidly the near-lethal level of his addictions, but also his true offstage personality. Without a hint of celeb tell-all or drama mining, this is both the rawest and most reverent story of Stevie Ray.” ―jambands.com
“Soul Brother Stevie Ray Vaughan was a force of nature! His fearless, furious and elegant approach to the guitar was breathtaking. Texas Flood helps you understand both the player and the person. We are grateful for the gifts he left for us all. We thank God for the Vaughan family; Jimmie and Stevie are both astonishing.”
“Texas Flood provides handy insight into how Stevie Ray Vaughan became a modern day avatar for guitar slingers and music fans the world over. Stevie devoured life in no uncertain terms and his intriguing intensity comes through with a loud and clear message in this remarkable work.” ―Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top
“Texas Flood is a great book. It gave me a clear outside perspective into what was the center of my life, and offers a good look at Stevie and Jimmie’s relationship: deeply endearing, often unseen. Good work guys.”
― Chris Layton, Double Trouble
“Texas Flood is by far the best book ever written about Stevie. It not only tells the story of Stevie’s career as a musician, it really captures him as a human being. That is what has been missing in every book about him till now. His whole life unfolds through these pages from beginning to end. It’s a great book.” ―Tommy Shannon, Double Trouble
“The authors tell the story of Stevie Ray through quotes from the people who knew him best. And what a story it is!! Even I learned a lot reading all the details in Texas Flood.” ―Reese Wynans, Double Trouble
“Stevie Ray Vaughan played with a magical, spiritual mystery that was one of a kind. His soul shines through his music, making it meaningful, powerful, and connective. Texas Flood is a compelling book that captures the essence of an extremely gifted musician, but even more importantly, a kind and beautiful person.”
―Eric Johnson, guitarist
“Texas Flood is a great book! The first in my view that got the entire narrative correct. What I’m always looking for in a book like this is, ‘does it ring true’. And it does!” ―Joe Sublett, the Texicali Horns, Stevie Ray Vaughan friend and collaborator
“I learned a lot reading Texas Flood, which is a well-written, well-informed accounting of someone who not only kept the blues alive but changed the future of guitar.” ―Warren Haynes
“Texas Flood is the perfect homage to a brilliant guitarist, written by guys who understand him and his music. As a guitar player and a fan, I can feel Stevie Ray’s quest to find his tone and desire to express himself lifting off every page.” ―Joe Perry, Aerosmith
“A must read for any true fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and required reading for anyone with a beating heart. This book is an extremely moving account of one the greatest guitarists to have ever walked the planet. What I learned about Stevie’s life from each chapter has made me appreciate his gift to us even more. I didn’t think that was possible.” ―Joe Satriani
“The Stevie Ray Vaughan I knew is reflected in these pages. Texas Flood is a must-read for all his fans as well as for any artist aspiring to make it to the top of their game.” ―Joe Priesnitz, artist manager, first SRV booking agent
“Like all great bluesmen, Stevie Ray Vaughan is a bit of a mystery―a guitar-playing genius who hid in plain sight under the shadowy brim of his trademark hat. In this very fine book, two of our best music journalists, Alan Paul and Andy Aledort, shed much-needed light on this brilliant enigma by speaking to those that knew him best. It is essential reading for SRV fans, guitar freaks, blues aficionados and anyone interested in classic rock history.” ―Brad Tolinski, author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound and Revolution of the Electric Guitar
“Over 35 years ago when he was still playing small clubs, I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan at Antone’s in Austin. Standing so close to the stage, absolutely mesmerized, I knew I was watching a legend in the making. He was dripping with soul and already miles ahead of everyone else. A true, vital influence on my music. This book is important and long overdue.” ―Lucinda Williams
“Texas Flood is the definitive biography of Stevie. Set against the backdrop of Austin in a much simpler time, the book opens a window into Stevie’s immense artistry, drive, and soul. A must read!” ―David Grissom, Austin guitarist
“Finally, the definitive story of Stevie’s life and legend told by the people who knew him best. It’s an essential, breathless read for fans of his music, and a deep look into the hard-working world of the touring musician as well as the music business. Fellow six-stringers will appreciate the perspective and devotion to detail which respected music journalists and musicians Alan Paul and Andy Aledort bring to the book. Paul has become rock’s finest narrative historian with this follow-up to 2015’s One Way Out, his similarly composed and equally riveting biography of the Allman Brothers Band. I love this book.” ―Ted Drozdowski, Premier Guitar
REVIEWS FOR ONE WAY OUT
“Moving… exhaustive. Its alternating-voices format lays the band’s mottled history out with a convincing sense of how its triumphs and hard times were wholly interwoven. The book’s virtue is the way its democratic ethos mirrors that of the Allmans’ racially integrated, communal aspect: The roadies play nearly as large a part in the story as the band members themselves.”
