21 Years Ago: The Allman Brothers Band Release ‘Where It All Begins’
After releasing only two records of new studio material in the ’80s (1980’s Reach for the Sky and Brothers of the Road the following year). the Allman Brothers Band spent the ’90s making up for lost time. Their fourth album of the decade, Where It All Begins, came out on May 3, 1994.
Having taken to the road to celebrate their 20th anniversary in 1989, the Allman Brothers Band came back with a renewed vigor. The group released the critically acclaimed Seven Turns in 1990, followed by Shades of Two Worlds in 1991 and the live set An Evening With the Allman Brothers Band: First Set in 1992.
Recorded live the studio, there is a casual yet coherent feeling running through Where It All Begins. The record kicks off with the sound of “classic” Allmans with “All Night Train,” but it is the Warren Haynes-penned song “Soulshine” that is the cornerstone of the record. A slow-burning ballad that highlights Haynes’ impeccable playing and Allman’s soulful vocals, the song became a staple of the Allmans live show but was also regularly performed by Haynes’ band Gov’t Mule.
And though they might not have known it at the time, Where It All Begins would become a kind of transitional point for the Allman Brothers Band. Haynes and bassist Allen Woody formed Gov’t Mule in the same year as the album’s release. The two would remain a part of the Allmans lineup until approximately 1997 when they decided to dedicate themselves to Gov’t Mule full-time. Haynes returned to the Allman Brothers following Woody’s death in 2000.
Perhaps more significantly however, Where It All Begins would prove to be the final studio recording featuring founding member Dickey Betts who was forced out of the band for personal as well as professional reasons at the turn of the century.
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