Duane Allman: Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’

For passionate guitarists, developing their sound and technique is an experimental quest that lasts a lifetime. Some search and develop their sound for years, and others are never truly satisfied. There are also a select few who possess their musical voice early on. This can be said about Duane Allman. One of a small group of guitarists in rock history, Duane left a major impact over the span of only a few years.

Known as a powerful slide guitarist and improviser, Duane also co-founded the infamous southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Throughout his brief career Duane also established himself as a session player. He was recruited to play on albums for artists such as Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Rush, to name a few. One of his more notable sessions outside The Allman Brothers Band was his contribution to Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, an album by Derek and Dominoes. For this session Duane was tracked down by their guitarist Eric Clapton, where the two developed a strong mutual admiration.

A large part of Duane Allman’s approach was his use of bottleneck slide on a Gibson Les Paul. He also possessed great improvisational facility without the slide. Within the band, Duane mixed blues, soul, and country music with fellow lead guitarist Richard “Dickey” Betts. The two defined The Allman Brothers and southern rock sound by often playing melodies in harmony. Duane’s style was highly influential in the development of southern rock and continues to be held in high regard among slide and rock guitarists alike. On October 29th, 1971, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident just prior to his 25th birthday.

These live clips feature The Allman Brothers Band with Duane playing in New York at the Fillmore East in 1970. The first clip “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin” features some of Duane’s tasteful slide playing. The second clip “Whipping Post” shows his improvisational lead playing ( 1:30 – 4:05 ) and also the Allman Brothers dual lead melodies.

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