-The New York Times Book Review, recommended summer reading list
Check out the Don” Imus in the Morning” interview with Alan Paul here: Don Imus Interview – One Way Out
A few RADIO highlights:
•Macon NPR interviewed me for a Macon-centric profile that came off really well.
This includes not only a lengthy interview with me guiding host John Schaefer through the Allman Brothers music, as well as a full page write up.
“This pot-stirring oral history reads like a backstory of how musical lightning comes to be. All of the surviving band members get to have their say.” – RS review
“Alan Paul’s just-published biography, One Way Out, is a thorough account of the group’s birth, several implosions and multiple resurrection.” – David Fricke, in his ABB overview.
“‘One Way Out’ is definitive Allman Brothers biography
The future of the Allman Brothers Band looks tenuous, with the recent … oral history in “One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.” Read the full review here
“The stories are salty, unfiltered and straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s a good thing, too, because the Allmans’ story is often so bizarre and harrowing it’s hard to believe it’s true. The word ‘definitive’ gets tossed around so often it has lost some of its meaning, but this 400-page journey into the heart of rock and roll darkness deserves the accolade.”
-Brad Tolinski, Guitar World Editor in Chief
“Though enough tomes have been published about the Allmans’ troubled history to deforest half of Brazil, only Paul’s book gets all the principal figures assessing and confessing. However open and moving Gregg Allman’s autobio from 2012 may have been, Paul’s book gives a much fuller picture of the dynamics that drive every member — including why guitarist Dickey Betts remains so vexing.” – Jim Farber, NY Daily News, as part of this excellent ABB roundup.
“The Allman Brothers have survived it all: murder, bloody mayhem, tragic deaths, and epic addictions. Still, the band plays on. A new book, One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band, by Alan Paul, lays it all bare as the band readies for its annual, usually sold out, run at the Beacon Theater. This year marks the 45th anniversary of ABB. Paul, a senior editor at Guitar World, has interviewed the band hundreds of times. The trust he’s built up with the Southern rockers and their confederates is obvious in this oral history, as everyone still alive tells their side of the story.”
“Paul catches up with the legendary band in this entertaining, compulsively readable oral history of the Allman Brothers. Duane’s ghost haunts the book.”
“The author doesn’t pull punches, but all involved should find it fair as well as comprehensive.”
Panda Dad on the Today Show with Matt Laurer:
A sampling of some of the Big in China press:
•My segment on the great Leonard Lopate show on WNYC radio. This one was a special treat, as I have been listening to Lenny for years.
•American Public Radio’s The Story featured the unlikely tale of Woodie Alan.
•TAE Pittsburgh Business Radio. Great interview.
•Emotional Pro Radio interview.
•The Portland Oregonian. I like this one a lot.
•Shanghai City Weekend, which hails Eli as an expat sage for his keen understanding of the pain of constantly saying goodbye to friends.
•Many more here on the Reviews page, including USA Today. You can also see the USA Today review, part of a rounfup righ here.
•Recommendations from China-based Westerners are particularly meaningful to me. for obvious reasons. Here are a few noteworthy ones: The China Beat and Jottings From the Granite Studio, the latter a blog I have long followed and considered particularly insightful about China..
INTERVIEWS AND FEATURES
•A nice piece in the mighty China Daily.
•WSJ China Real Time blog interview. My most honest answer ever about being a male trailing spouse.
•Lisa Belkin, of the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, picked up on Panda Dad and gave it a big boost.
•My first-person account of the unlikely formation and rise of the Woodie Alan Band, from the WSJ Weekend section.
•I had a great, great appearance in April in Pittsburgh and got some great local coverage. Here’s the Post Gazette. Love the true headline: “Big in China author proud of local roots”
•And the Pittsburgh Tribune Review wrote a really nice piece, as well.
•ProActiveDads.com Interview here.
•A very nice early profile on SecondAct.com.
•One of the most in-depth thoughtful pieces you will read about me or Big in China, on Jambands.com.
•Oakland, Ca’s East Bay Express.
•Local Press abounds here: “Coffee With….” on Baristanet.
•Two cool mentions on the prominent book blog, The Book Case.
•A unique Southern Rock perspective on the book from Swampland.
•The Global Times visited me in my house.
•Beijing Kids magazine interview is here.
•“Ultimate Cage mrch: Tiger Mom Vs. Panda Dad” – on the Jade Luck Club site.
•An interview on the great Chinese basketball site, Niubball.
FROM AN EXPAT PERSPECTIVE
•A really nice piece on Expat Women – I’m proud to be the first man featured on this site!
•Expat Living 101 looks at Big in China.
•A really nice interview on the blog, X-Expats.com.
Panda Dad on CNN Sunday Morning Sunday June 17 – Father’s Day:
IN MY OWN WORDS
•I am blogging at the Huffington Post. Here are two interesting pieces:
•Why Reading My Audio Book was a Remarkable Experience.
•Being a Fu Man Jew. What it mean to me be a Jew in China.
*Embrace the Chaos! My parenting thoughts on ProActiveDads.com.