One Way Out is the powerful biography of the Allman Brothers Band, an oral history written with the band's participation and filled with original, never-before-published interviews as well as personal letters and correspondence. This is the most in-depth look at a legendary American rock band that has meant so much to so many for so long.
For 25 years, Alan Paul has covered the Allman Brothers Band, conducting hundreds of interviews, riding the buses with them, attending rehearsals and countless shows. He has interviewed every living band member for this book as well as managers, roadies, and contemporaries, including Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe, Butch Trucks, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, the late Allen Woody, Jimmy Herring, Eric Clapton, Bob Weir, and many others.
Tracking the band's career from their 1969 formation to today, One Way Out is filled with musical and cultural insights, riveting tales of sometimes violent personality conflicts and betrayals, drug and alcohol use, murder allegations and exoneration, tragic early deaths, road stories, and much more, including the most in-depth look at the acrimonious 2000 parting with founding guitarist Dickey Betts and behind-the-scenes information on the recording of At Fillmore East, "Layla", Eat a Peach, Brothers and Sisters, and other classic albums.
"The author doesn't pull punches, but all involved should find it fair as well as comprehensive." ---Kirkus Starred Review
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- Joseph S. Wentz
From a non-fan
I could sing “Rambling Man” word for word in perfect harmony as long as it was blasting louder than me on the car speakers and I could sail through the guitar riffs every bit as good as Dickey Betts as long as I was on my air guitar. But before I read this book the only other song I could even give you the name of was “Jessica”; so I would hardly call myself a fan. None-the-less by the time I finished this book I had already downloaded “The Allman Brothers (Live) at Fillmore East” and searched the internet to find the bootleg “Gatlinburg Tapes.” Such is the effect of this book that chronicles the life of the Allman Brothers Band; a fun and informative read that gives you an inside look at the band that at one point was the biggest rock n’ roll band in the country.
Alan Paul is obviously a competent writer. Myself, having a tin ear for music and never being in a band, was still able to clearly understand from his writing how this band played off and with each other in a set; how they complemented each other and how they pushed each other through the playing of their instruments. I was able to see how the band functioned musically. That was a little gem for me as I never felt like I had this kind of visibility into a band before. And even though Paul is a skilled writer, he left a great part of the book to excerpts from interviews with the band members and affiliates written in script like format. He’ll take an event and let different people give their take on it. Whether it’s the point of view of band members, crew members, members of other bands, friends, managers, wives, etc. It sort of parallels how the Allman brothers played; just let everybody pitch in their “voices” and let the piece develop organically. Since everybody involved in the various events is giving their two cents on it, it’s hard to believe that there could possibly be a more informative and comprehensive book on the band.
The down side to this style of writing, and why I gave it four instead of five stars, is that while I got a general picture of the band members, I didn’t get that deep character study that can make a book really stick with you. I love books that spend pages and pages describing a person, going deep into their history, and presenting their lives in a way that gives you a crisp and vivid image of them in your mind. You feel like you can see this person and you understand them better than you understand people you actually know and interact with. This may not be that big of a downside in itself if it weren’t for that fact that Duane Allman was obviously such an amazing human being. I feel like I could read an entire book just on what makes up a guy like that. I know there is at least one book solely about Duane, and I may read it, but if I was going to call a book “definitive”, it would need to include that sort of depth on a person as exceptional as Duane Allman.
Now when I listen to Rambling Man I put away the air guitar, turn off the imaginary microphone, and listen to the song; I mean really listen to it. I listen to the dual drums, the dual guitars, the keyboard and how they all play together to bring this fire to the music. Now that I know so much about the band, it’s so much more than just a fun song. Dan John Miller was excellent and nailed the narration with his friendly southern accent. Whether you’re a long time Allman Brothers fan or just interested in hearing a story about a rock n’ roll band you will be able to enjoy this story.