In my none-too-humble opinion, the Allman Brothers when Duane was still alive were the greatest blues-rock band there's ever been. (For those who don't know the story: Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971, at the age of 24. You can read the band's entire long story at AllMusic.com.) Without him they were still an extremely good band, but Duane's playing had a magnetically intense quality that, along with Gregg's singing and songwriting, lifted those first few albums into the realm of the extraordinary.
It was of course a two-guitar band, the other guitarist being Richard "Dickey" Betts, and the harmonized leads that framed many of their songs were an important part of what made the band distinctive. When the soloing starts, I can usually tell who's who, but not always. Great as Duane is, the band wouldn't have been the same without Betts, and it must have been a frustrating situation for him to be somewhat in Duane's shadow, even after the latter's death.
Here's a live version of one of their signature songs, "Whipping Post." It's a little faster than the studio version, but twice as long, with a lot of jamming. I wonder now how 22-or-so-year-old Gregg Allman came to write those exhausted end-of-the-line lyrics:
Nothing seems to change
The bad times still remain
And I can't run
Not to mention the 50-year-old voice.
But maybe I shouldn't wonder at Gregg's melancholy, because I was the same age and felt exactly what he was describing in "Dreams":
By way of justifing my original claim, here's some straight-up blues-rock. But of course their music ranged much further than that, as you can tell from the preceding two tracks.
I don't know who's playing when on those two tracks. But just in case you're wondering, here's proof that Dickey Betts was his own man, on another of Gregg's classic songs, "Not My Cross to Bear":
Dang, they were good. By all accounts the version of the band that's been in existence for the past ten years or so is also extremely good, but I haven't checked them out yet. I will be doing so over the coming week, though, because next week's guitarist will be Derek Trucks, nephew of Butch Trucks, one of the original drummers, and a member of the Allman Brothers Band for the past ten years or so, until earlier this year when he decided to leave.