Happy Birthday Gregg Allman: Playing Acoustic With Dickey Betts & Dan Toler In 1981

Watch Gregg lead Dickey and Dan through new material at the time, an ABB classic and more.

By Nate Todd Dec 8, 2021 6:22 am PST

Gregg Allman was born in Nashville on this date in 1947. The late great founding keyboardist of The Allman Brothers Band sadly died on May 27, 2016 at the age of 69. While Gregg was known for his roaring blues-soaked vocals, stellar songwriting skills and Hammond B3 organ stylings as a southern rock pioneer, it’s always a treat to see Gregg in a more stripped-down setting with his acoustic guitar.

Electrified rock ‘n’ roll, with all its visceral allure, is certainly emotive. But sometimes an acoustic format is better suited to deliver deep feeling and The Allman Brothers Band was certainly experiencing a complex and vulnerable time in the late 1970s and early ’80s, with the group disbanding for the second time in 1982.

ABB broke up for the first time in 1976, the group reformed in 1978 with co-founder Dickey Betts bringing in another guitarist, Dan Toler. After releasing their comeback album, Enlightened Rogues, in ‘78, ABB followed with two more: Reach For The Sky in 1980 and Brothers OF The Road in 1981. Later that year, ABB would perform at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey on December 16.

Although the details are a little murky, Gregg, Dickey and Dan sat down in an acoustic format to film what seemed to be a TV appearance ahead of their show in Passaic. The footage cuts in on what sounds like a jam on “Melissa” before Gregg leads the group through a beautiful, if not slightly flawed, rendition of one his Brothers Of The Road contributions, “Never Knew How Much (I Needed You).”

The clip also sees the trio performing the blues standard “Key To The Highway,” along with a gorgeous take on the ABB classic “Come And Go Blues.” Additionally, the video also features candid looks at the trio rehearsing songs and more behind the scene footage.

In honor of Gregg Allman, watch him perform acoustically with Betts and Toler in 1981 below:

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