"I purchased this in the hopes that these remastered versions would yield a significant sonic improvement over the poor quality earlier versions of the first two ABB albums on CD that I already owned.
What I wasn't expecting was that the contents of the first album have been remixed here. (Idlewild South does not appear to have been remixed.) The albums themselves are both five stars in my book. However, I must "ding" this release at least one star for being a remix but not advertised as such.
Among the differences between the original "ABB mix" and the "Beginnings mix" are: --Intro to "Every Hungry Woman": Original mix has the guitar in the left channel and a faint hi-hat pedal stomp counting out the beat in the right. The remix has the guitar more or less centered, and the hi-hat deleted. --End of "Whipping Post" fades out in the remix, as opposed to a "cold" end in the original mix. The fade out cuts off the snare drum shots that close out the original mix. --On several tracks, bass guitar has been moved from center to the left channel and increased substantially. This mimics the approach used on several "Idlewild South" tracks, suggesting that this remix may have been an attempt to apply the "Idlewild South" mixing strategy and lessons learned to the "ABB" session tapes. --On several tracks, especially where two lead guitar parts play note-for-note harmonies, the positions of the two guitars (one panned 100% left, the other panned 100% right) have been reversed in the remix, while drums and percussion have their positions unchanged (e.g maraccas panned 100% left). --Vocals in the remix tend to seem a bit "cleaner" and more forward as opposed to the original mix. I haven't yet determined whether this is simply a volume issue, or whether the reverb was cut back.
As a personal preference, I tend to avoid remixes. I view recordings as a document of the times in which they were originally produced. The Allman Brothers Band still had a lot to learn when the were cutting ABB. Given the timing of the release of Beginnings (sometime in 1973), after the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley in late 1971 and late 1972 respectively, it's quite likely that the remixes took place after one, if not both, of their deaths.
How would this bit of information affect your buying decision? If you're an ABB completist and want to learn more about the music by studying the differences between the remix and the original mix, or don't care about the remix and are looking for the best value, then pick up this package and you won't be disappointed. The vocals and bass are for the most part clearer than in the original mix. But if you do care whether or not you're listening to mixes that were made before the deaths of Allman and Oakley, you'll need to buy the first album individually. Since "Idlewild South" does not appear to have been remixed here, you might consider purchasing both "Beginnings" and the first CD if you want both mixes of the first album plus "Idlewild South.""
Retro Mopar | COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA United States | 10/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Great classic selection of Allman originals. Did not notice any huge differences with the remastering, but then, my ears are much older. A must have if you want to hear the original Allman Bros. Band when all were still alive. Dual lead guitars, dual percussionists, distinct vocals, and more! An excellent value and a fine collectable if you like the southern blues-rock genre!"
Sweet classic allman bros.
David C. Costa | portland maine usa | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"what an amazing piece of music history, with the original crew...nice to have the first two records together and the blues and edgy toughness of greg's voice is wonderful...add this to the collection..."
Leo Schneggenburger | Webster, NY | 05/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If the only thing you know about the Allman Bros is Ramblin' Man or Southern Rock you need this "album" (showing my age as my first copy was on vinyl). First off, the very reason a genre gets a label is because it is different than what came before. There were many other bands who were to be labeled as Southern Rock and some were also excellent in their own right but, well get this CD and understand how unique this band really was. From the opening track where it is clearly everyone blasts out at you all at once from your speakers as if to say We're Here!, and realize this wasn't some packaged product (the band that is). Listen to the blues vibe as it melds into a jazzy riff and back to the blues in fiery solos first from Dicky and then Duane. Then it segues into a slow burner with one of the greatest blues voices as well as song writers ever (Greg Allman). Those two songs pretty much make as bold a statement about the band and what would come.
This is of course packaged with the second album all in one and you get some of the most classic songs ever such as Whipping Post and In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. But they also include songs that you probably will never get to hear unless you buy this album. And that would truly be a shame. I would like to say as a guitar player myself that the interplay between Dicky and Duane clearly brought out the best in each of them. I have seen Dicky a number of times over the years and he has never sounded better than when he played with his "brother". I would like to point out to that people always talk about Duane and his mastery of slide guitar but personally I like his lead playing more. However, listen to Midnight Rider and the interplay between Dicky and Duane where they sound like one person playing a pedal steel guitar and I think you will hear Duane at his best ever on slide.
When I say that this wasn't just a Southern Rock band or even a Blues band (probably the closest designation) understand that they made pure music, damn the labels. There is along with the blues, country, jazz, gospel, Rock, you name it. Did you notice the mixed meter in Whipping Post, as an example? No simple 4/4 3 chord band by any stretch of the imagination. Who knows if they even knew if there was some technical name for what they were doing? I suspect it was pure emotion transfered to their instruments. Note too that this was 1969 when they formed and I don't think it mattered that they had a mixed race band. And did I say they were from the south? No, they were the Allman Brothers though technically only two were blood brothers. No statements, just pure music at it's best."
A. A. Aoki | Brazil | 01/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cd contain the first and second ABB that are essencials to anyone blues/rock collection. The Almans Brothers with Duane is one of the best jam band in the world!"